One neat little feature of Survivor Series is how just about any random wrestler is capable of main eventing the show, especially apparent in one of the two PPVs I’ll be showcasing in this entry. For every Randy Savage, there is a Koko B. Ware. Here’s a list of some of the guys who have main evented this major PPV.
- Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
- Hillbilly Jim
- Jacques from the Quebecers
- Marty Jannetty
- “The Model” Rick Martel
- Shane McMahon
- Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart
- Paul Roma
- The Red Rooster
- Butch Reed
- Irwin R. Schyster
- Gene Snitsky
- Koko B. Ware
Now, you might point out that the Royal Rumble match is a main event too and therefore you have guys like Virgil and Mantaur main eventing major PPVs. To that I say…
Goddamn it. Moving on.
11) SURVIVOR SERIES 1996
Date: November 17, 1996
Era: New Generation
Location: Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York
Known as: That time Sid had a really good match
Elimination Matches: 3 out of 6
If ever there was a transitional time in the company, it would be Survivor Series 96. The New Generation is dying off and the company is just dying in general. Old acts have become old hat and new acts have yet to get their rhythm. The only thing saving the company from complete failure is a really good main event scene, including the upper midcarders. This means “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, a charismatic heel who has been slowly but surely gaining the admiration of the fans while continuing to be a complete bastard. Bret Hart has returned from sabbatical to challenge this upstart and teach him to show some respect.
We have a really easy-going intro about how the WWF guys have been hanging out in New York for various media reasons and then the matches are run down, told as if the narrator’s friend casually asked him about the show. “Tonight the Undertaker is going to face Mankind. Are we still up for bowling this Tuesday?” There’s a lot of strange stuff at this PPV. Like how in Mankind’s creepy promo in the boiler room, Paul Bearer tries to spread his failed catchphrase, “I’m Paul Bearer and you’re not!” I don’t know where to begin on how fucking strange the Lawler/Helmsley/Crush/Goldust promo is. I guess I could point out Crush (in his pre-DOA jailbird phase) ending his speech with, “Survivor Series! What an appropriate title!” and smiling. Another odd moment comes from Captain Lou Albano walking out in the middle of the show for no reason other than to be cheered at.
Still, there are solid promos out there coming out of Austin, Bret and, of course, Sid himself. I should have mentioned Sid’s promo when talking about all the weird stuff, but Sid promos and weird go together like peas and carrots, so it goes without saying.
Before I start with the PPV, I should note that the Free for All preview leading into the show features a match of Jesse James, Aldo Montoya, Bob Holly and Bart Gunn vs. the Sultan, Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw, Salvatore Sincere and Billy Gunn. That’s not just a lead-in, it’s an example of what to expect. Lots of matches featuring random, forgettable guys and dudes stuck in bad gimmicks. Then again, it’s ranked this high for a reason, so read on.
Our opener is an elimination match of Henry Godwinn, Phineas Godwinn, Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon vs. Owen Hart, “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith and the New Rockers (Marty Jannetty and Leif Cassidy). Furnas and Lafon are making their debuts here and it’s always so weird seeing them in any of these PPV reviews. You could give me a DVD that’s nothing but Furnas and Lafon matches and I will marvel at their entrances each and every time while saying, “Whoa! Furnas and Lafon! I forgot you guys even existed!” So much in-ring talent, but zero personality.
I love that although the New Rockers are heels, Jannetty has no idea how to act as a heel at all. He still plays to the crowd, claps and smiles genuinely. Lafon wrestles Jannetty briefly before going up against Leif Cassidy, otherwise known as Al Snow. The Lafon/Cassidy stuff is pretty decent. Phineas gets in there and spends several minutes being worked over by all the heels. The first elimination spot is well done where Henry is thrown into the corner by Jannetty and Phineas runs over to that corner, dives over it and lays over the top ropes so his body takes the brunt of Henry’s force. Jim Ross, who is trying to act a bit like a dick throughout the night, gives the boy props. The New Rockers try the same spot when Henry whips Jannetty into the corner, only Henry stops himself, throws Jannetty into the wrong corner, kicks Cassidy in the stomach, grabs Jannetty and takes him out with a Slop Drop. Immediately after, Owen surprises Henry with a spinning heel kick and pins him. Kind of a bad elimination, considering Henry’s pretty fresh to lose to such a move.
