Classic Wrestling Review: Survivor Series ’94

(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)

Survivor Series

November 23, 1994

Freeman Coliseum

San Antonio, Texas

News & Notes: Owen Hart’s WWF Title match at SummerSlam would be his only shot at the belt, so Bret moved on to a new feud. Bret defended his title against Bob Backlund on RAW and won, but the loss caused something to snap inside Bob. Backlund claimed he never lost the belt in 1983. The Iron Sheik defeated Backlund in the 80s when Backlund’s manager, Arnold Skaaland, threw in the towel. Backlund had a back injury at the time, and Sheik had him locked in the Camel Clutch. Bob wouldn’t submit, so Arnold ended the match out of concern. Now, Backlund claimed he never submitted and therefore was still champion. Backlund also developed a new finishing hold named the Crossface Chickenwing. He demonstrated it on a magazine writer, but he refused to release it. Then, Backlund confronted Arnold Skaaland and put him in it as well. Backlund went crazy. He demanded people refer to him as Mr. Bob Backlund. He also cut wild promos saying he wanted to teach the world morality. In one memorable segment, he even told Vince he had never eaten marijuana. I’m serious. Those were his exact words. Bob earned another title shot, but this time it would be a Submission Match. Bret and Bob would have cornermen who could end the match by throwing in the towel. Bret would have The British Bulldog and Backlund would have Owen Hart. Owen decided if he wouldn’t get another title match, he could at least screw with his brother.

Meanwhile, there is another feud for this show. The Undertaker sought revenge on Yokozuna because of their previous meeting. A return Casket Match was booked for Survivor Series, but Chuck Norris would be a special enforcer. They brought in Chuck to make sure no one interfered as they had at the Rumble. This match didn’t have much of a build. They simply played off the events of the Rumble. The WWF hoped for Chuck’s name recognition to boost buy rates. Norris was in the midst of his run on Walker: Texas Ranger at the time.

Also, there is another bit of news I want to cover. Randy Savage left the WWF. He was frustrated over being relegated to commentary and started negotiating with WCW. He left shortly before this event and Vince gave a heartfelt goodbye on RAW. He thanked Randy for his contributions to the company and wished him well. Sadly, that sentiment wouldn’t last. Vince seemed to harbor a grudge against Randy for years. Savage would never return to the WWF and it was a long time before Vince inducted him into the Hall of Fame. There are numerous rumors about why Vince felt sour toward Randy, but nothing was confirmed. Gorilla Monsoon would join Vince for commentary on this show. That’s because Vince fired Jim Ross again, but he would thankfully be back before the end of the year and stay for quite a while.

The show opens with a strategy session for Shawn Michaels’ Survivor Series team. He tells them with their talent and his leadership, they should have no problems defeating the Bad Guys. Wait, I’m confused. Wouldn’t Shawn’s team be the bad guys? Oh, that’s the name of Razor Ramon’s team. I get it now. I digress. Then, they show Razor and Luger’s teams discussing tactics. Razor says to take out Diesel and Luger talks about principles and pride. Meanwhile, Ted DiBiase talks to his team about money and Doink’s team looks like they downed a bag of coke. Lastly, they go to Jerry Lawler’s team, but he doesn’t want any cameras in his locker room.

Vince McMahon then welcomes everyone to San Antonio. He says Survivor Series is the answer to Hoss and Little Joe on the Ponderosa. I wasn’t aware they were a question. Then, Gorilla misunderstands what literally means. He says they are literally in the shadow of the Alamo. That is absurd. He also compares the struggle at the Alamo to the Bret/Backlund match. Next, Vince talks about the Taker/Yoko Casket Match and calls Chuck Norris the special troubleshooting referee. Is Chuck working tech support for the match? It would be fitting because I hear Chuck’s computer has no backspace button. He makes no mistakes.

(The Bad Guys) Razor Ramon, The 1-2-3 Kid, The British Bulldog, & The Headshrinkers (w/ Afa & Lou Albano) vs. (The Teamsters) Diesel, Shawn Michaels, Jeff Jarrett, Owen Hart, & Jim Neidhart

Notes: Things are not going well for the tag champs. Since SummerSlam, Shawn accidentally kicked Diesel in the face again. Shawn should work on the aim of his superkick. They seemingly patched up their differences, but Shawn still tries to steal the spotlight during their entrance for this bout. Diesel’s theme plays and we get a look at his new entrance video. He still has the horn noise, but they added footage of a big rig driving towards a camera. It looks like it’s going to burst through the screen. The competitors mug for the camera, so Vince tells us to look at that kisser!

