Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Old School Wrestling Review: Survivor Series 1990

The pay per view starts out with Vince McMahon’s rough and gruff voice announcing the matches. Mr. Fink looks so happy in the center of the ring to get things started. All in all the mood is positive. The Survivor Series matches are all four on four elimination matches, two teams of four guys against each other, heels on one side, faces on the other. Then, at the end, each of the survivors from heels and faces will go against each other in a last match to determine the final winner.

First match!

The Warriors (The Ultimate Warrior, The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal), and The Texas Tornado) vs. The Perfect Team (Mr. Perfect and Demolition (Ax, Smash, and Crush)) (with Bobby Heenan and Mr. Fuji)

Perfect and Bobby Heenan work so well together, it’s amazing. Every time Perfect throws his towel, Heenan perfectly catches it. It retains that illusion of perfection so well.

Warrior’s promo is so funny, but poor Mean Gene Okerlund is smashed between Warrior and the Legion of Doom’s spiky football gear. He looks like he’s inwardly sighing about the costumes the whole interview. “Spikes, why does it always have to be spikes?” A side note, Warrior is the first champion to change the color of the WWF Championship’s strap to match the color of his outfit. He changed it to white in this case. Just kind of interesting.

Warrior pins the first opponent during the match and the crowd goes crazy. Crush does a knee drop with a roll off the top rope, which is unusual, but really adds some flair to the normal top rope knee drop. Top rope moves aren't too common yet, but it’s nice to already see some innovation with them.

Legion of Doom and Demolition are disqualified for hitting the referee, leaving the Texas Tornado and Warrior versus Perfect. It becomes open season on the Weasel versus the Warrior! Heenan always plays such a good heel manager when he gets beaten up. Perfect eliminates Texas Tornado and Heenan unwraps a turnbuckle. Warrior gets beaten up for a while, then gets his second wind and beats up Perfect. 

The ending is kind of abrupt, to be honest. I kept waiting for the uncovered turnbuckle to be used, but it ends up being kind of a red herring. The abrupt ending was a bummer, but the rest of the match was good, especially because it opened the show. I do always expect that second wind moment from Warrior, so it was expected that he would win. I just wish it hadn’t been so abrupt. This means that only the Warrior goes on to the final match.

The Million Dollar Team (Ted DiBiase, The Undertaker, and Rhythm & Blues (The Honky Tonk Man and Greg Valentine)) (with Virgil, Jimmy Hart, and Brother Love) vs. The Dream Team (Dusty Rhodes, Koko B. Ware, and The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart))

This match is dedicated to Bret’s brother, who passed away.

There is a whole thing before this match that DiBiase has a mystery entry, who turns out to be the Undertaker. This is his debut into the WWF. He looks nice and sinister. He isn’t the phenom yet, and he doesn’t have all his tattoos, but he is extremely expressionless. Koko B. Ware is the sacrificial lamb to Undertaker’s first tombstone and the first elimination.

Neidhart takes out Honky Tonk Man next, which is fine, Honky Tonk has been very sloppy the past few times I’ve seen him. Since he’s lost the Intercontinental Championship, it just doesn’t seem like he cares. Greg Valentine seems to be the same way. I just can’t enjoy watching their matches as much anymore.

Undertaker takes out Dusty Rhodes, and then goes out after Rhodes to the back and gets counted out. This lets the Undertaker get out of the match while still making him look like a badass. He just couldn’t stop fighting and ignored the rules because he’s a dead man walking, and dead men don’t listen to rules.

The match ends with DiBiase vs. Bret and per my husband this is the only time the two have a singles type match against each other that he can remember. It’s very good and it’s a shame it’s at the tail end of the match. There are so many reversals and holds, and it becomes a match within a match, and a story within a story. It’s a great ending compared to the previous match and I really got into it. Dibiase ends up winning and going on to the last match.

The Visionaries (Rick Martel, The Warlord, Power and Glory (Hercules and Paul Roma)) (with Slick) vs. The Vipers (Jake Roberts, Jimmy Snuka, and The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty)

The Rockers start out fast and furious against the Warlord, then fight Martel. Jake comes out and he has this whole injured eye angle against Martel, so there’s a lot of heat. Snuka is in insanely good shape.

Warlord gets Jannetty. Rick Martel eliminates Snuka. The match is pretty exciting, but the middle has a lot of Shawn versus Warlord, Power and Glory. It made it exciting to see Snuka come out for a brief period of time, and Jake come out for some variety. Shawn fights for a long time without being able to get to the face’s corner for a tag. It drags on a little too long, I think.

Sometimes this kind of match with the drama of one guy getting beaten up by a long time while the other team gets to switch out their members a lot can be very exciting, but I thought it was a little too drawn out. Shawn ends up being pinned and it’s Jake versus the entire heel team.

While Jake is pinning Warlord and the referee is distracted, Martel tries to use his spray can of Arrogance on Jake again. Jake gets pissed off and takes out his snake, Damien. He runs after Martel and gets counted out. Damien wraps cutely around Jake’s leg on the way out. All of Martel’s team thus goes on to the final match. It was an ok match. A little drawn out in the middle.

