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WWF PrimeTime Wrestling:
by Scrooge McSuck
Survivor Series Showdown - November 18, 1990
- Keeping up the string of Primetime specials hyping the up-coming PPV, we have the second edition of the Survivor Series Primetime Wrestling Special. I skipped over SummerSlam Fever, mostly because it's already up on Da' Site, and while that review is not one of my proudest reviews in terms of style, it's not completely out of date where I'd want to sit through it again, either. Just like in the 1989 version, all the matches feature superstars from opposing teams. For example, someone on the Hulkamaniacs team will face someone from the Natural Disasters team, and the match-ups were picked "at random." Honestly, compared to 1989, I'd say these matches were rigged to be a little more sensical. Come on, in 1989, we had such atrocious pairings like Mr. Perfect vs. Butch and Tully Blanchard being squashed by Warrior.
- We're coming to you, taped from the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, IN, with Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan calling all the action. Unlike the last years version which seemed more like a normal Primetime episode, this year it's treated more like a show coming from one particular location. The audio is pretty iffy on this copy, so if I miss any good jokes or time the matches wrong, my bad.
Tito Santana vs. Sgt. Slaughter (w/ Gen. Adnan):
This might be an interesting match. As a youngster, I always had it in my mind that Santana was the captain, since I never associated Volkoff as anything more than a scrub when he was a babyface. To think he was actually considered higher on the marquee than Santana is kind of laughable. Slaughter was in the middle of the horribly insensitive Iraqi Sympathizer gimmick that sold out the Coliseum for WrestleMania VII. Or maybe just section's A through D. Slaughter's team certainly was interesting, especially when you consider that Boris Zhukov replaced Akeem on the team. Could you imagine a foursome of Slaughter, Akeem, and the Orient Express? Throw Saba Simba on the faces side in place of Tito Santana and you have a classic. Lockup into the ropes, and Santana avoids a sucker punch. Lockup, and Slaughter grabs a headlock. Santana counters with an overhand wristlock, but Slaughter snags the rope. Slaughter complains of hair pulling, and actually demonstrates it on referee Joey Marella. Slaughter with a knee and a series of boots to the midsection. Irish whip, and Slaughter continues working Santana's tummy. Slaughter with a snapmare, followed by Kevin Sullivan's jumping double stomp. Slaughter with a stomach buster, but that only gets a two count. Heenan claims Santana was in the Mexican Army, then stole their Buick after being discharged. "Where are they going to live?" Santana fights back, but takes a kick to the face for his troubles. Slaughter suplexes Santana across the top rope as Heenan talks about people sitting around eating a crummy Thanksgiving dinner, watching football, and unbuttoning their pants (Gorilla: Unbuttoning what!?) as Santana takes Slaughter over with a sunset flip for a two count. Slaughter regains control as Monsoon and Heenan continue to have some entertaining banter. Santana whips Slaughter to the corner for his signature bump out of the ring.
Back inside, and Santana does a neck jerk between the legs. Santana to the second rope, and he comes off with a fist drop, then drops a knee for a two count. Santana slaps on a chinlock. We're reminding of Heenan's feud with the Big Boss Man, thanks to the sudden departure of Rick Rude. This match remains boring, so Heenan makes a blind joke about Jake Roberts, just for the hell of it. "He'll wander around ringside selling newspapers or something." Slaughter finally counters with a back breakerm then takes Santana over with a suplex. Slaughter seems winded, sucking the air away from the first ten rows. Slaughter to the top rope, but he misses a splash. Irish whip, and Santana misses a dropkick. Slaughter heads to the top rope again, and this time Santana recovers in time to slam him off. Santana calls for the end and knocks Slaughter into the ropes with the flying forearm. Santana noggin' knockers the evil terrorists, then attempts to slam Slaughter back into the ring, but Adnan sweeps the leg, allowing Slaughter to land on top and get the three count at 11:30. After the match, Santana bum rushes Slaughter in the aisle and pounds away on him until the referee breaks things up.
- Backstage, Sean Mooney is with the team of the Mercenaries. Sgt. Slaughter is sweating bullets, so I'm just assuming this is taking place directly after the match. His partners are the Orient Express (Version 1) and former allie of Nikolai Volkoff, Boris Zhukov. The usual promo from Slaughter, long and dull. We throw things to Mean Gene Okerlund, who is with the Alliance, captained by Nikolai Volkoff, along with Tito Santana and the Bushwhackers. What a horrible match. Other than Sgt. Slaughter, all the singles wrestlers were basically JTTS, and the two tag teams are the lowest on the rungs in the tag team division. Is it any surprise this match had zero heat at the PPV?
