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WWF @ Indianapolis, IN
by Scrooge McSuck
November 5, 1993
- I'm sure I've said this in other FanCam Reviews, but whenever a card isn't from Madison Square Garden, your always taking a gamble when it comes to camera work, quality of the video, and annoyance of the person recording the show. Most of the time it's no worse than acceptable, but there's the occasional show that has some unforgiving elements.
We're only a few weeks away from the 7th annual Survivor Series, and this year we were informed well in advance "a return to the Survivor Series Elimination format" after the WWF dropped the format in 1992 in favor of a bunch of gimmick matches. Despite not having the WWF Champion featured, this might be considered the A-Tour. It has Bret Hart, Lex Luger, the Intercontinental and Tag Team Championships defended, and a pretty solid core of talent for every match, with the exception of one person.
Opening Match: Marty Jannetty vs. "The Model" Rick Martel:
Wouldn't you know it, both men are scheduled to be on opposite sides at the Survivor Series. This could go either way, depending on if this is a week Jannetty was being punished for being Marty Jannetty. Lockup to the corner, and Martel gives a (surprisingly) clean break. Lockup again, with Martel grabbing a headlock. He uses a handful of hair to keep control. After a few failed attempts to counter, Jannetty simply uses the Model's own leverage to throw him from the ring. Back inside, we do a criss-cross sequence ending with Martel doing a cartwheel and some jumping jacks. He continues to get cocky, allowing Jannetty to surprise him with a clothesline. Jannetty with a dropkick and arm drag, and it's time for some work on the arm. Martel forces a break in the corner and drops Jannetty throat-first across the top to regain control, which mostly consists of a front facelock. Jannetty with a fluke clothesline for two, and it's back to work with the chinlock from Martel. Jannetty comes back with a back slide, but again, Martel regains control. He connects with a back breaker, which typically sets up his finisher. Instead, he does it a second time, and chooses to take a trip to the top rope. He takes too long, allowing Jannetty to shake him off. Whip and a diving elbow from Jannetty, followed by a fist to the midsection and running knee lift. Whip to the corner, and a second rope clothesline gets two. Whip to the ropes, Jannetty with a roll up, but Martel counters, and gets the three count at 11:32. Other than the semi-hot finishing sequence, as by the book as a match could get, which is a shame, considering neither man could ever be considered a poor worker.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Razor Ramon © vs. Irwin R. Schyster:
Even though their angle really didn't pick up much steam until around Survivor Series time, one might forget that Ramon's face turn came due to the heckling of both Ted Dibiase and I.R.S over losing to the soon-to-be-named 1-2-3 Kid. The situation with I.R.S. just kind of went to the back burner, until they decided to have him steal Ramon's gold chain. I.R.S. with heel tactic #8F03: poke the face, shove him, then hide in the ropes before he can legally do anything about it. Lockup, and Irwin immediately goes to work on the arm. Razor counters, takes him to the canvas, and grabs an armbar. I.R.S hides in the ropes and gets hung up across the top rope for his efforts. Ramon comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle, followed by a hip toss and clothesline, sending I.R.S. to the floor. I.R.S. then goes for heel tactic #715B: Fiddle with your ring attire to make people think you are carrying a weapon, weather one exists or not. Lockup to the corner, and a cheap shot turns the tide in Irwin's favor. After some shenanigans on the floor, it's back in the ring for a patented Mike Rotunda spot: the rope-assisted abdominal stretch. Razor with a roll up for two, but I.R.S. remains in control. Ramon barely allows 5-seconds on a chinlock before making the comeback. Whip to the ropes and Ramon with an elbow, followed by the back suplex for two. They take it to the floor again, this time with Ramon in control. He actually uses Irwin's necktie against him, tying it around the post, and rolls back in for the Count-Out victory at 9:01. Stupid, but cute finish to an otherwise decent match. I can easily say I've never seen that spot before (at least in the case of the participant involved).
The Smoking Gunns vs. The Headshrinkers (w/ Afa):
(Billy & Bart Gunn vs. Samu & Fatu)
These two teams wrestled enough on the house show circuit that they should be able to work a 3-star match together with their eyes closed. Should. Looks like Billy is going to start with Samu. Lockup, with Samu showing he has the strength advantage. He kicks Billy low and unloads with chops. Criss-cross sequence ends with a drop toe hold from Billy, followed by arm drags and a dropkick, sending him to the floor. The pacing has me thinking this might go a while. the Gunns take turns working the left arm of Samu. Fatu tags in actually ends up on the losing end of a shoulder tackle. Samu gives him a headbutt for failing, and Fatu replies with one right back. He calls for a test-of-strength, but Billy doesn't fall for the bait. Billy crotches Samu on the third attempt at trying to sneak in, and somehow Fatu is selling the pain. How the hell does that one work? Did Papa Shango curse that rope to cause pain on all Samoans? Bart comes in for a nifty sequence of counters, ending with a dropkick for a two count. Bart with a missile dropkick for another two count. Samu comes in for a distraction, allowing Fatu to KO him with a crescent kick.