The Hulkamaniacs (Hulk Hogan, Jim Duggan, The Big Boss Man, and Tugboat) vs. The Natural Disasters (Earthquake, Haku, Dino Bravo, and The Barbarian) (with Jimmy Hart and Bobby Heenan)

Big Boss Man has dropped a lot of weight and looks pretty good. Hulk’s hairdo is really silly. Earthquake still looks like an oversized baby in a big blue diaper. Barbarian is a new wrestler for me, and he looks really strong like a lot of the big guys, but his outfit makes him look like a World of Warcraft druid. It’s hard to take him seriously. I can tell the age of the gimmicks is really getting started.

Haku is eliminated by Boss Man. Hacksaw gets thrown over the ropes by Jimmy Hart, so he goes crazy with his trusty 2x4 on the ring with Earthquake and Jimmy Hart and gets disqualified. A brawler to the end, oh Hacksaw.

Hogan comes in to pick up the scraps. He manages to do a body slam on Earthquake, which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest, but it surprises everyone else. Dino Bravo comes out and gets eliminated by Hogan, then Boss Man switches with Hogan, only to be eliminated by Earthquake. So far Tugboat and Hogan are the only ones left, but Tugboat hasn’t even wrestled yet.

Tugboat finally gets tagged in long enough to be yanked out of the ring with Earthquake and be counted out. So then it’s Hogan and Barbarian. Imagine that. Barbarian does a very messy piledriver. By now Hulk’s hair looks like Wolverine’s with a horseshoe. (From the X-men.) Terrible!

Three Moves of Doom (Hulk's finishers) and Hogan wins. He beats up Heenan for bonus points. So Warrior and Hogan’s matches end with both of them having their second winds, “hulking up” and winning their matches. I didn’t enjoy either match very much, but the Warrior match was better overall. It helps that I hate Earthquake, Hogan, and only Boss Man could keep me happy in this match, and he gets taken out early.

Promo -
There is a promo here with Macho Man and Mean Gene Okerlund on the arena floor. Randy Savage has a promo to take the title from Warrior and he does such great promos, he can really get the crowd going.

The Alliance (Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana, and The Bushwhackers (Luke Williams and Butch Miller) vs. The Mercenaries (Sgt. Slaughter, Boris Zhukov, and The Orient Express (Sato and Tanaka) (with Mr. Fuji and General Adnan)

This is one heck of a political match. Operation Desert Shield was going on, and Sgt. Slaughter was an Iraqi sympathizer heel with his Mercenary team. They were going to automatically be hated no matter what.

Everyone gets taken out almost immediately except Sgt. Slaughter. The match is entirely focused on beating up Slaughter, which is fine because of the time period. It is a mindless match, what these days would be a diva’s match. It’s not bad, just methodical and slow. Slaughter eliminates everyone except Tito. Slighter’s manager, Adnan, hits Tito with his Iraqi flag and gets Slaughter disqualified, so Tito goes on to the last match.

Segment -
The next segment is... bad. It’s the worst thing ever. The egg. This egg thing hatches and there’s a human sized rooster inside. The crowd boos. It’s called the Gobbledy Gooker. It’s awkward and horrible. Okerlund has to dance for 2.5 seconds and that’s the only fun part of the whole segment, otherwise it is misery.

Promo -
There’s another promo. It’s for Hulk’s team. Wait, Hulk’s team? Not the WWF Champion’s team? The interviewer, Sean Mooney, before the final match has this horrified expression on his face during Warrior’s part of the promo. It’s so funny. You can practically see Mooney thinking to himself “What the hell are you saying?” I love it.

The Babyface team of Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, and Tito Santana vs. The Heel team of Ted DiBiase, Rick Martel, The Warlord, and Power and Glory (Hercules and Paul Roma) (with Virgil and Slick)

Warrior has changed his brief’s again. He’s got the outfit changes down.

Warlord is gone in less than 30 seconds by Tito via the Flying Burrito (per Hubby), aka the Flying Forearm, but then DiBiase gets Tito soon after. I guess part of my problem with this match is I know Power and Glory are never going to pin Hogan. Only DiBiase or maybe Rick Martel have enough star power to pin Hogan. It’s like trying to throw level 5 characters against a level 60 boss. You know it ain’t gonna work. When Hogan pins Glory I’m all like, yeah, totally called that one.

Warrior gets tagged in and he honestly gets more of a crowd pop than Hogan did. For once, Hogan does more of the work, which is amazing. Martel gets beat up for a bit, then quits and gets counted out. Honestly I don’t blame him. I know it’s story line because he’s a bad guy and all, but really? Would you want to job to Hogan? I’d be all over quitting for a “storyline” any day if it meant I didn’t have to job to him like everyone else has to back in the locker room. At least it meant I got to do something different.

Dibiase gets the Three Moves of Doom and is pinned by Hogan, amazing. Sarcasm. So Warrior has slim pickings with Hercules. So, basically as I’m reading it, Hogan would work with the Ultimate Warrior, the WWF Champion, but only if he got to take on the level 50 guy (DiBiase) and leave the level 30-ish guy (Hercules) for Warrior to pin. Warrior barely got to wrestle, which was a huge let down. Backstage politics, brother!

Final thoughts - 
I really liked the final elimination match idea, it was a really fun. (Besides the Hoganification of it all of course.) It does give the Survivor Series’ individual matches more meaning. Overall the pay per view was pretty good, there was some good points, and some bad ones. I don’t know if I would watch it again, because there are other pay per view’s I enjoyed a lot more than this one.

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