Meanwhile, I need to discuss a change in the Headshrinkers. Samu was released from the WWF for missing some shows. He was replaced by the former Barbarian. He’s now going under the name Sione. Also, Lou Albano tried to domesticate the Headshrinkers by making them wear wrestling boots instead of going barefoot. The problem is, they can’t figure out how they work. They spend half the match being awkward because of their new footwear. I feel bad for them because of this gimmick. It won’t last long. The Headshrinkers would soon be done as a team.

The Match: The Kid fends off Anvil and Jarrett before Owen and Bulldog face each other. They show off some athleticism and reversals. Then, Bulldog displays his strength with a delayed suplex on Anvil. Razor and Jarrett square off next. Razor uses the Kid as a weapon, but Jarrett acts like a pest towards Razor. Jeff attacks and struts. He also fights with Fatu, who fidgets with his boots and does a bit of dancing. However, Diesel enters next and eliminates three people with Jackknifes. (Eliminations: Fatu, The Kid, & Sione) Next, Diesel boots Bulldog to the floor and Owen prevents him from answering the count. (Elimination: Bulldog) Razor fends off Diesel for a while, but Diesel takes control. Shawn yells at him to use the Jackknife and Diesel eventually does. But, Shawn demands a tag. He then tells Diesel to hold Razor for a superkick. Diesel reluctantly complies and Shawn—kicks Diesel in the face. Diesel finally has enough and snaps. He chases Shawn into the aisle and fights his own teammates. Owen pleads for them to return, but the ref counts out the entire team while they argue. (Eliminations: Diesel’s entire team)

Thoughts: This was a showcase for Diesel because Vince has big plans for him. I’ll talk more about that later. He looked quite strong. Almost everyone got a chance to shine. Shawn was the only one who did very little. I don’t know if he was injured or simply wanted to get paid for doing the minimum amount. The match was entertaining and didn’t overstay its welcome. The ending was a bit disappointing, but it works within the context. I like the story they told. It helps build the existing feuds and even some upcoming ones.

Survivor: Razor Ramon (21:45)

Todd Pettengill tries to get a word with Shawn Michaels as he retreats with his bags in hand. Shawn calls Diesel an ungrateful leech. He also says he should have known better than to get into another tag team. Shawn then throws down his tag team belt and says he wants nothing to do with Diesel ever again. Then, Shawn gets into his car while calling Diesel a zero without him. Todd doesn’t understand what that means, but he tells Shawn that Diesel is on his way. Shawn responds Diesel can find his own ride and then drives off into the night. Then, Vince and Gorilla discuss the events. Gorilla asks how many times you can get kicked in the kisser before you see the light. I’m starting to think kisser is the word of the night.

Chuck Norris Fact: The reason the Holy Grail has never been discovered is no one is brave enough to ask Chuck to give up his favorite coffee mug.

(The Royal Family) Jerry Lawler, Sleazy, Queasy, & Cheesy vs. (Clowns R’ Us) Doink, Dink, Pink, & Wink

Notes: This feud has sadly been going since September. Lawler started mocking and bullying Dink on a weekly basis. Doink answered by making fun of Jerry for feuding with the wrestling garbageman, Duke the Dumpster Droese. Dink hid in a trash can and tricked Lawler into kicking it. They revealed it was filled with weights when Jerry hurt his foot. Soon, Lawler introduced his own little person. They started multiplying until Lawler and Doink had teams of little people. Lawler had Cheesy, Sleazy, & Queasy. Doink had Dink, Pink, & Wink. It is every bit as awful as it sounds. Also, it seems like Duke Droese was unfairly lumped into the ridicule. I always thought he was underrated as a wrestler. If he had come along five years later, he could have been the master of the Dumpster Match and a good fit in the Hardcore Division. He was a man before his time.

Lawler grabs a mic and tells people to respect him by not chanting Burger King, but he doesn’t get his wish. Doink cartwheels down the aisle while Gorilla explains it’s mixed tag rules. Doink can only fight Lawler and the little people will wrestle each other.

