WWF Survivor Series 1994
by Scrooge McSuck
- Warning: We're hitting the stretch run where I don't have a copy of the show available, nor is there one I can view otherwise, so I'll be going by memory here, without the detailed PBP. As a huge fan during the dark days of the WWF, I've seen this show enough times in my life to not need to sit through it again. I apologize for this, and hope it doesn't ruin my review of the show.
- Live from San Antonio, TX, it's time to turn the WABAC machine on and become cowboys! We have the interesting combination of Vince McMahon and Gorilla Monsoon doing commentary for the night.
- The Bad Guys vs. The Teamsters:
(Razor Ramon, The 1-2-3 Kid, Davey Boy Smith, Headshrinker's Fatu & Sionne vs. Diesel, Shawn Michaels, Owen Hart, Jeff Jarrett, Jim Neidhart)
Talk about a collection of talent and top of the card guys, plus the Head Shrinkers. Trying to break it down, Razor Ramon had recently regained the Intercontinental Title from Diesel, and along with their issues included the likes of the Kid and Michaels. Ramon also had tension with Jarrett at the time, culminating at the Royal Rumble the following January. Davey Boy and Owen had something going, and since Neidhart had been brought back as Owen's back-up, he was instantly inserted in their feud. The inclusion of the Head Shrinkers is just filler, I guess, since they lost the Tag Titles (Fatu & Samu version) to Michaels and Diesel, and that was never followed up on television.
The first half of the match features some pretty good action, but surprisingly, no one is eliminated. While all the babyfaces share equal time in the ring, Diesel and Michaels don't see action until late in the match, when Diesel gets a surprise hot heel tag and begins to decimate everyone, putting away both Head Shrinkers and the 1-2-3 Kid only moments apart. Davey Boy falls victim to the next elimination after being dragged out of the ring by Owen and Counted-Out in the process, leaving Ramon by himself against five quality opponents. He just goes at it with Diesel though, while Shawn just stands on the apron doing nothing, just like a real teamster! Ramon is just about done for when Michaels FINALLY tags in. He wants to perform Sweet Chin Music, but the last two times he tried this, he accidentally hit Diesel. As predicted, Michaels hits Diesel by mistake, and well, to say Diesel is pissed off is an under-statement. Diesel shoves away his partners going after Shawn, chasing him up the aisle and backstage. In the process, Owen, Jarrett, and Neidhart follow in hot pursuit to try and calm things down, and in the most retarded finish yet to a Survivor Series, EVERY MEMBER OF THE TEAMSTERS is counted-out, making Razor Ramon the Sole Survivor. *** The match was pretty good up until the last 90 seconds or so, when the retarded cop-out style booking just ruined whatever was going on. In the parking lot, Shawn dumps off his Tag Title strap, yet another time he relinquished a title rather than jobbing to someone in the ring.
- Clowns R' Us vs. The Royal Family:
(Doink, Dink, Wink, Pink vs. Jerry Lawler, Queasy, Sleazy, Cheezy)
Oh dear God, in heaven, why has thou forsaken me?! If you thought the Doink nonsense in 1993 was retarded, at least that featured actual wrestling with the bad comedy spots. Yes, it was bad wrestling, but it was wrestling. Here we've got midgets, on a PPV, and the whole thing is just a gag that the midgets are all little versions of their normal sized partners. Doink and Lawler had some stuff going on for a while through 1994, nothing really memorable, other than Lawler having Jarrett dress up as Doink and assault Dink during an interview. Doink and Lawler kept introducing new midgets to counter each other's, as along with Dink, we were greeted with weeks of outstanding storylines introducing each new midget. To anyone with half a brain, it seems obvious once either Doink or Lawler is eliminated, the match is basically over, since the rules implied are that midgets wrestle midgets, and never anyone else. Smart booking, guys. Very smart.
As expected, Doink and Lawler wrestle most of the match, and by wrestle, I mean perform really bad comedy spots. There's the ocassional chuckle, but this goes on for nearly 10-minutes! Finally, they try and put on a straight match, and Lawler pins Doink after rolling through a cross body and hooking the tights for good measure. So... yeah, I wonder who's going to win the match now. What follows is a text-book example of what NOT to put on PPV, as the midgets wrestle the rest of the match. Outside of Doink and Queazy (who wrestled on WWF shows in 1993 as Tiger Jackson/Mini-Randy Savage and Little Louie), I've never seen the other midgets, and judging by the mini-Doink's, have never wrestled a match in their lives. Each of the Doink mini's falls victim to nefarious acts, usually done by the hands of Lawler. Dink is left all alone, puts up a good fight, and is pinned in a terrible cross body spot resembling the earlier fall, meaning Lawler's entire team has survived! Post-match, Lawler mistreats his partners, so all 6 midgets and Doink return to get one up on Lawler. Hilarity! -** Terrible match, terrible comedy, and a god-awful waste of almost 20-minutes! I don't know who came up with this stuff, but they deserve to be dragged out into the woods and shot with a crossbow through their brain.