Marty Jannetty vs. "The Model" Rick Martel:
I should be thankful that we've got Jannetty rather than Jimmy Snuka, but on the other hand, Martel's ringwork was pretty much garbage since he focused too much of his time being "the Model" instead of constructing an entertaining wrestling match. Martel is the Captain of the Visionaires, and was feuding with Jake Roberts at the time, blinding Roberts on an episode of the Brother Love Show back in early October. The Rockers had beef with Power & Glory, stemming from SummerSlam when Herc & Jerk put Michaels out of action with a knee injury. I did a half-assed review of this on an old Coliseum Video (WWF Greatest Hits?) but this is a fresh, new version: Bobby Heenan wastes no time making a flurry of blind jokes. "Jake is so mad at Martel he's going to keep on eye on him. He had an accident the other day, someone blind-sided him, hit him head on. Jake went out and bought all the Stevie Wonder albums he could get his hands on. Jake has a big date for after thanksgiving, but you don't know her, it's going to be a blind date." No, there was NO break in that, it just all came in succession. Martel with a headlock, then runs away as Jannetty whips him to the ropes. Martel with a pair of knees to the chest, followed by some choking. Martel with a snapmare and more choking. Martel works Jannetty over in the corner, but misses a charge. Jannetty kicks the leg from under Martel and drops his body across the leg, then slaps on a toe hold. Martel makes it to the ropes, but Jannetty jerks him to the center of the ring and reapplies the hold. Jannetty continues working the leg, grapevining it for a while. Jannetty with a hip toss, followed by a spinebuster, then back to the leg lock. Martel escapes and nails Jannetty between the eyes. Jannetty with an atomic drop on the knee, then back to the toe hold. Martel kicks Jannetty off, sending him out of the ring in the process. Back inside, and Martel with a slam, followed by an elbow to the back. Irish whip, and Martel with a fist to the midsection, but he gets nailed coming off the second rope. Irish whip and Jannetty with a diving elbow. Irish whip, and a fist and knee lift combination. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Jannetty boots Martel coming in. Irish whip is reversed, and Martel dumps Jannetty out of the ring. Jannetty tries a slingshot back into the ring, but Martel avoids it, and Jannetty hits his head. Martel covers and gets the three count at 10:50. Disappointing match. They tried to go with a straight wrestling match, but Jannetty's thing was fast-paced tag team action, and this handicapped him. It didn't help he carried most of it, too.
- Sean Mooney is backstage once again, this time with the Visionaires, consisting of team captain Rick Martel, the Warlord, and the team of Power and Glory. More generic heel stuff and making fun of Roberts' blindness. We throw it to Gene Okerlund, who's with Jake The Pirate, Superfly Snuka, and the Rockers. Even as a kid, I kind of knew that the Vipers had no chance in hell of winning, and wasn't surprised at all when the Visionaires survived as a complete team.
- Mean Gene is back with more interviews. This time, he's with the Hulkamaniacs! Lead by team captain Hulk Hogan, along with the Big Boss Man, Tugboat, and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. Duggan is the only filler teammate here, since Hogan and Tugboat had issues with Earthquake and Dino Bravo, and Boss Man was occupied with Heenan Family members Barbarian and Haku, the latter who is subbed in for Rick Rude.
Big Boss Man vs. Earthquake (w/ Jimmy Hart):
First match of the show that has an outcome that isn't obvious. Boss Man was involved in a high profile angle with the Heenan Family, and Earthquake was still involved with Hulk Hogan. I guess that gives the latter the advantage. Boss Man is REALLY slimmed down at this point. It seemed like he dropped roughly 30-40 pounds per year since his WWF Debut. There's no way he's bigger than 300 pounds anymore. Lockup, and Quake shoves Boss Man into the corner. Boss Man with a standing side headlock, and he jerks away on the head of the natural disaster. Irish whip, and Boss Man knocks the taste out of Quaker'sm outh. We see Gorilla and Heenan sitting a distance away from the ring, which seems weird since the introduction of the show had been done in front of a blue screen. Quake tosses Boss Man into the corner, then slams him with ease. Boss Man rolls out of the way of an elbow, out of the ring, and scares Jimmy Hart off. Boss Man charges back in the ring and pounds away. Whip to the corner is reversed, but Quake misses a charge, and Boss Man trips him up for a two count. Boss Man to the top rope, but Quake catches him and turns it into a powerslam. Heenan puts the headset down and heads for ringside as Quake puts a beating on the Boss Man. Quake offers Boss Man a taste of his butt while Heenan and Jimmy share a moment of Guy Love. It's Guy Love, between two guys! Heenan takes time to bitch slap the Boss Man behind the referee's back. Referee Joey Marella scolds him and tells him one more questionable incident and Heenan's out of here.
