Survivor Series Showdown 1989 and 1990

We open with the classic Survivor Series theme and a video package showing each team of four and their opposition. Then each of tonight’s match ups is highlighted and oh boy does this look like a brutal line up.

Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon host with Roddy Piper chiming in from another room. Monsoon explains the crappy line-up by stating all matches were picked out of a hat.

Tito Santana vs. Big Bossman

JIVE SOUL BRO! I’m smiling already! Dusty Rhodes and Akeem join their partners. Bossman is bent out of shape. Dusty is antagonizing him. Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura argue over the Bossman’s sweating of all things. Vince jokes about his own athletic career of Badminton.

Tito unloads with a big punch and then backs off as Bossman is in the ropes. He’ll need to be a lot more aggressive to hang with the lawman. Bossman tries a cheap shot and Santana out punches him again. Bossman starts clubberin’ but Tito manages to dropkick him to the floor.

Santana out wrestles Bossman and rocks him with another dropkick. Bossman responds with a back suplex. Bubba hits a TIGER BOMB! I have never seen him use that move before. Dusty jaw jacks with the Guardian Angel to buy El Matador some recovery time. The Boss strikes Chico with force as he uses his weight and power to keep Santana down. Tito makes a brief comeback but Ray Traylor uppercuts him. Slick makes racist comments about Mexicans while Akeem dances.

Bossman slaps Tito around like a cat playing with a mouse. Finally the Boss (man is he big) misses a corner charge. Santana tries for a figure four but Akeem and Slick cause mischief and Santana is nailed with the Bossman’s billy club. Bossman tries to pin him but the ref is still busy. The Dream slips in and cracks Bossman with his own nightstick and after a long pause, the ref counts the win for Tito!! The crowd goes absolutely bonkers! Fun ending to a blah match.

Heenan talks himself up back at the studio and ends up being insulted by Piper. Roddy’s more obnoxious than funny here.

From the pages of WWF magazine, it’s Update with Mean Gene. Demolition’s title win over the Brain Busters is highlighted. Again the crowd goes molten. I miss wrestling having real heat. Heenan trash talks his team a little bit.

Bushwhacker Butch vs. Mr. Perfect

Perfect’s heat sure seemed canned. The fans and Vince loved the Bushwhackers though. Jesse Ventura is aghast at this matchmaking of talented worker vs. retard. Hennig jumps Butch from behind and gets bit for his efforts. He bails to the floor for his rabies shot.

Perfect hammers away some more and again gets bitten. Vince suggests Perfect’s unbeaten record is in jeopardy.

Butch is again battered down as Hennig is dumbing down his offense significantly. Butch bites him again. Ventura is disgusted with this whole charade. Luke chases The Genius around as Mr. Perfect snags the perfect-plex for the pin. Thankfully this one is over.

The Bushwhackers beat up Hennig after the match and send him flying over the top rope.

Monsoon points out that Jimmy Hart, Heenan and The Genius will all be in the heel’s corner against Piper’s goofs.

Hercules vs. Randy “Macho King” Savage

Vince wonders if Sherri and Savage are boinking. Insert your own Stephanie joke here. Ventura doesn’t dig in others business.

Herc clears the ring with his chain before the match can start.

Hercules and Savage test each other’s might and that ends with Randy being flung across the ring. Randy quickly resorts to cheap shots but Hercules keeps out muscling him anyway as Macho bumps around to make this watchable. Herc press slams Savage. Jesse tries to determine the brains of Herc’s team that also features Ron Garvin and Jim Duggan.

Herc chases Macho to the floor and Sherri gets in the way to help distract our hero. Savage ends up sending him into the ring post. A double axehandle keeps Hercules down on the floor. Sherri gets her licks in while he’s down there. The fans are very loudly calling Sherri a lot of names at ringside.

Herc absorbs another double axehandle from the top and Savage drops him throat first on the top rope. Savage misses the big elbow from the top rope that follows. Hercules delivers a few clotheslines and dodges a sneak attack when Sherri distracts him. Herc catches Savage when he attempts another high-risk move but then he again allows Sherri to distract him.

