WWF Survivor Series 1991: The Gravest Challenge
by Scrooge McSuck
- How much more can I do in such a short time? I know I love the Survivor Series', but this is going to be my 5th in roughly a week's time. The 1991 Survivor Series is interesting for several reasons. First, it's the first time a non-Elimination match is featured, and for the WWF Title, no less. Second, the incredibly lame over-hyping of "This Tuesday in Texas", rendering most of this show secondary in importance to that aborted mess of an idea. Third, an incredible amount of substitutions, to the point one match was left as just a collection of anyone on the roster that was asked to fill a spot.
- Live from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI, with Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan calling the action. Before we get any live action, we're taken back to Superstars, where in one of the greatest moments in WWF TV history, Jake Roberts unleashed his King Cobra on Randy Savage, ending with the snake biting Savage on his arm. The whole thing is caught well on camera, and damn did Savage have balls to willingly do that. This all leads to Savage's reinstatement from retirement (see: WrestleMania VII) and the signing of Roberts vs. Savage for This Tuesday in Texas. To punish Roberts, he has been removed from action tonight, originally the captain of a team consisting of the Natural Disasters and I.R.S. I'll be skipping all the random interviews, featuring Randy Savage and Jake Roberts, among others. I don't see the point in them, since no one watches these shows for a two minute interview.
- Roddy Piper (Captain), Bret Hart, The British Bulldog, Virgil vs. Ric Flair (Captain), Ted Dibiase, The Mountie, The Warlord:
Holy crap, why is everyone in main event (and upper-card) caliber feuds all thrown into this one match? I smell something fishy, because there's no way they will job half of these guys in the same match, considering the time frame and the lack of weekly television. Let's see if I can remember everything... Piper and Flair were feuding "just because", Bret and Mountie started after the Mountie zapped Bret after dumping a bucket of water on him, Dibiase had recently regained the Million Dollar belt from Virgil, and the Bulldog and Warlord seemed to have wrestled each other at every PPV in 1991. In a "new" twist, managers are no longer allowed at ringsie during the elimination matches, and thank GOD for that, since the heel team would have no less than Mr. Perfect, Harvey Wippleman, Jimmy Hart, and Sensational Sherri wandering around, too. I forgot, Wippleman had recently obtained the contract of the Warlord from Slick, who vanished from WWF television shortly after SummerSlam, and would return roughly a year later as "The Reverend" and humanitizing Kamala. Sherri, despite the new rule implemented, stays behind at ringside at the start of the match. Hmmm...
Anyway, the lucky winners to start this one off are Dibiase and the Hotrod. Flair knees Piper from behind, allowing Dibiase to take the advantage. Piper with a clothesline, then he drapes Dibiase across the top rope and plays horsie with him. Sherri gets pulled into the ring, and gets a kiss from Piper for her troubles, and now she leaves the ring area. Piper with a series of rights and lefts, then applies a wristlock. Bulldog tags in and goes to work on the arm of Dibiase. Virgil tags in and stomps away on the arm, as well. Bret tags in to complete the cycle, dropping a leg across the back of the head and applying a hammerlock. Piper tags back in to continue the punishment, and then the Bulldog, and then Virgil. Wristlock applied by Virgil, and here comes Hart again with a arm drag before applying an armbar. Dibiase escapes with a knee to the midsection. Whip across the ring is reversed, and Bret misses a charge. Bret counters a figure four and rolls through a pinning combination for a two count. Hip toss by Hart, and he goes back to the armbar. Irish whip, and Bret with a shoulder block. Dibiase with a hip toss, and in comes Flair, missing an elbow drop. Bret with a headbutt, followed by an inverted atomic drop. Bulldog tags in, and he slingshots Flair into the turnbuckle. Flair flops on his face for dramatic effect. Irish whip reversed, and Bulldog with his signature press slam. Piper tags in and he goes crazy attacking Flair in the corner. They exchange blows, with Piper winning that one. Flair runs outside and flops again. Piper introduces him to the ring steps, and tosses him back in, where Flair tags out to the Warlord. He wants a test of strength, so Piper wisely tags out to Davey Boy, the strongest man on his team. They collide a few times until Davey knocks Warlord down with a dropkick. Whip to the corner, and Warlord boots DBS in the face. Mountie tags in and we cut backstage, watching Jimmy Hart swooning over his protege. Bret tags in, and there goes the Mountie, tagging out to Dibiase. Bret hammers away on Dibiase and connects with a back breaker and elbow drop for a two count. Irish whip, and a collision sees both men knocked down, hard. Davey Boy and the Mountie tag in. Davey with a clothesline and back elbow, followed by a press slam (with reps). Flair runs in and gets nailed for it. Flair chops away on Bulldog, but it's no sold. Whip to the corner, and Bulldog comes charging out with a clothesline. Powerslam connects on the Mountie, but Flair comes off the top with a forearm and covers the Bulldog for the three count at 10:55. Long time without a fall, me thinks.