Samu starts pounding away and a clothesline gives Bart the chance to do his best impression of Marty Jannetty (or Fatu, now that I think of it). Whip to the corner, Bart catches Samu charging in with a head scissors, and throws him to the floor. Samu is quick to recover, though, and smothers him in the corner. Fatu with a back breaker for two, then goes for the old Samoan standby: the neck pinch. Bart fights free, only to get tripped up by Samu. Whip to the ropes, Bart with a sunset flip, but it only gets two. Small package also gets two. Samu doesn't even bother geting off the canvas, grabbing hold of Bart and trapping him in a chinlock. Billy gets sucked into the ring, allowing the 'Shrinkers some illegal double-teaming. Fatu heads to the top, but Bart rocks the ropes, crotching him along the turnbuckle. Samu cuts off the tag and punks Billy out, again. Whip to the ropes, Bart ducks a double clothesline and lays both Samoans out with clotheslines, instead. Billy with the hot tag, pounding away on Fatu and knocking Samu to the floor. Mounted punches on Fatu, and a twisting forearm to a sneaking Samu. The Gunns send him to the buckle, but as Billy sets up the finisher, Bart is forced from the ring, Fatu trips him up from the apron, and Samu with a crescent kick to put him away at 13:56. Well, that was what I was hoping for: a solid tag team match. They kept things going at a steady pace, worked the crowd well, and a hot finishing sequence to cap it off.
Lex Luger vs. Ludvig Borga:
This must be the pre-intermission main event of the card. Thankfully for fans of good wrestling, these two never had a singles match on television. Their end-match sequence at the Survivor Series was enough to know how bad that would turn out. Borga attacks before the bell with clubbing blows. He drives a series of knees to the midsection, all while screaming "Where's Your Lex Express, Now?" Okay, so I made the last part up. Luger starts no-selling and returns the clubberin' offense. Twenty bucks says Borga does the first wrestling move. It's been all punch and kick so far. Luger throws in a pair of clotheslines, but I don't count that. Here he goes with a slam, meaning I'm out a cool twenty. Borga continues to target the midsection of Luger as he takes over control of the action, and I use that term loosely here. We're roughly halfway through, and Borga's offense has literally been punch, kick, and choke. I've put on better matches in WCW Wrestling for the NES. Borga with a slam and elbow drop for two, breaking the wrestling move barrier. Unfortunately it leads into a boring chinlock. Luger escapes with a back suplex, but Borga no-sells and lays him out with a clothesline for two. Luger hits the ropes in slow motion, nails Borga with the loaded forearm, and it's over just like that at 7:57. Well, that ended rather abruptly, and there's no reason to complain: much like Thanksgiving Dinner, this show needed a turkey to make an appearance, and here it was. On a related note, there's the case of Ludvig Borga. The only thing Borga had going for him was the curiosity factor. He came in, was pushed hard almost immediately, then vanished before he could either be sent down the card, won a significant match on PPV, or anything.
"The Rocket" Owen Hart vs. Brian Costello:
Are you friggin' kidding me? There's seriously a syndication Jobber featured on this card... against Owen Hart? The pudgy ham n' egger cutely named "The Dublin Destroyer" better not get more than a handful of punches worth of offense. Did someone no-show or something, or was this a clever device of showcasing Owen in the shadow of Bret, who is featured in the cards Main Event? Lockup, Owen grabs a headlock and switches to a hammerlock. Costello fights free and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Owen takes him over with a monkey flip, followed by a snapmare. Whip to the ropes, Costello blows a leap frog, and lays down for a casual knee to the face from Owen. He must've learned that from Dynamite Kid. Whip to the corner, and a charge meets the post. Owen's misfortunes don't last long, and a missile dropkick ends it at 3:02. Yay, Owen won a match! Against the Dublin Destroyer. He's got a lot going for him now!
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
(Jacques & Pierre vs. Rick & Scott Steiner)
The Quebecers © vs. The Steiner Brothers
This has a chance to be really good. The Quebecers won the belts from the Steiners a few months back on Monday Night Raw, and to my surprise (spoiler alert) never lost them back. I guess the Steiners were on the really deep shit list to just kind of hang around for 6-7 months without much to do in a division with little more than the Smoking Gunns and Men on a Mission for faces. Scott and Pierre start. Lockup, and Scott takes him down with an arm drag. Pierre takes it to the corner, unloading with rights and boots. Scott counters a hip toss with one of his own, and for the second time, Pierre complains Scott used the tights for leverage. Whip to the ropes and Scott with the double under-hook slam for a two count. Jacques tags in to give it a go, and demands Scott tag in Rick. I guess you want the sloppy(er) Steiner instead of the stiff(er) Steiner. Rick counters a leap frog with a powerslam, and starts working on the arm. Rick avoids some heel miscommunication, leading to a meeting on the floor between the Champions. Pierre goes to the eyes and plants Rick with a slam. He heads to the top rope and comes crashing down with a double axehandle. He goes up a second time, only to get caught in a powerslam (a rather sloppy one, that is). We get another misunderstanding between the Quebecers, but they work things out with a hug.