Phineas gets angry at his cousin’s loss and cleans house like an uncontrollable animal. This leads to a funny screw-up where Bulldog is supposed to make a blind tag to Owen when Owen bounces off the ropes, but Bulldog isn’t paying attention, so Owen has to reach back and hesitate the rest of the spot until Bulldog realizes it. Phineas clotheslines Owen out of the ring, Bulldog grabs Phineas and pins him after a running powerslam. The match is about halfway over and it hasn’t been especially good so far, but now things can start to get cooking. Owen blind tags himself back in and hits one SICK Missile Dropkick on Furnas. The heels work him over until the eventual hot tag to his lone partner. Lafon takes control and finishes off Cassidy with an Exploder Suplex off the top rope.
Lafon is then worked over by the Owen/Bulldog team until they go for a double clothesline, miss and Furnas pulls Owen out of the ring. Lafon gives Bulldog a Crucifix and pins him. Angry at his loss, Bulldog reacts by clipping Lafon in the leg. Owen works on that leg and gets him in the Sharpshooter, breaking it only to attack Furnas. This gives Lafon an opening and he’s able to kick Owen down and tag his partner. Furnas overpowers Owen and gives him one hell of a German Suplex where Owen lands on his stomach. He’s pinned and the technicians make a good first impression.
Then a minute later, I forget who they are again.
Mankind fights the Undertaker with Paul Bearer suspended over the ring in a cage. If Undertaker wins, he gets to put his hands on his former manager. Undertaker comes out dressed as Batman… or dressed as Gene Simmons dressed as Batman. It’s delightfully retarded. Mankind jumps Undertaker and starts smashing his head into the cage. Undertaker fights back and bases his strategy on brutalizing Mankind’s hand so he can’t effectively do the Mandible Claw. Mankind clotheslines Undertaker out of the ring while falling out due to the momentum, but Undertaker lands right on his feet. They brawl around the ring and even in the crowd. Mankind runs off the apron, jumps and hits Undertaker like a cannonball. Back in the ring, Mankind delivers a piledriver and then tries for the Mandible Claw, only to have it blocked. Undertaker chokes him and is kicked off.
Moments later, Undertaker tries to put Mankind in the Tombstone, Mankind slides off and puts his hand in Undertaker’s mouth for the Mandible Claw. Before he can get any kind of leverage, Undertaker throws Mankind out of the ring. Mankind climbs to the top rope and jumps at his rival, only to be met with a hand to the throat. Mankind grabs him with the Mandible Claw once again and brings Undertaker down. The ref lifts Undertaker’s arm three times and on the third drop, he holds his arm up. He gets back up, breaks the hold, strangles Mankind and chokeslams him. Then he screws it up by missing a leaping clothesline and falling out of the ring. Mankind follows with another Cannonball, but misses. Mankind gets a small piece of wood and starts jabbing Undertaker with it in the corner, but Undertaker maneuvers Mankind’s body in a way that he’s able to Tombstone him and get the pin. Sadly, he isn’t able to exact his revenge on Paul Bearer quite yet as the Executioner makes the save. They never did anything with that guy, did they?
With the possible exception of his feud with Michaels, Mankind will always be the best rival for the Undertaker in my eyes. Looking at this match reawakened memories of how they finally got it right by having Undertaker antagonized by someone who is a good enough worker while being portrayed as being on his level. For years, Undertaker could never have both. It was cool how Undertaker was the guy who felt no pain, but then you had this new guy who did feel pain, but just didn’t care. Had a ball watching this match.
As I stated earlier, the teams they come up with for the elimination tag matches are so incredibly screwy. A great example would be Jerry “The King” Lawler, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Crush and Goldust face “Wildman” Marc Mero, Rocky Maivia, the Stalker and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Jake is the surprise entry, replacing the injured Mark Henry. The Stalker is yet another failed WWF gimmick for Barry Windham, this time looking like he’s dressing as Spike Dudley for Halloween. Rocky Maivia is making his in-ring debut, fittingly against a team with Helmsley on it.
Everyone stalls forever until they decide on starting with Mero vs. Goldust. It’s extremely uneventful until Rocky punches Lawler clean out of the ring. When we do get Rocky vs. Helmsley, it’s nothing special and incredibly one-sided for the heel. It’s a bit harsh to see Rocky dressed like an idiot, flailing his arms around after every punch and being completely sloppy in everything he does. He tags in Jake and the place goes nuts. Lawler punches Jake around, takes a second to taunt the crowd and turns right into a DDT. Lawler is pinned. The Stalker dominates Goldust until Crush sneaks a kidney punch in from behind. This allows Goldust to give Stalker the Curtain Call and Stalker is gone as well. Things go back to being boring as Helmsley works on Mero.