Piper rushes in to pounce on Flair again, and nails everything in site that isn't on his team. The odds are too much in that situation, and he quickly gets taken down by the baddies. Flair with a snapmare, followed by his signature knee drop. He tries again, but Piper rolls out of the way, and applies the Figure-Four on Flair! Dibiase stomps Piper on the head to break the hold. Dibiase tags in and connects with an atomic drop to the surgically repaired knee of Piper, then applies a spinning toe hold. Piper counters that with a small package for a two count. Mountie tags in and quickly applies a Boston Crab, but where's Raymond to drop a leg across the head of Piper? Virgil gets the not-so-hot tag and nails Mountie from behind. Whip to the corner and Virgil with a clothesline. Irish whip and Virgil with a back elbow. Flair tags in, and they lockup into the corner. Slapping match, with Virgil coming out on top. Flair gets whipped to the corner and back dropped, so it's time to beg! Dibiase tags in, and he gets to face his feuding partner. Dibiase with knees to the midsection, but he gets rammed to the buckle about 10 times or so. Irish whip is reversed, and Dibiase connects with a powerslam. Warlord tags in and stomps away on Virgil, then dumps him out of the ring for some punishment from Flair. Back in the ring, and Warlord continues to hammer away on Virgil. Warlord applies a Full Nelson, but here's Bret with a blow from the top rope to knock him silly, and Piper covers the Warlord for a three count at 17:00.
Piper rolls up Dibiase quickly for a two count. Irish whp, and Dibiase connects with a back elbow. He tries for a suplex, but Piper counters with one of his own. Virgil tags in and hammers away on Dibiase. Irish whip, and he connects with a series of clotheslines. Virgil with a Million Dollar Dream, but Dibiase escapes, ramming Virgil face-first into the buckle. Sadly, that doesn't break his nose, like when Sid did it to him before WrestleMania VIII. Flair tags in, and chops away in the corner. Flair with a back suplex, and Mountie tags in to continue the mudhole stomping on Virgil. I'm Da' Mountie! Dibiase nails Virgil from the apron, then tags in and comes off the middle rope with an elbow. Dibiase with a gut-wrench suplex, and Flair tags in, connecting with a double clothesline for a two count. Dibiase comes back in and drops Virgil like a bad habit with a clothesline. Irish whip, and Virgil surprises Dibiase with a swinging neck breaker. Flair and Piper tag in, and Piper is no-selling what Flair has to offer. Piper with mounted punches in the corner and a thumb to the eyes. Piper rams Flair to the buckle a handful of times and slams him from the top rope. Everyone runs in and brawls, while Flair gets thrown out of the ring from a hard whip to the corner. The chaos continues, and the referee decides to Disqualify everyone in the ring at 22:48, which means that Ric Flair is the Sole Survivor in one of the lamest finishes in the history of the Survivor Series, yet. **3/4 Match was going pretty good for the most part, but the lame ass finish really hurts, so I knocked a little bit off the rating for that. Too many big names means a lot of cop-out endings, and damn if that wasn't a cop out ending.