- WWF Championship, Submission Match:
Bret "Hitman" Hart (w/ Davey Boy Smith) © vs. Mr. Bob Backlund (w/ Owen Hart):
A lot of detail to go into here. For those unfamiliar, Backlund, a former WWF Champion (in fact, he held the title at one point for nearly six years), returned to the WWF after a near decade long absence, usually performing in a JTTS/low-level card kind of role, most notably jobbing in under five minutes at WrestleMania IX to a "tweener" Razor Ramon (between feuds and nothing to do). For the most part, Backlund had been absent from WWF television in 1994, making an occasional appearance, but doing nothing of note. Until June, when on an episode of Superstars, Backlund got a shot at Bret's title. Bret won the match, but not without trouble, as the aging Backlund put on a great performance. After the match, however, Backlund snapped, trapping Bret in a submission move he hadn't used since his return, the Crossface Chicken-Wing, a submission that looks like a cross between an armbar/chinlock, except a lot cooler looking. In the weeks and months following this sudden attitude change, Backlund would rack up wins and victims, including top of the line guys such as Lex Luger and the 1-2-3 Kid, to the likes of his old manager Arnold Skaaland and WWF Magazine editor Lou Gianfredo. Eventually, a rematch was signed, where the only way to be declared the victor was to win by submission. However, with only days left before the PPV, that stipulation changed to where the only way to win as to have your corner man throw in the towel, in direct reference to how Backlund lost his WWF championship to the Iron Sheik in December of 1983. And now you know the rest of the story.
Anyway, as for the match, it falls under the following category. If you love flash and high spots and nonstop action, this is NOT the match for you, as it's a very methodical, ground based wrestling match, focused primarily on submission work, with very little else in between. It's a great match for it there is, but I know some people just don't care for these styles of matches. About a half hour into the match, the craziness begins. Good crazy, by the way, not the previous two matches kind of crazy. Backlund has Bret trapped in the Chicken-Wing, but Davey Boy knocks himself out tripping head-first into the ring steps, while chasing Owen around the ring. With no corner man to save Bret from permanent injury, Owen begins pleading with his parents, Stu and Helen, who happen to be sitting at ringside. We split-screen the rest of the way, seeing Bret trapped in the center of the ring while Owen continues to tug at his mothers heart strings, but Stu isn't buying it. After about 4-5 minutes of persuasion, Helen finally steals Bret's towel out of the hands of Stu and tosses it in the ring, giving Backlund the victory and his second (official) reign as WWF Champion. No more than seconds later, Owen snags the towel and runs off to the locker room, celebrating his deception to his mother and causing his brother to lose the championship. Backlund winning the title is almost an after-thought, as the announcement is over-shadowed by Bret's possible injuries and Owen's gloating over his actions. ****1/2 Probably one of the best examples of pure wrestling and storyline in the yeart of 1994, and possibly all of the "New Generation Era" of the WWF. Too bad it was all ruined a few days later at Madison Square Garden. I'll explain at the end of the review.
- Guts & Glory (w/ Oscar) vs. The Million Dollar Corporation (w/ Ted Dibiase):
(Lex Luger, Adam Bomb, Mabel, Billy & Bart Gunn vs. Tatanka, Bam Bam Bigelow, King Kong Bundy, Tom Prichard, Jimmy DelRay)
We've had some truely awful team names on this show, huh? And is it just me, or does Luger's team kind of suck in comparison to Ted Dibiase's guys? Obviously, the main program at the time was between Lex Luger and Tatanka, stemming from SummerSlam and the whole "You Sold Out" storyline that just kept dragging along. Bomb had recently turned heel, feuding with Harvey Wippleman's hencemen, and Mabel had gone solo, doing nothing of note. Bam Bam wasn't doing anything, Bundy returned in the summer as part of the New Generation (hah!), and the Gunns and Bodies had a minor incident on Superrstars over the destruction of wardrobes. You would think a high profile match (on paper) would have more to it than just a bunch of random pairings, right? I guess that shows how shallow the talent pool was and how much effort was put into creating and/or advancing storylines.
For the most part, the match isn't too bad, but the crowd isn't into it at all after the last one. Prichard is the first casualty of the match, being squashed into a hundred pancakes by fat-ass Mabel. We get the obvious Mabel/Bigelow and Mabel/Bundy pair-offs, because they're all huge men. Mabel gets counted-out while brawling outside the ring with Bigelow, so he could be protected from actually jobbing (the weekend before the show, he did a clean job to Yokozuna on Action Zone, but whatever). Lex takes care of the other Heavenly Body, as if anyone cares, and then the heels just run it off with the Gunns and Bomb, although Tatanka does take a pretty good ass kicking from the Smoking Gunns. I guess he still had some babyface in him to get out of his system. This leaves Luger by himself (surprise) with all of the members of the Corporation. Vince and Gorilla wonder why and where I.R.S. is, for those who care. FORSHADOWING! Luger gets his butt handed to him, but manages a fluke three count on Tatanka. No more than seconds later, Luger rolls right in position for a big splash from Bundy, and that's enough to pin the Lex Express, making Bundy and Bigelow the Survivors of the match. Talk about suspense and action. ** Like most Survivor Series elimination matches, even bad ones can be somewhat entertaining, but it's not recommended viewing, or anything. So as of two hours into the show, the only babyface to go over was Ramon, and he didn't even pin anyone, so I like the babyfaces chances in the final match of the card.