He flings Mero out of the ring and Jake runs in. Helmsley deals with him momentarily, then gets put away with a surprise moonsault off the top from Mero. Mero dropkicks Crush out of the ring and then misses a splash attempt. Crush brings him back in and while the screen is too busy showing us a replay of Mero’s failed leap of faith, Crush delivers a heart punch and pins him. Immediately after, Jake misses a clothesline and Crush punches him in the throat. The commentators still identify it as a heart punch. Whatever, he’s still done with. Goldust and Crush team up on Rocky with Goldust sneaking in a low blow. He holds Rocky up so Crush can punch him in the heart, but Rocky moves out of the way so that Goldust is hit. He takes care of the confused Crush with a crossbody and it’s one-on-one. Without much of a fight, Rocky picks up Goldust, gives him a shoulderbreaker and pins him. Like Furnas and Lafon, Rocky is made to look good in his first show.
It’s a really mediocre match made even harder to watch by having Sunny on commentary and having to put up with her arguing with Jim Ross.
Bret “The Hitman” Hart and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin have one hell of a match. Starts off with lots of mat work with both guys looking good. Austin surprises Bret with a Stun Gun into the top rope and he begins to work on Bret’s neck. There’s a lengthy chinlock ending with Bret fighting it off with the beginnings of a brawl that Austin rightfully wins. Austin sets Bret up for a superplex, but gets shoved off the top and Bret follows with an elbow. Austin gets his wind back and beats on Bret on the outside, though I’ll admit this section of the match isn’t extremely interesting. That is, until Bret fights back and uses Austin’s body to break the outside railing and knock it over. Austin Slingshots Bret into the Spanish announce table and begins to pound on him. Austin is in total control and the crowd appears confused over who to root for. It isn’t like today when we have dueling chants that complement each other. You had everyone cheering, “LET’S GO ____!” with half of them screaming for Austin and the other half screaming for Bret at the same time.
The two have a slugfest and this time Bret wins out. He drops Austin with a Stun Gun, then climbs to the top. Austin knocks him off balance before he can jump and gives him a superplex. Bret goes with the momentum and tries to turn it into a roll-up. They get up and Bret grabs for Austin and is rewarded with a Stunner. Austin goes for the pin, Bret kicks out and Austin tries again to the same conclusion. He procures the Texas Cloverleaf and Bret gets the ropes. Bret is whipped towards the corner, but he trips and slides rib-first into the steel post. Austin sets up for the Bow and Arrow and Bret turns it into a Sharpshooter attempt. While he can’t lock that on, he does have better luck with a Sleeper until Austin drops down and gives him a Jawbreaker. He puts Bret in the Million Dollar Dream. Bret gets the better of his tormentor by running to the corner, running up the ropes, flipping back and rolling Austin up into a unique pinning predicament. Bret comes out the winner.
Strangely, what I always remember about this is how this was the same Sunday when Bret Hart appeared on the Simpsons and he had to sneak in watching it before his match.
Now for what may be the worst of all the elimination tag matches. Yes, even worse than the Big Show one from 99 where chokeslammed everyone in less than a minute. It’s Farooq, Vader, “Razor Ramon” and “Diesel” vs. Savio Vega, Yokozuna, Flash Funk and “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka. “Razor” and “Diesel” are the frauds that Jim Ross introduced in order to show that the gimmick is more important than the performer or whatever the point was of that. Snuka is a mystery partner there to stir things up and Flash Funk (joined by the Funkettes) is making his debut. Kind of overdoing it with the new faces on this show. The bad news is that Farooq has PG-13 joining him and singing the Nation of Domination rap. The good news is that Jim Cornette is joining the commentary booth. It’s a fair trade. Especially the way Cornette puts over Snuka as an omega-level threat to his team.
Being his first showing, Flash Funk is allowed to look good, even against Vader. Although Vader bullies him around at first, Funk knocks Vader out of the ring with a crossbody and follows with a moonsault to the outside. Unfortunately, a hurricanrana is turned into a powerbomb and Flash is flattened. Yokozuna (who never gets tagged into the match once the whole time) runs in and drops Vader with a Rock Bottom. “Razor” comes in and hits the worst Fallaway Slam on Savio Vega. “Diesel” is sloppy too, to be honest. Sorry, Kane.