- Jim Duggan (Captain), Sgt. Slaughter, El Matador Tito Santana, Kerry Von Erich vs. Col. Mustafa (Captain), The Berzerker, Skinner, Hercules:
Well look at THIS collection of misfits, and this match suffered greatly from substitutions. Originally, The Dragon (Ricky Steamboat) and Jim Neidhart were on the side of the babyfaces, and the heels had Big Bully Busick. Duggan and Mustafa had minor issues, Dragon and Skinner had a program going on, as did Neidhart and Busick. Santana ended up replacing The Dragon (I think), who left the company a month or so earlier, and Slaughter, who got his country back a few weeks before the show is replacing Neidhart, who was "injured" by Flair and the Beverly Brothers a few weeks earlier. Busick left the company as well, so his substitute is Hercules, who was reduced to JTTS status at this point of his career. I've read something about the Barbarian being part of the heel team as well, but I don't recall that ever being mentioned on television. A lot to detail for a match that was as worthless as shit, I know, but I like bringing everything to the table.
Santana and Skinner start it off with a lock-up. Skinner takes it to the corner and slaps. Santana retaliates with a shove and clothesline, followed by a headlock takeover. Irish whip, and Santana with a shoulder block, followed by a flying forearm, but Skinner is knocked out of the ring. Slaughter tosses Skinner back in, but Skinner rolls back out. Santana goes back to the headlock, but misses a cross body press. Berzerker tags in, and comes off the second rope, missing a leg drop. Tornado tags in, and hammers away with rights. Irish whip, and Berzerker misses a dropkick. Tornado takes shots at everyone, but gets caught in the heel corner. Mustafa tags in for some double team action. Duggan and Hercules get the tags, and Hercules controls with a headlock. Shoulder block stalemate, and Duggan controls with clubbering. Berzerker grabs Duggan from the apron, so Duggan fights everyone himself until getting nailed from behind by Hercules. Berzerker stomps away on Duggan, then nails him with a back elbow. Mustafa tags in and boots Duggan with his curly boot, then applies a reverse chinlock. I think Mustafa is wearing Hulkamania wrist bands, but I hope I'm wrong. Mustafa with a thrust to the throat, but that only gets a two count. Mustafa continues to punish Duggan, but it's just so damn boring. Duggan comes back with a suplex, and tags out to Slaughter. He gives Mustafa a salute and connects with an atomic drop and clothesline for the three count at 7:57. Big pop for that one.
Berzerker rushes in and gets caught with a series of rights. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Berzerker nails him with a clothesline. Slaughter does his signature bump in the corner, as Berzerker continues working him over. Irish whip, and Berzerker with a big boot for a two count. Hercules tags in and he clubs away at Slaughter. He tries for a series of pinfalls, but none get more than a two count. Berzerker tags back in and hammers away on Slaughter. Irish whip reversed, and Slaughter crotches Berzerker across the top rope. Duggan gets the tag in and gets his eyes raked for it. Duggan with a boot to the face, and a clothesline sends Berzerker out of the ring. Berzerker charges in and gets back dropped over the top on the opposite side. Tornado tags in and hammers away on Berzerker, connecting with a discuss punch to top it off. Hercules tags in, doing nothing much of note. Matador Santana tags in and hammers away on Herc'. Irish whip and a fist to the midsection, then he connects a diving forearm to the back of the head for the three count at 12:05. El Paso de Muerte, or whatever, as Monsoon called it.
Skinner comes in and chokes Santana across the middle rope. Berzker tags in and puts Santana down with a clothesline. Skinner is back in, and he connects with a series of axehandles across the back. Scoop slam by Skinner, but Santana is fighting back with rights. Santana tags Slaughter blindly, and Slaughter school boys Skinner for the three count at 13:31 Berzerker clubs away on the back of Slaughter, but misses a dropkick. Slaughter rams him to the exposed turnbuckle a total of ten times (the crowd counted for me) and whips him to the corner. Duggan tags in, and his charging clothesline finishes Berzerker off at 14:19, meaning the entire team of Duggan, Slaughter, Tornado, and Santana have survived. * Match pretty much sucked, but the commentary by Bobby Heenan was so good for this match, that I'll be generous enough not to give it a DUD. It's just 15-minutes worth of one-liner jokes at the hands of Duggan and Santana, mostly.