The Match: Lawler stalls a lot early in the match. He and Doink trade slams and the little people walk all over both of them. Lawler’s own team even step on him because he was in the way. Then, Dink grabs a Burger King crown and places it on Jerry’s head. Next, Doink puts Dink on his shoulders and dares Lawler to play chicken. He responds by attempting to climb on Sleazy’s shoulders, but he falls. Lawler then clocks Doink with an object and eventually reverses a cross body with a handful of tights for an elimination. (Elimination: Doink) Only the little people can wrestle now. They take turns biting each other and Lawler. However, Jerry assists Cheesy in getting a pin. (Elimination: Wink) Then, Queasy spins Pink around on his head and Lawler slams Cheesy onto him for another pin. (Elimination: Pink) Pink rolls out of the ring, but he hides underneath. Next, Dink cleans house and uses a double noggin’ knocker. He also nails a flying cross body on Sleazy, but Jerry reverses the pin while the ref is distracted. (Elimination: Dink)

Thoughts: It was unfunny and awful. You know Vince loved this because he’s highly amused by little people, but it was terrible. The match was solely for Vince’s enjoyment. The fans chanted Burger King early, but they were nearly silent by the end. It went too long. It was mostly stalling and poor attempts at humor. You could tell even Gorilla didn’t like it because there was heavy sarcasm in his commentary.

Survivors: Lawler’s Team (16:05)

After the match, Lawler gets a mic and berates his team. He tells them he won the match, so they shouldn’t raise their arms. Then, he orders them to bow in the corner while he celebrates. They ignore him, so Lawler claims he hates short people and makes them leave. They continue raising their arms. Lawler chases them, but the clowns emerge from under the ring and pursue Lawler. He runs in circles and down the aisle until Doink confronts him with a pie. Lawler turns around and Doink shoves the pie in his face while everyone laughs. By everyone, I mean Vince and the clowns. The fans barely care.

Todd laughs and makes a bad pun before talking about the new Women’s Champion. He introduces footage from the Egg Dome in Tokyo, Japan. Bull Nakano defeated Alundra Blayze in front of 45,000 fans at an event called Big Egg Wrestling Universe. You have to love the odd names Japan has for events. Business was down in America, but Japan was going through a boom period at the time. Wrestling wasn’t struggling everywhere in the mid-90s. Then, Todd introduces the new champion. Bull responds in Japanese. So, douchebag Todd speaks louder and slower to her. He congratulates her and asks for English, but she gives him more Japanese. Pettengill says there’s a language gap and then sends it back to Vince & Gorilla. Vince thinks it’s hilarious, but Gorilla tries to salvage some dignity.

Chuck Norris Fact: Giraffes were created when Chuck Norris gave an uppercut to a horse.

Submission Match for the WWF Title: Mr. Bob Backlund (w/ Owen Hart) vs. Bret Hart (c) (w/ The British Bulldog)

Notes: Poor Bret is defending his title in the mid-card again. I don’t believe he’s main-evented a PPV since Mania. Backlund enters first with no music and Owen at his side. He’s wearing a bathrobe and towel, which is a look Damien Sandow would later use. In fact, I swear it’s the same outfit. Did Backlund bequeath it to him? They show Stu & Helen Hart in the front row while Bret enters the arena. They get front row seats, but Bret’s wife and kids are in the upper deck. Bret gets an amazing reaction that Vince acknowledges, but it’s not enough for Vince to change his mind on his direction for the next year. He’s dead set on that. I’ll explain more after this match. Bret kisses the belt before handing it to Hebner and then gives his shades to a kid. During the match, Vince mentions a hotline poll asking whether the Chickenwing or the Sharpshooter was more devastating. The fans surprisingly chose the Chickenwing. Maybe they thought they were ordering dinner.

The Match: Bret throws Bob around the ring until he regroups. Backlund does some amusing grunting in the process. Both men go for their submissions, but they block the attempts. Backlund takes brief control and works Bret’s arm and shoulder. But, Bret fights back and puts him in a Figure Four. Owen refuses to throw in the towel, so both men reverse through the hold until Backlund reaches the ropes. Then, Backlund hits a piledriver and returns to the arm. He also tries a sleeper hold. However, they end up colliding, and Bret uses his own piledriver. Bret then goes into his finishing routine and puts Bob in the Sharpshooter. Owen enters the ring, but Davey Boy chases him. The ref is distracted by Bulldog, so Owen breaks Bret’s hold. Bulldog continues his chase, but he collides with the steps and is unconscious. Owen then shows remorse. He is concerned for Davey and starts apologizing to Bret. But, Bret yells at him. Unfortunately, Backlund sneaks behind Bret and puts him in the Chickenwing. Bret tries to fight it, but Backlund brings him to the mat and holds him for minutes. Owen begins crying and pleads for his parents to do something. He says he didn’t want it to be this way. He even opens the guardrail and his parents come to ringside. Stu stops Helen from throwing in the towel, but Owen continues pleading. Bret can’t escape the Chickenwing, and the hold has been on for a long time. So, Helen finally has enough and throws in the towel.