Snuka impressively bodyslams Vader, but the two tag out to “Diesel” and Savio. With Savio running across the ropes, Vader pulls down the top rope and sends him to the outside. Farooq slams Savio’s back into the post, rolls him in, “Diesel” gives him the Jackknife Powerbomb and Savio’s out. Less than a minute later, Snuka evens it up by beating down “Razor” and finishing him off with a Superfly Splash. “Diesel” angrily runs in with a chair and attacks Snuka. Everyone fills the ring for a huge brawl that gets everyone disqualified. Yes, that’s how they end the match. Six men are DQ’d because they don’t want to make any of them look bad. Except for Yokozuna, I guess, since this is his last WWF PPV appearance.
To be a little more upbeat, here’s the best moment in commentary between Jim Ross and Jim Cornette, in regards to “Diesel” and “Razor”.
Cornette: Okay, JR! These are your guys! They’re your proteges!
Jim Ross: I’m not their manager! You manage Vader! If I were managing these guys they’d be doing a heck– If was managing VADER he’d be doing better! He’d probably be the champion!
Cornette: You couldn’t manage a Wendy’s!
Vince: All right, come on…
Jim Ross: I could if you lived in the town!
That brings us to the main event with “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels defending the WWF Championship against Sycho Sid. Reader Jason asked in yesterday’s comments about how I could rate Series 96 over Series 90. It’s a good question and I guess it squeaks by due to how I weigh the main events. See, the main event from 90 was just average. But Michaels vs. Sid? Fucking phenomenal. Even on a show with Bret vs. Austin, it’s a Sid match that takes the cake. You know what else is endearing? The way the MSG crowd loves Sid despite him being a heel. He fist-bumps everyone in the crowd before and after the match and looks like he’s having the time of his life. Michaels has Jose Lothario with him. When you look at things, Jose is just about the most worthless manager in WWE history.
It starts with Sid repeatedly punching Michaels down until Michaels starts using his speed to counter. Michaels slaps Sid, which makes him go berserk. Sid holds him down with Leg Scissors, Michaels kips up, Sid stands back up and he slaps Michaels back. Michaels starts trying to outthink Sid and focuses on working the knee. For this he is booed. He’s getting the usual John Cena reaction, but it’s MSG, so it’s expected. Michaels puts Sid in the Figure Four, but it gets reversed. They take the fight to the outside, where Sid Gorilla Presses Michaels into the guardrail. A bit later, Michaels tries a crossbody off the top rope and it’s merely caught and turned into a backbreaker. Sid goes back to punching Michaels down again and again, but Michaels fights back and delivers a bodyslam.
Sid momentarily chokes out Michaels with the Million Dollar Dream and then gets him ready for a chokeslam. Michaels pokes him in the eye and goes for Sweet Chin Music. The kick is caught and Sid hits the chokeslam on his second attempt. Sid spends too much time boasting and taunting to the crowd and not enough time following up and pursing the win. He picks up Michaels for the powerbomb and gets rolled up into a Small Package. Sid kicks out, rolls to the outside, steals a camera from a nearby cameraman and hits Jose Lothario with it. Michaels is able to hit Sweet Chin Music, but then looks over to see Jose’s state. He tries to end the match quick, going for a crossbody off the second rope, but he misses and knocks over the ref. He goes to the outside to check on his hurt mentor, allowing Sid to sneak up on him and hit him with the camera. Sid throws Michaels back into the ring, powerbombs him and pins him. Michaels recovers enough to continue checking in on Jose, who might be suffering from a heart attack, but the new champion Sid walks up the ramp, handing out fist-bumps to fans.
I find this show to be a stark contrast to Series 99. 99 is a major argument as to why the WWE should keep doing as many elimination tag matches as possible during these events. 96 is an argument against it. Outside of the first match, the tag elimination matches are pretty dire and it’s the three singles matches that make the show worth watching.