Back inside, the Quebecers finally take control of the action, with Scott acting as the face-in-peril. That typically ends up being the formula, but on occasion, Rick takes the beating. Jacques sends Scott to the floor, where Pierre rams his back into the ring post. Back inside, Jacques comes off the ropes with an elbow for a two count. Pierre tags in, and they double team hot shot him across the top rope. Pierre chokes him across the middle rope, but a charge leads to him being dumped to the floor. Jacques quickly rolls him into the ring, tags himself in, and cuts off the tag to Rick. He plants Scott with a slam, and back drops Pierre across the chest for two. Double boot and hair pull, followed by Jacques slamming Pierre across him for another two count. Nice of Scott to ignore being in position for the spot. Jacques with a piledriver, then a random cheap shot to Rick. Pierre heads to the top rope for the Tower of Quebec, but Scott rolls out of the way. Scott fends off a double team attempt and makes the hot tag to Rick. He unloads with clotheslines and back drops. Double noggin' knocker! Scott sends Pierre to the floor with a dropkick, and the Steiners land a double fist to the midsection of Jacques. Pierre to the top, and Rick takes him down with a belly-to-belly suplex. Scott signals for the end, connecting with the Frankensteiner, but Jacques rolls up the referee, triggering the Disqualification at 14:30... but nobody is told of the DQ until after the announcement. It seemed obvious to me. Match started off slow, but once the Quebecers took control, it meant Scott gets to take a shit-kicking for 7-8 minutes, and he was always pretty good at that. I'm OK with crap finishes to title matches, but why do babyfaces always have to act like morons?
Steel Cage Match: Bret "Hitman" Hart vs. Jerry "The King" Lawler:
It's our "Main Event" of the night, and color me surprised Lawler was still working WWF cards this close to Survivor Series. He must've been removed from television almost immediately after this, killing off the angle between himself and the Hart Family until a lame resurrection in 1995. There's a LOT of time wasted in pre-match trash talking. Lawler tries to make a quick run for the door, but Bret cuts him off and pounds away. Lawler with another scurry to the door, unsuccessfully. Bret drops a headbutt across the midsection, then rakes his eyes across the top rope. Bret with a snapmare out of the corner and an elbow drop. He allows Lawler to try and make an escape, until casually pulling him down, across the top rope. Bret shakes him down and connects with a leg drop. He traps Lawler in the tree of woe and continues putting the boots to him. Lawler lands a cheap shot, possibly with a "weapon". Refer to heel tactic 715B for more information.
Lawler with a few more "loaded" punches and a DDT, but it's not enough to keep Bret from preventing the escape. Bret drags him back to the center of the ring, only to take another cheap shot to the throat. Lawler sends him to the ropes and slaps on a sleeper hold. You got to give him credit, the move makes sense in a match like this. Bret prevents another escape, and ends up taking a hard whip to the corner for it. Another escape is interrupted, with Bret dropping an elbow. Bret FINALLY makes an attempt to escape (roughly 10 minutes in), but Lawler yanks him down, possibly injuring the knee (Bret's selling it, so I'm going with it). Lawler makes a slow crawl for the door, only for Bret to reveal he was faking it. He grabs Lawler's legs and turns over the Sharpshooter. Unfortunately, it happens to be in front of the door, and a masked man actually pulls Lawler out. Owen Hart makes an appearance and throws Lawler back in the ring, only to get attacked by the mysterious figure. Bret with a back breaker and a piledriver (excellently executed). He goes for the door, but that damn masked man is being trouble. Bret ends up slugging it out with him at the top of the cage and still climbs out for the victory at 12:56. Post-match, Lawler and the Zubaz Assassin do a double-team beat-down on Bret while Chief Jay Strongbow waddles around the ring trying to get things under control. The war is far from over... or so we thought. Surprisingly good for a blue-bar cage match. It's nice to see that Bret would rather beat the tar out of Lawler than try and win it, while Lawler was playing the chicken-shit heel to perfection.
Final Thoughts: Even though the match quality fell a bit shy of the expectations going by what the card looked like on paper, this was a pretty solid card from start to finish. Nothing really stood out as some amazing hidden gem, but the Main Event Cage was an acceptable end to the night, both tag team matches were fun and worked differently, and even the lesser stuff like the IC Title Match or the opener were still decent enough to skirt by. The only negative here was the turd in the middle between Luger and Borga. I'd suggest the Owen match too, but deep down, I think we all know it was done to plant the seeds that Owen is such a bottom card bum, while Bret is in the Main Event. Give this card a look if you ever happen upon it. It's a decent example of why 1993 didn't suck as bad as people make it out to be.
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