Back to the action, Earthquake winds up and drops an elbow, then does the step and walk over spot all fat guys do. BEARHUG! Boss Man fights free, biting the face of Earthquake, but Quake puts him down and kicks him in the head. Quake drops a pair of elbows across the back of the Boss Man and kicks him around like a football before going back to the bearhug. Quake scoops Boss Man up and rams him into the turnbuckle. Irish whip, and Boss Man with a sledge to the back, followed by an enziguri! That only gets a two count, though. Boss Man hits the ropes and nails Quake with a pair of clotheslines, resulting in the Andre The Giant Special™ - getting stuck in the ropes. Boss Man slaps Quake around and charges with a cross body, then nails Jimmy Hart off the apron. Boss Man goes again, but this time Quake has escaped and back drops Boss Man out. Heenan comes over and stomps away on Boss Man, then slaps him around some more. Boss Man comes to and goes for Heenan, who's sprinting away like an Olympic track-star. The result: Boss Man is counted out at 11:02. Despite the lame finish, this was actually an enjoyable match. It wasn't the most exciting, but all of Earthquake's offense strung together and made sense for where he was going, and Boss Man's new found agility made him more fun to watch, too.
- Sean Mooney is standing by the the Survivor Series team collectively known as The Natural Disasters, consisting of two Samoans and two Canadians. Earthquake is still sweating bullets, but still has it in him to bounce back and forth while cutting a very throaty promo. Was it really necessary for him to do that? The Barbarian actually cuts a promo, and we realize why he was rarely given time to talk without his manager standing by. Ditto Haku, although he did have a couple of interesting quotes. Sad to think that Dino Bravo was one of the better talkers among the group. Calling Tugboat a fat loser gives him bonus points in my book.
Bret "Hitman" Hart (Tag Team Champion) vs. The Honkytonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart):
Monsoon yells at Heenan for humming along with the new, crappier theme music for the Honkytonk Man. It's incredibly bad, and we'll leave it at that. It's odd to think how progessively less important he became for the WWF as time went by. After his 16-month reign as Champion, he hung around a while, getting rematches with Warrior. Then he kind of fell into jobbing to higher level singles wrestlers. Then he was shoved into a lame tag team and was left off the cards of the two PPV's not centered around a particular gimmick. There might have been a MINOR house show program between the Hart Foundation and Rhythm & Blues, but I can't for the life of me remember anything. Heenan and Monsoon discuss who the mystery partner could be, as some little kid with a rat tail gets happy for recieving the Hitman's sunglasses. I wonder if smart fans had any clue that the guy formerly known as Mean Mark was going to be the Undertaker. Honky stalls to start, of course. Lockup, and Bret gives a clean break. Lockup into the corner, and Honky returns the favor. Honky grabs the arm but Hart counters and pounds away on the left shoulder. Monsoon calls Heenan out for calling Jimmy Hart a "little runt", and Heenan naturally tries to weasel out of it. "I was clearing my throat. Rrrrrrrrrunt. See?" Hart continues working the arm with a hammerlock. Irish whip, and Jimmy trips up the Hitman, but he doesn't stop him from pounding on Honky and taking him over with an arm drag. Honky takes things into the corner and drives a series of knees into the midsection. Hart regains control with a headbutt and rights. Bret with a reverse atomic drop, then asks for fan aproval before stomping the Honky gut.
Return from commercial, with Hart being sent hard to the corner. Honky mounts him in the corner and pounds away, but Hart counters with another atomic drop. Bret hits the ropes, but misses an elbow drop, allowing HTM to cover for a two count. Honky grabs a chinlock, and I'm surprised it took him that long. Bret escapes with elbows to the midsection, but runs into a knee. Honky drives an axehandle into the chest of Hart, then goes back to the chinlock, and Heenan is STILL selling the throat clearing excuse. Sometimes the over-the-top commentary is distracting, but for worthless matches like this, I find them very enjoyable. Honky to the second turnbuckle, and he jumps into a fist. Hart cleans Honky's clock with roundhouse rights and a headbutt. Hart with a snapmare, folloed by a leg drop for a two count. Bret with a snap suplex for another two count. Bret with a side back breaker, and Jimmy Hart gets in the ring. Bret isn't distracted enough, rams Honky into Jimmy, and rolls him up for the three count at 10:23. Honky's offense was mostly the chinlock spots, otherwise it seemed like an extended squash for Bret Hart. Not a bad match, not good either, but the commentary was gold, once again.