Thoughts: I know this is a polarizing match, but I love it. It has great technical wrestling and a really good story. Owen’s performance is brilliant. Plus, they never lost the crowd. Bret is great at engaging the crowd even with a slower technical style. Also, I find Backlund highly amusing. His mannerisms, facial expressions, and grunting are quite entertaining. However, Backlund’s title reign would be short-lived. Within a week, he would lose the title in eight seconds to Vince’s new pet project—Diesel. Bob’s reign was merely a transition to put the belt on him.

Winner: Bob Backlund (New Champion) (35:11)

After the bell, Backlund stares at his hands in disbelief. Owen, on the other hand, immediately stops crying and runs down the aisle with the towel over his head like a trophy. Some officials arrive to help Bret to the back while the Fink announces Backlund as the new WWF Champion. A wild-eyed Bob accepts his belt with pride. He celebrates on the ropes while the fans boo. Vince compares Backlund’s victory to George Foreman coming out of retirement to win the boxing title.

Meanwhile, Todd is backstage with Owen Hart. Todd says it was a setup and Owen admits it was. He calls it the greatest Thanksgiving of his life. Then, Owen laughs at his parents for falling into his trap. He also mocks Bret for losing the title and calls Bret a cheater and a quitter. Owen then says, “You’re a loooooooser!” He calls himself a king and says he’s now the best there was is and ever will be. This promo was great. I love the story. Owen couldn’t get another title shot, so he decided to screw over Bret the only way he could.

Vince and Gorilla are shocked and disgusted. Gorilla can’t believe what Owen did and says he’s a worse person than he thought. Vince also claims there are people crying in the crowd. Perhaps they could use another Chuck Norris fact to cheer them. Chuck Norris Fact: Chuck Norris CAN believe it’s not butter.

(The Million Dollar Team) Tatanka, Bam Bam Bigelow, King Kong Bundy, & The Heavenly Bodies (w/ Ted DiBiase) vs. (Guts & Glory) Lex Luger, Adam Bomb, Mabel, & The Smoking Gunns (w/ Oscar)

Notes: The Million Dollar Corporation has added another new member. King Kong Bundy returned to the WWF after trying his hand at acting. He appeared in a couple of movies and even some episodes of Married with Children. It’s fitting because the family on that show were named after him. Also, DiBiase bought the services of the Heavenly Bodies for this match, but they’re unofficial members. They’re facing Lex Luger’s random team. It includes a babyface Adam Bomb. He turned in the cliché mid-90s way by refusing DiBiase’s money. Luger’s team enters to Luger’s theme, so Oscar looks disappointed he can’t rap.

The Match: Luger and Tatanka face-off and Luger no-sells much of his offense. Bundy tries to intervene, but Mabel confronts him. They only tease the meeting before Mabel fights with Tom Prichard. Mabel misses a leg drop, but he doesn’t fail on a diving cross body that eliminates Tom. (Elimination: Tom Prichard) Mabel then squares off against both Bundy and Bam Bam. Mable hits a wheel kick, but Bigelow slams him off the ropes. Then, Bigelow attempts a surprising flying sunset flip, but Mabel sits on his head!! Bam Bam is thankfully okay, but they tumble out of the ring when Mabel does a Cactus Clothesline. However, Bam Bam returns to the ring before the count and Mabel is gone. (Elimination: Mabel) Adam Bomb is in next and hits a nice slingshot clothesline. But, Bundy clocks him from behind, and Bigelow eliminates him with a moonsault. (Elimination: Adam Bomb) Del Ray is the next to go because of Luger’s jumping forearm. (Elimination: Jimmy Del Ray) Next, The Gunns double team Tatanka for a bit. They hit a double Russian leg sweep and a standing Sidewinder. However, Tatanka reverses a crucifix into the End of the Trail to take out Bart. (Elimination: Bart Gunn) Billy Gunn is also eliminated when Bundy gives him the Avalanche and an elbow. (Elimination: Billy Gunn) Luger fights valiantly for a while and eliminates Tatanka with a roll-up, but Bundy gets Luger with a splash. (Eliminations: Tatanka & Luger)

Thoughts: This was a surprisingly fun match. It dragged a little when Luger was by himself, but it didn’t ruin it. Everyone was used to their strengths. Some even looked impressive. I’m starting to think Adam Bomb might be slightly underrated. He looked decent. However, Mabel’s sloppiness is concerning since he receives a big push in the next year. He sat directly on Bam Bam’s head. I hope Bigelow gave him crap for that.

Survivors: Bam Bam & Bundy (23:21)

The Corporation attack Luger after the match. Tatanka hits the End of the Trail. Bam Bam hits a diving headbutt. And, Bundy drops an elbow on him. Finally, the Smoking Gunns and Adam Bomb arrive and clean house. I guess Mabel didn’t feel like running to the ring. He walks slowly and decides to attack the Heavenly Bodies in the aisle instead.