- Casket Match:
The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Yokozuna (w/ Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji):
Special Ringside Enforcer: CHUCK NORRIS!!!
It's the rematch to a match no one wanted to sit through to begin with! For those who tried to block this horrible feud out of their memories, here's a brief refresher. The Undertaker challenged for Yokozuna's WWF Title at the Royal Rumble, in a casket match. The Undertaker had the match won until no less than TEN wrestlers interfered, trying to help Yokozuna. It wasn't until the urn was emptied of it's magical green smoke that the Undertaker was finally getting whooped. By ten men. So... Undertaker returns, but it wasn't the Undertaker. It was the UnderFaker, a product of Ted Dibiase. Paul Bearer brought his 'Taker back for a SummerSlam confrontation that might be the WORST MATCH to ever end a show with. Anyway, for whatever reason, the Undertaker had unfinished business I guess, and so we get this match. And to make sure there's no shenanigans, Chuck F'N Norris has been hired to stand guard of anyone looking to run a foul of the rules. I don't like Yokozuna's chances.
The match, predictably sucks. It's just slow and plodding, with no real action to speak of. Half-way into the match, Jeff Jarrett comes to ringside to mouth off to Norris, and gets his ass handed to him for his troubles. Thank YOU, Chuck Norris. King Kong Bundy and Bam Bam come out now to confront him... from a distance. Smart move, guys. But this allows I.R.S. to sneak in from the crowd and jump the Undertaker in the ring. By himself. And he manhandles the dead man. Who has once again been summoning the power of the urn. Despite ten men being unable to accomplish this task the first time. Whatever. Anyway, the Undertaker acts like a zombie and sits up before he can be thrown into the casket, and eventually knocks out Yokozuna and rolls his carcass in. Before shutting the lid, he snaps the pole that Fuji's Japanese flag is attached to and throws it in the casket with Yokozuna, and slams the lid. I didn't know zombies had such hatred for the Japanese. What a terrible year this was for the Undertaker. Just nonsense after nonsense. I bet he were wishing for more Giant Gonzalez after all this stuff went down. DUD I'll be nice and just call it crap, because it's a lame gimmick match with lame booking, and thus there's no way it could possibly be any good.
- But wait, there's MORE! Or so says Randy Savage, making his final appearance on WWF Television before jumping ship and appearing on WCW's Starrcade the next month.
Final Tho..... wait, didn't I say I was going to explain something from earlier? Oh, yeah. So, speaking of the New Generation Era and the great booking and storyline advancement from the WWF Title Match, fast forward to the following Wednesday. A live event held at New York City's Madison Square Garden. Bob Backlund is defending his newly won title against Bret Hart's fill in, Big Daddy Cool Diesel. Here's a run-down of the match. Diesel boots Backlund and powerbombs him for the three count in just under ten seconds. So after putting Backlund and Bret through hell for 40-minutes over the strap, they have DIESEL, formerly Vinnie Vegas, formerly Oz, formerly a Master Blaster, pinning the WWF champion in mere seconds, with little hype, little explanation, and little hope of any of it making any sense.
And from there, not only is Backlund's push completely killed, but Bret Hart was put through nonsensical feud after another once he returned from his mini-vacation. For no reason whatsoever, you get to feud and job to Jerry Lawler. Put on a good match with out new evil dentist? You get to be paired off with an evil pirate next. Have a great match with the pirate? Well, we're taking you off the next PPV all together. And then there's the whole Owen thing, which isn't followed up on. Instead of heating up his feud with Bret again, Owen was stuck in tag team matches with Jim Neidhart, and even Davey Boy was doing jack shit until randomly being paired up with Lex Luger to form the Allied Powers. Everyone involved in the main event of this match was just completely buried and ignored in the months following, and the sad part is, it wasn't because more people were getting pushed. Outside of Diesel/Shawn and Ramon/Jarrett, NOTHING was going on until after the Royal Rumble, and then we get the epic Bam Bam/Lawrence Taylor nonsense, the return of Sid (don't call me Justice), and a whole slew of stupid cartoon gimmicks that didn't lead to any pushes, just a lot of wasted time. 1995 was a terrible year, and it didn't help by ending 1994 on such a sour note.
Other than the previous paragraph long ranting about nothing, I'll say this show is worth sitting through for the WWF Title Match, and nothing else. Two of the matches are long and dreadful, and the two real survivor series matches are either too poorly booked or just not worth sitting through. If you don't care for the old school style of wrestling, though, then this is a Strong Recommendation to Avoid.