10) SURVIVOR SERIES 1991
Date: November 27, 1991
Era: Hogan Era
Location: Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan
Known as: Countdown to This Tuesday in Texas
Elimination Matches: 4 out of 5
After a year in the company, Undertaker would celebrate his anniversary with a title match against the top dog Hulk Hogan. Meanwhile, Hogan’s been having his problems with Ric Flair, the so-called Real World’s Champion. The main event originally featured Sid captaining a team against Jake Roberts, but Sid suffered an arm injury and started a campaign to reinstate Randy Savage, who was forced into retirement at the previous Wrestlemania and had a score to settle with Jake. WWF President Jack Tunney eventually folded to the pressure, but due to one bad business decision, we wouldn’t get the main event we were hoping for.
Before we get any cool intro graphics or music or even a, “Hello, this is Gorilla Monsoon!” we’re shown the full segment from the previous edition of Superstars, where Jake had tied up Savage in the ropes and had a cobra bite him on the arm. It’s actually a pretty explicit for the kid-friendly era. When it’s finally over, Jack Tunney explains that Savage is in no condition to perform and both he and Jake will be removed from the Survivor Series main event with no replacements made. At first, I think that, okay, maybe Savage is really injured and they had to write him out of the match. Then Tunney proves me wrong by saying that although Savage can’t compete this night, he’ll be fully recovered in six days, where they’ll have a new PPV called This Tuesday in Texas. Savage vs. Jake is signed. Ugh.
Savage and Jake each walk out to cut really great promos, but it only rubs salt into the wound. It’s almost as bad as Jake’s hideous sweater. After the Hogan/Undertaker match, we get some awesome and fantastically crazy promos from both Piper and Flair. Jack Tunney mentions that there will be a Hogan vs. Undertaker rematch signed for This Tuesday in Texas, which makes me groan all over again. I really, really wanted to dump on this show on principle here, but I ended up liking it too much. At least we get a cool, foreboding Undertaker promo in a boiler room to play us out at the end and hype up the doomed Texas PPV.
They also keep messing up the graphics throughout the show. When Tunney appears on screen, they tend to show a Presidential banner across the bottom of the screen. Every now and again, the banner would appear randomly during matches.
You know what? This update is low on YouTube videos. Here, enjoy Jake Roberts’ Christmas sweater.
Our first contest is “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Virgil vs. Ric Flair, the Warlord, “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase and the Mountie. Considering the heel team has a crapload of managers, they’re all sent to the back. Flair continues to wave his belt around, despite it being censored on TV (it’s really an old tag belt that they pretend to be the WCW title). To start, Piper wants a piece of Flair, but gets Dibiase instead. Flair runs at Piper from behind, but Piper still kicks his ass. Sensational Sherri has refused to leave the ringside area with the other managers, gets pulled into the ring, tries to pick a fight with Piper and he kisses her instead before sending her on her way. Like with the 90 Series, there’s a section of the match that’s Bret vs. Dibiase and it’s naturally great.
A lot of the match appears to be based on sweet tried-and-true matchups, like whenever Piper and Flair go at it. We even get another taste of Bulldog vs. Warlord, who always have excellent chemistry together. Gorilla Monsoon starts to show evidence of losing his mind when Bret and Dibiase run right into each other accidentally, conk heads and fall down as Monsoon touts it as a “beautiful 360 maneuver!” Sure it was, Geno. There’s a lot of confusion over who the legal man is on the heel side, which they work to their advantage. Bulldog hits the running powerslam on the Mountie and with a lot of chaos in the ring, Flair jumps off the top rope and strikes the back of Bulldog’s head. When the ref turns around, Flair is the one making the cover and the ref never questions it. Bulldog is out first after ten minutes.
Piper comes in filled with pep, attacking all the heels in their corner, going at Flair and putting him in the Figure Four until Dibiase makes the save. The Mountie comes in and puts Piper in the Boston Crab, but Piper is able to escape by tagging Virgil. The weird part here is that as Virgil tears apart the Mountie, the other three heels are all shown to be too afraid to tag in against Virgil. Haha, seriously?! Warlord remembers that he’s the Warlord and comes into throw Virgil around like a ragdoll with Flair getting a few licks in there as well. Warlord puts Virgil in the full nelson, but like with the Flair/Bulldog spot before, Bret flies off the top rope and elbows Warlord from behind. Roddy Piper makes the pin and makes it even. The action stays steady for a few more minutes, including Virgil momentarily putting Dibiase in the Million Dollar Dream. The match has been a lengthy one and I could really watch these guys go for another twenty minutes if need be.