More clotheslines as Herc is really busting out the variety… Sherri yanks the ropes down and Hercules falls to the floor. Hercules won’t stay down, so Macho finally smacks him with Sherri’s purse for the win. Kudos to Macho for creating lots of motion around the roided up slug.

Heenan gets a Heenan Family related phone call and looks absolutely shaken afterwards.

Brother Love (ugh) Show with Andre The Giant and Haku. Love puts over how big the heels are compared to Demolition. Heenan promises to take the tag gold back in a hurry with his new pair of monsters. Haku and Andre speak in their native tongues. Really odd that the WWF would air this while building up a Demolition vs. Powers of Pain issue for the upcoming PPV. No word from the Brain Busters on Heenan giving up on them so fast.

PPV preview with Mean Gene. Barry Windham is still with Macho’s team and even cuts a promo. He wouldn’t make it to the PPV. Hacksaw’s team does a wacky military march. Duggan says he’s got wood. Yuck. The Red Rooster calls The Bossman’s squad a bunch of turkeys.

The Ultimate Warrior vs. Tully Blanchard

Tully gets tossed down five or six times. Then Warrior crushes Blanchard’s hand when he offers a handshake. Warrior drags him around like that until Blanchard finds an eye to poke. Warrior no sells a bevy of punches and whips Blanchard to the cement. Warrior whips him violently back to the floor when he gets back in. Tully’s had enough and tries to leave.

Tully is press slammed back in and Warrior connects with a flying double axehandle. Warrior misses a charge and that allows Blanchard to start raking at his face along with choking him. Blanchard tries his snap suplex but Warrior reverses it. Warrior catches him coming off the top and powerslams him.

Warrior tries a gorilla press slam but Arn Anderson runs in and breaks things up. Warrior wipes them both out. Haku joins in and that sparks Jim Neidhart and the Rockers to come down and clear the ring. Andre slowly lumbers to the ring but the fight is over before he can arrive.

Monsoon and Roddy troll Heenan on never fighting his own fights. Heenan’s retort is “It’s illegal!”

Hogan and Demolition make faces and toss out threats. Jake sits back and shoots daggers into the camera.

Demolition Smash vs. “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase

Dibiase trades punches with Smash and hurts his hand on Smash’s studded mask. Smash repossesses Dibiase’s wad of cash and sticks it in his jockstrap. Smash hammers away as Vince and Jesse argue grammar. Dibiase is sent to the floor twice but Smash gets too anxious and clotheslines a ringpost.

Dibiase tries to wear Smash down back in the ring. Lots of headlocks. Vince tries to suggest Smash kicking out of Dibiase’s pin fall attempts are giving him momentum. Smash botches the ref tests your arm three times for consciousness spot and goes down three times before showing life. More headlocks.

Smash gets a last bit of life before Zeus appears at ringside. Dibiase sends Smash to the floor where Zeus snaps his neck. Dibiase gets the easy pin after that. Bad bad bad.
Bobby Heenan needs tickets to Survivor Series for Jason Hervey.

Final thoughts:

Hogan had already beaten Zeus and Demolition had long since taken care of the Powers of Pain, so this PPV really felt pretty flat as the biggest match had little meat on the bone. And this isn’t even Zeus’ last PPV with Hogan! Really bad action all night long to boot.


Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon host. Heenan requests extra security from the Big Bossman.

Tito Santana vs. Sgt. Slaughter

A surprising amount of fans dressed as empty seats tonight. Monsoon makes fun of the Colts NFL team being the worst in the league. (They are in Indianapolis).

Heenan makes vague references to his days working for the WWA and AWA in this area. Meanwhile Sarge stalls like crazy.

He complains Tito pulled his hair but Santana points out Slaughter’s bald head and protests. Heenan compares Sarge’s turn to Iraq to a man dumping his old lady for a new woman. Monsoon is disgusted.