Next, Todd is backstage with the new WWF Champion, Bob Backlund. Todd calls him a two-time champion, but Backlund corrects him. He says he’s been champ since ‘78 because he never lost it. He simply regained the belt. He also says he beat the man who represents society to save society. He threatens to scrutinize, synchronize, pasteurize, and homogenize everyone into morality. Does he think human beings are milk? Then, Bob screams he is the champion and promises some sports education. Also, he promises to take on anyone before whispering about his fight for morality. He says children can look up to him and screams, “I FEEL LIKE GOD!!!” This promo was brilliant. Backlund pulled off being crazy. It was almost frightening.

Chuck Norris Fact: Chuck is the reason Waldo is hiding.

Casket Match: The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette)

Notes: The Fink introduces Chuck Norris first. He calls him one of the premiere movie stars and mentions Walker: Texas Ranger. I’m not sure he was a premiere movie star in ‘94. Wait, what am I saying!? I’m so sorry Mr. Norris. Please, don’t hurt me. Then, during Yokozuna’s entrance, Vince talks about a Paul Bearer lookalike contest. They show the winner in the crowd, and I have to admit he did a good job. Then, the Undertaker makes his entrance through the video wall. It separates so Paul Bearer can wheel the double-wide double-deep casket to the ring. The giant urn from SummerSlam sits on top of it. Taker drags his thumb across his throat, so Yoko stumbles and falls to his butt.

The Match: Yoko attacks early, but he shows fear of the casket. They brawl to the floor, and Taker rams him onto the steps. So, Yoko stumbles into the ring post. Then, they head back inside and Taker hits Old School while Paul Bearer looks at his reflection in the urn. Yoko fights back with a Samoan Drop and some headbutts, but Taker keeps rising. Taker then blocks an attempt on the casket and gives Yoko a hotshot. However, Yoko responds with a Uranage and a leg drop. Taker blocks another try with the casket and they fight inside of it until Fuji interferes. Taker chases him and knocks out Cornette, but Yoko attacks him. He gives Taker his receipt for the steps and chokes him. But, Taker pulls Yoko to the mat and nails a flying clothesline. He has to slowly roll Yoko across the ring, so members of the Corporation arrive to intervene.

Bundy and Bam Bam approach Norris, but he keeps them at bay. However, they’re a distraction. IRS emerges from the crowd and puts Taker in a sleeper hold before dumping him into the casket. Yoko stumbles around and tries to close the lid, but Taker reaches up and chokes him. Then, Jeff Jarrett appears and tries his hand against Norris. Chuck kicks him, and Jeff does a headstand before retreating. In the ring, Taker does his jumping clothesline and DDT before putting Yoko into the casket with a big boot. Next, he snaps Fuji’s Japanese flag and adds it to the casket. Taker then closes the lid for the win.

Thoughts: This was a bit better than their Rumble match, but that’s not saying much. There were a couple of cool spots and visuals. However, it was mostly slow and dull. The match was primarily to write Yoko off TV, so he could work on injuries and his weight. Norris’ involvement was minimal, but it was amusing to see Jarrett selling his kick. Unfortunately, there is one big negative about this match. It will lead to a Taker/IRS feud. Get ready for that masterpiece.

Winner: The Undertaker (15:24)

Taker celebrates in the ring while Bearer opens the urn to reveal the bright light. Vince recaps the night and promises an update on Bret Hart’s condition. He also says they will cover the Diesel/Shawn Michaels story. Then, he thanks everyone and says goodnight while plugging the upcoming Royal Rumble.

The Good:

– Bret/Backlund

– Owen Hart’s performance

– The opener was good

– The Corporation/Luger match was decent

– Backlund’s promo

The Bad:

– The Doink Match

– Todd’s behavior towards Bull Nakano

– The Main Event wasn’t good.

Performer of the Night:

I have to give it to Owen Hart again. His performance was masterful. It was actually some good acting. He is becoming the MVP of ‘94.

Final Thoughts:

This PPV was hit-and-miss. There was some great stuff, but we also got that Doink mess. I would say the good slightly outweighed the bad, but that simply makes it a decent event. Vince is about to make questionable decisions going into ‘95 and it will be a rough year.

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My next review will be WCW’s Starrcade ‘94. Look for it next Saturday!

 

Written by Paul Matthews

I am chronologically reviewing all the pre-network era WWF/WCW/ECW PPVs from Starrcade '83 to WrestleMania 30. Join me on this journey every Saturday!
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