Instead, the ring fills up and the ref starts to lose control of the match. Piper knocks Flair out of the ring, which proves to be his undoing. The ref decides to call for a mass disqualification… for everyone who is in the ring. Ric Flair wins the match by default. It’s a completely cheap ending, but I don’t hate it as much as I should, especially compared to the 96 Series match with the mass DQ ending. For one, we got to see a bunch of great workers go at it for over twenty minutes and two, it successfully pushes Flair in such an infuriating way.
The less exciting midcarders show up in the next match as Colonel Mustafa, the Berzerker, Skinner and Hercules take on Sergeant Slaughter, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Tito Santana and “Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich. God, Hercules looks like shit. The starter is Tito vs. Skinner, where their mat exchange leads to Tito knocking Skinner out of the ring with the Flying Forearm. Hacksaw and Hercules have some okay brawling in there until Berzerker attacks Hacksaw from the apron and puts the patriot in peril. Slaughter is tagged in and faces down his old ally Mustafa (the Iron Sheik). Slaughter blocks Mustafa’s punches, gives him an Atomic Drop, clotheslines him and then pins him. Yeah, that’s all it takes. Berzerker comes in and slams Slaughter’s head into one of the corners, where the pad has been torn off. Why the pad is missing is never actually explained, bugging the crap out of me. Slaughter tags out to Hacksaw, who repeatedly knocks Berzerker out of the ring.
Tito and Hercules go at it, with Tito getting the better of him with a jumping spike forearm to the back of the skull. Kind of a cool mix of the Flying Forearm and Booker T’s Scissor Kick. Hercules is gone. Slaughter blind-tags Tito, sneaks in there, rolls up Skinner and pins him soon after. That leaves Berzerker to fight off all four men for the next minutes and while he appears willing and almost able, they put him away by having Slaughter whip him in Hacksaw’s direction while Hacksaw does his 3-Point Stance Clothesline. Berzerker no-sells it during the pin, but can’t kick out fast enough and it’s a clean sweep. It’s subpar, especially compared to what it follows, but it’s not an offensive match.
Now for Hulk Hogan defending the WWF Championship against the Undertaker. It’s an enthralling little match, since we have the man who won’t sell at the end of his matches vs. the man who won’t sell at all. Children are shown frightened of the Undertaker as he’s accompanied by a casket. When Hogan comes out, he slams that casket over. In the ring, Hogan is overpowered by the challenger and briefly leaves the ring, very concerned. Undertaker proceeds to dictate the match in the beginning, although Hogan starts to fight back. A couple clotheslines can’t drop the Undertaker, so Hogan tries a bodyslam and… can’t do it. Huh. I know Undertaker is a big threat and all, but doing a bodyslam drama thing in this match seems kind of out there. Hogan clotheslines Undertaker out of the ring and the Dead Man lands on his feet. He continues to strangle Hogan a lot with Bearer joining in when the ref doesn’t see it. Undertaker holds Hogan down with a Claw for the sake of a rest hold and Hogan eventually powers out. His comeback is short-lived as Undertaker counters with a jumping clothesline. Undertaker picks up Hogan and drops him with a Tombstone.
AND HOGAN COMPLETELY NO-SELLS IT! Yes, Hogan just springs back up like it was nothing. I know Hogan is Hogan, but that’s over-the-top even for him. Cripes. Hogan punches Taker until he’s down to one knee and then bodyslams him. Ric Flair comes out and Hogan greets him with a punch to the face. Hogan knocks Undertaker down with a big boot and runs across the ropes for the legdrop. Paul Bearer grabs Hogan’s leg and Flair slides in a chair. Undertaker grabs Hogan, Tombstones him on the chair and pins him to a huge pop. Good crowd, they know what’s up. Hogan is looked over by the officials and a child is shown crying in the audience over the new champion. The irresistible force vs. immovable object feel of the match limited what the two competitors could do and it became boring at times, but I dig a lot of the drama it showcased.
We follow with another important historical match as the Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) and the Bushwackers (Luke and Butch) go up against the Beverly Brothers (Beau and Blake Beverly) and the Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags). The Bushwackers start it by double-teaming the Nasty Boys until the heels roll out of the ring, then nail the Beverlys with the Battering Ram. Luke holds the advantage when facing Knobbs and beats him up in the corner before stopping to play to the crowd. Knobbs takes the opportunity to climb to the second rope and hit a sloppy clothesline, followed by a pin. The action continues, but the commentators would rather try to sell us on that exciting new PPV in six days called This Tuesday at Texas.