- More of the usual promos. Sean Mooney is with the Million Dollar Team, and they're missing the Mystery Partner. When you think about it, it really would've been more sensical and a better idea to have Dustin Rhodes be revealed, much like they did with Sapphire at SummerSlam, but I guess the WWF knew that the Rhodes' were on their way out already, so it was pointless to push them as anything more than cannon fodder. Over to Mean Gene with the Dream Team, including Koko B. Ware. As mentioned earlier, it seemed like EVERYONE got a spot on a PPV like the Survivor Series, but on the SummerSlam PPV's, it was more about who actually had something worth a damn to do, or people worthy of pushing in the spotlight.
- Mean Gene is with WWF Champion the Ultimate Warrior, Intercontinental Champion the Texas Tornado, and the Legion of Doom, Hawk and Animal. This might've been the second greatest Survivor Series team of the old school era, second only to the 1989 team consisting of the Hulkster, Jake Roberts, and Demolition. The Tornado will be in action later on in the broadcast, and I think we can kind of hear the theme music of his opponent.
The Texas Tornado (IC Champion) vs. Demolition Smash:
A couple of tidbits regarding Demolition: First, they have new music, which guaranteed a lack of crowd repsonse. As awesome as their original music was (Here comes the Ax! Here comes the Smasher!), this one was the opposite and incredibly generic. Second, this was during the very brief period where they wore masks to conceal their identity. Not a bad idea, except for distinguishing body features on all three men. The masks make Demolition look even more like S&M freaks, too. Lockup to start, and we get a shoving match. Gorilla and Heenan discuss on commentary how the teams will be made up in the Grand Finale. Gorilla claims that a team can have anywhere between 1 to 20 people... but that doesn't make any sense. If all the face teams won, then is there no grand finale? Logic in Wrestling for you... Tornado hammers away on Smash, but can't apply the CLAW. Lockup into the corner, and Smash hammers away. Smash with a snapare, following by clubbing blows across the chest. Tornado comes back with a discuss punch and tosses Smash over the top rope. We get more punching outside the ring, and Tornado with a weak slam on the padded floor. Back in the ring, and Tornado with a wristlock. Heenan keeps refering to the Tornado as the Texas Toilet. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Tornado takes Smash over with a hip toss. Tornado with arm drag, then works an armbar. Demolition gains control again, doing nothing more than punch. Smash with a crummy back breaker for a two count. Gorilla notes that it wasn't executed very well. Things pick up with Smash applying an armbar. Irish whip, and Tornado applies the Claw! Smash's shoulders are down, but he gets a leg on the ropes. Smash thumbs the eyes to escape, then drops Tornado with a clothesline. Suddenly, Mr. Perfect heads to the ring, and some kid yells it loud enough to be heard over the commentary team. Perfect works Tornado over for the Disqualification at 7:43, and here comes the rest of Demolition to do an nWo level beat-down. Smash and Crush give him the Decapitation, but here's the LOD to clean house. Things don't completely turn the tide until the Warrior hits the ring and knocks Perfect about 20 feet in the air with a punch. Perfect runs back in, only to get knocked back out. It seems like one match ever year always featured a mass run in of the competing Survivor Series teams. I say that as Perfect runs in again and gets knocked out by Warrior. Match stunk, by the way.
- Sean Mooney is standing by with the Perfect Team, consisting of captain Mr. Perfect and all three members of Demolition. I don't understand why the Warrior, the WWF Champion, was involved in a midcard program like this. LOD vs. Demolition and Von Erich vs. Perfect makes sense, but inserting Warrior into the program between the two tag teams just seeemed like a waste. I've always wondered why Randy Savage was left off the show. They had been building up Warrior vs. Savage ever since SummerSlam ended, but Savage kind of remained inactive, at least in television time, for most of the time between SummerSlam and WrestleMania VII.
Final Thoughts: Watching all these Primetime specials really makes me miss the old days, when a two hour show like this was a big deal, even if the wrestling wasn't much better than subpar. You got five lengthy matches featuring non-scrubs, and padded the show out with a bunch of promos and interviews to hype the upcoming PPV. Definitely not a bad show to waste time watching, as long as you're in the mood for this style of programming, and aren't expecting anything close to five-star classics.
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