Sarge wears down Tito’s abdominal wall with kicks, punches and elbows. Monsoon and Heenan run through a comedy routine as Sarge methodically (read as slowly) takes apart Santana. Slaughter takes his over the corner bump to the floor to give Santana his shine.

Mr. Santana works a lengthy sleeper, which must imply that Tito didn’t have it locked on right and even Monsoon takes him to task. Sarge breaks free only to miss a follow up top rope splash. He climbs back up and is slammed off. Santana hits the flying forearm but Sarge rolls to the floor.

Tito rams Adnan and Slaughter’s heads together then tries to slam Sarge back in the ring but Adnan trips him and Slaughter steals the win. The crowd was dead throughout and the canned heat was obvious. Not exactly a good match either.

Vince runs down the top PPV matches as only he can: “The Hulkamaniacs are going to drumstick it to The Natural Disasters plus the Warriors are going to try and beat the stuffing out of the Perfect Team. It’ll be egg-citing!!”

They pretend to show a “live” promo by Sarge and his team but Slaughter is dry, groomed and clean despite the 10-minute match he just finished. Sarge is teaming with the job squad of non-English speakers. Then Nikolai Volkoff’s team is interviewed. Tito had the foresight to moisten his hair. The Bushwackers promise their team will win one for the Alliance with America.

Marty Jannetty vs. Rick “The Model” Martel

We see clips of the Model “accidentally” blinding Jake. Then 3 weeks later he mocks Jake on the Brother Love show. Love eats a DDT for his troubles. Vince’s verbiage and delivery of “that poor man…that poor man” when Jake’s shades come off and we see his mangled eyes is excellent.

Marty is leery of Martel’s Arrogance spray can. Monsoon calls the ref a freeloader. Wonder what that’s about? Marty and The Model exchange exercise routines before they start to feel each other out. Martel quickly resorts to cheap tactics. He keeps control until he dings his own knee on the turnbuckle.

Jannetty works over the limb. Marty keeps a leg lock on for several minutes until Martel kicks him to the floor. The Rocker regains control and delivers a face buster but Rick sends him flying to the floor again. A strange finish sees Marty try a sunset flip but Martel ducks out of the way and Jannetty crashes to the mat and finds himself pinned. Disappointing match.

Promo time for Jake and his Vipers. Jake is sick of being asked about his injured eyes. The Rockers don’t add much and Snuka hoots. Martel’s Visionaries are up next. Martel admits he blinded Jake intentionally and he will do it again at the PPV. Power and Glory plan to maim Shawn Michaels again…and suddenly Jake and his team storm in the interview area and a scuffle breaks out.

Hogan, Bossman, Tugboat and Hacksaw are interviewed. Hogan has trained his team by the ocean. Duggan and Tugboat have wrestled sharks while Bossman is manning the beaches. Hogan was rather mellow here- kind of odd to see.

Big Bossman vs. Earthquake

Quake shoves the Bossman around and poses. Quake is rocked with a big uppercut but quickly cuts off the ring only to miss his offensive attack. Bossman then dodges a corner splash and trips Quake up. Bossman tries a crossbody and ends up caught and powerslammed. Heenan leaves the booth to go down by the Bossman now that he’s hurt.

Quake sits on the lawman a few times and Heenan slaps up the Bossman when the chance opens up. Heenan is warned by Joey Marella but is allowed to stay at ringside.

Bossman endures a bearhug until he bites his way out. Quake kicks and elbows away at Bossman’s spine. Heenan borrows the megaphone to encourage Tenta. Bossman tries to slug his way back into the match and downs the super heavyweight with an enziguiri.

Earthquake is tied to the ropes but Bossman is dumped to the floor when he charges in. Heenan again sneaks over to lay in the boots. Where the Hell is the rest of Bossman’s team to stop this? Big Bossman takes things into his own hands and chases Heenan to the back, leading to getting counted out. Okay match, but again not as good as I was hoping for given the participants.

The Natural Disasters grunt and grumble through a promo. Haku promises they will be the “victories”. Barbarian growls threats. Bravo dictates the order of elimination for The Hulkamaniacs and Quake shakes.

Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. The Honky Tonk Man

“Hunka Hunka Honky Love” brings out Mr. Ferris. Monsoon speculates that the Million Dollar Man’s mystery teammate is residing in the giant mysterious egg that is set to hatch on Thanksgiving. Monsoon tells Heenan he has blackmail pictures of Haku and The Barbarian and may sell them. Heenan freaks out. I’m disturbed.

Honky and Hart feel each other out. Jimmy Hart tries to cheat but Bret avoids his shenanigans. Heenan insults Jimmy under his breath.

More comedy from Bobby and Gorilla discussing the criminal history of the Honkettes as the participants go through the motions and are ignored by the commentators.

Honky sells a reverse atomic drop by selling his pelvis, not his balls as is the new normal. We go to rest holds as Monsoon says Honky is blown up. Hart makes his comeback and starts to go through his usual high spots before Jimmy jumps up on the apron. Bret sends Honky into him and scores a roll-up victory. Paint by numbers stuff saved by the commentary being entertaining.

The Million Dollar Team gets their promo time. Dibiase wishes Dustin Rhodes was a part of Dusty’s team so he can hurt him some more. Honky plans lots of cheating. Valentine butchers his portion of the promo badly.

Dusty is joined by the Hart Foundation and Koko B. Ware elsewhere for comments. Koko sings some gospel style Survivor Series warning. Neidhart isn’t worried about the mystery man. Dusty promises that the air of mystery is only making his team train harder and then cuts a wacky promo on the many possibilities of what the mystery man may hold for them.

The way Dibiase mentioned Dustin made me think that could have been a red herring hint that the Million Dollar Man’s mystery man was Dusty’s own son – another shot to the American Dreams heart. Of course the real reveal would be much more historically significant.

The Warriors are given a chance to speak. The Ultimate Warrior has no facepaint on as we are into the experimental humanization of his character to try and salvage his drawing power. Animal plans on breaking jaws. The Texas Tornado intends on shutting up Mr. Perfect. Hawk plans on embarrassing the Perfect Team. Warrior warns Gene he must be kidnapped and kept by this team until the PPV now as he is entwined in their power vortex. Ok then.

Kerry Von Erich vs. Demolition Smash

Heenan is asked if he had a formal education, Bobby questions what kind of school deals in haberdashery?

Heenan suggests Smash’s mask in designed to block pain. Slugfest to start and things spill to the floor where Smash is dropped with a sloppy slam on the concrete. Kerry keeps up control until he misses a charge and crashes into the post. Smash works over the now damaged limb of the Texan.

Smash mildly botches a backbreaker and Monsoon rips on him. Kerry locks on a claw out of nowhere and takes Smash down until Smash finds a way to jab a thumb in Kerry’s eye. Mr. Perfect and Demolition run down and deliver a four-on-one beatdown. The Road Warriors come down to help and finally the Ultimate Warrior completes the task of saving Kerry. Hennig takes two big bumps over the top rope in under a minute. Any wonder why his back was shot within eight months of this?

Jesse Ventura hawks WWF action figures. I’m surprised the WWF didn’t re-tape this ad after Jesse left several months ago.

The Perfect Team gets their chance to verbalize their grievances. Perfect blames Von Erich for sparking the melee we just saw. Smash plans on crippling all the Warriors. Ax calls the LOD the Legion of Dumb. Crush insults Sean Mooney.

Bobby and Monsoon rundown the PPV card to close the show.

Final thoughts:

Lots of heel wins to help build to babyface revenge at the PPV. Hogan and Quake remains the top issue as Warrior is too weird, Perfect isn’t over to the point where he can credibly contend with with Warrior (jobbing to Beefcake, Hogan and Kerry Von Erich on TV in the past eight months didn’t help) and Sgt. Slaughter’s cheap heel heat doesn’t seem to be catching on at all either.

Nonetheless, the 1990 Survivor Series is probably my favorite event of them all, even if the booking wasn’t quite clicking on all cylinders.


Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.

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