Beau backdrops Jannetty, but he lands on his feet and knocks Beau back with a superkick. The two work well together and make it fun when it lasts. Jannetty tags out to Butch, proceeds to be eaten alive by both Beverly Brothers and loses to the Beverly Bounce. The Beverlys double-team Michaels, throw him from the ring and let Knobbs attack him on the outside. Michaels get some luck in there, when he surprises Beau with a backslide and pins him. Now it’s 3-on-2. He keeps the momentum going by dropkicking Sags out, running off the apron, hitting Sags with a jumping forearm and then superkicking Knobbs. For quite a while, the Rockers each end up on the losing end of the battle. One Rocker would be in peril until tagging his partner and that guy would be in peril next. Soon enough, they get their heads back in the game and whip both Nasties into Blake, allowing them to clean up and possibly bring the score to their advantage.
Amidst all the craziness in the ring, Jannetty picks up Sags for a bodyslam and accidentally hits Michaels in the face with Sags’ legs. Knobbs rolls Michaels up and pins him, leading to a very heated argument between Michaels and Jannetty. This is a great way to push their impending breakup, but Monsoon totally fucks it up. He doesn’t appear to notice that Michaels was pinned and nobody informs him of it because after this, all he can talk about is how Michaels got angry at his partner and left the match for no reason whatsoever. Even after the match, he won’t shut up about how Michaels had no reason to leave and left his partner high and dry. No, he didn’t! He lost and got pissy! Jeez! Jannetty mounts one last spurt of offense, where he hits both Nasty Boys with a splash off the top rope to the outside. He puts Sags in a Small Package and Knobbs rolls them over so Sags is on top. It takes forever for the ref to count it, but Jannetty doesn’t kick out. The Nasty Boys and Blake Beverly survive.
Now to our main event, which doesn’t even look like a main event. Big Boss Man and the Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) take on Irwin R. Schyster and the Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon). While it is crappy that none of these guys are big enough to carry the main event spot without Savage and Jake, at least they’re all capable of putting on a good tag match and prove it with this one. Boss Man vs. IRS is a fun, exciting way to start things. Once they’re done going at it, Earthquake is tagged in and demands Animal. Animal gets in there and they stare each other down before fighting power against power. While the Disasters give LOD and Boss Man a run for their money, they take solace in how easy it is to smack around IRS. Hawk throws IRS to Typhoon, who catches him. Hawk then dropkicks IRS, knocking Typhoon over. Boss Man mandhandles the evil tax man and steps down on his tie to make sure he can’t escape. With the ref not looking, Typhoon passes IRS his metal briefcase and IRS whacks Boss Man upside the head with it. Boss Man is pinned and has to go to the back.
The heels overpower LOD (which Heenan claims stands for “Leave Our Detroit!”) for the next several minutes and it looks like Hawk and Animal would need a miracle to survive this. Typhoon holds up Hawk and IRS accidentally hits Typhoon with the briefcase. Hawk makes the pin, evening things up. Then Earthquake gets extremely pissed at IRS for being so irresponsible and sides with his defeated buddy. Rather than continue the match, Earthquake throws IRS under the bus and leaves with Typhoon. It’s kind of an unexpectedly sweet moment to see coming from a heel team. The word of the day is now “karma” as that’s exactly the way to explain IRS’s downfall. IRS first works over Hawk and presses the advantage, but there’s a hot tag and the two tag champs proceed to annihilate IRS. Soon, IRS has had enough and tries to leave the ring. Boss Man walks out and gets in his way, making sure he finishes his beating. It’s fitting that during this, you can see a sign in the crowd saying, “Isn’t Rotundo Stupid”.
Hawk finishes IRS off with a top-rope clothesline and Animal makes the pin. I would have gone with the Doomsday Device, but that works okay too, I suppose. It’s a pretty good match in a PPV filled with pretty good matches. Nothing exceptional and only one match that’s mediocre. If anything, the show is held back by its dedication to nickel and diming you with This Tuesday in Texas. I don’t even mind the idea of the Hogan/Undertaker rematch, but pulling Savage and Jake from their matches for the sake of making us buy another PPV to see them fight for reals is downright unforgiveable.
You know, I wonder if I should do the This Tuesday in Texas Countdown next…