- WWF Championship Match:
Hulk Hogan © vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer):
It's the Gravest Challenge, and the first non-Elimination match to be featured on the Survivor Series. There really wasn't much in terms of backstory here, as the Undertaker spent almost all of the summer and fall of 1991 feuding with the Ultimate Warrior and Sid Justice. The big moment for these two happened on the Funeral Parlor, where Undertaker ambushed Hogan and beat him silly, until the power of Hogan's cross scared Undertaker off. That's something that was never followed up on. A midcard championship match back in the days of kayfabe doesn't spell safety for a babyface World Champion. Undertaker gets a pretty good babyface pop for the top heel in the company. Lockup, and Undertaker shoves off. Hogan with a side headlock applied, and I just notice that retarded Hogan superfan that dresses up as Hogan at various shows (including King of the Ring '93). Anyway, back to the action, and Hogan runs after going down to a shoulder block. Undertaker chokes away in the corner, followed by thrusts to the throat. Undertaker with more choking, and then Bearer gets in some cheap shots of his own. Undertaker with a power slam, but he misses an elbow drop. Hogan with a series of rights. Irish whip, and Hogan connects with a clothesline. Undertaker blocks a slam attempt. Hogan rakes the eyes a few times and nails him with an elbow to the top of the head. Hogan clotheslines Undertaker over the top rope, to the floor. Undertaker pulls Hogan out under the bottom rope and introduces him to the ring steps, then chokes him with some microphone cables. Back in the ring, and Undertaker chokes some more. This is just terrible. After about 2-3 minutes of a choke resthold, Hogan finally starts fighting back. The crowd is still into it, somehow. Hogan with boots to the midsection, followed by shoulder blocks. Undertaker bounces off the ropes and nails his flying clothesline to a big pop. Undertaker connects with the tombstone piledriver, but Hogan Hulks-Up! Roundhouse rights by Hogan, followed by a rake of the eyes and slam. Here comes Ric Flair, the Real World's Champion. Hogan tries for the leg drop, but Bearer grabs the leg. Hogan goes outside to nail Flair, then goes back inside and drops 'Taker with a big boot. Bearer grabs the leg again, and the referee gets tied up. Undertaker scoops Hogan up, and tombstones him onto a steel chair inserted in the ring by Flair. Undertaker covers, and we've got a New WWF Champion at 12:45, The Undertaker. Hogan plays dead for about 5 minutes before getting up on his own power and taking the walk of shame. Their rematch for This Tuesday in Texas is announced no more than 20-minutes later in the show. DUD Match was just all kinds of bad, and that's all I'm going to say.
- The Rockers & The Bushwhackers vs. The Nasty Boys & The Beverly Brothers:
And we're back to the elimination rules matches, and dammit, it's a match with not only the Bushwhackers, but the Nasty Boys, as well. God only knows how thrilled that one makes me. I honestly don't know if these team issues with each other or not. If they do, I'm guessing it was Rockers/Nasties and Whackers/Beverly Brothers as the pairings. The Rockers are so close to splitting up at this point you could smell it. Michaels has even grown out his chest hair for his sexy boy look, it looks like. Knobbs starts with Luke, and they trade blows. Irish whip is reversed and Butch nails Knobbs with a knee lift. Bushwhackers double clothesline him, and Saggs comes in to get his butt whooped, too. The Beverly Brothers come in and get beat on, too. God, this match needs to end, now. The Rockers come in with a sneak attack to the Nasty Boys, now. Michaels and Blake Beverly lockup into the corner, and yes, Blake cheap shots him. Whip to the corner and Blake with an elbow to the mouth. Michaels comes back with a swinging neck breaker. Blake wth an inverted atomic drop and back breaker. Knobbs tags in and misses an elbow drop. Michaels with a high knee, and here comes Luke to punch a lot. Whip is reversed, but Knobbs misses a charge. Knobbs comes off the ropes with a clothesline, though, and Luke is gone at 5:21.
Michaels comes back in and gets pounded across the back. Saggs tags in to hammer away. Saggs with a suplex and shoulders into the midsection. Meanwhile, Monsoon and Heenan hype the Tuesday in Texas PPV. Michaels with a cross body from the top for two. Hip toss and armbar applied by Michaels. Jannetty tags in and works over the arm, as well. At this point, I'd like to introduce myself to a razor blade. Jannetty with a series of arm drags, then back to the armbar. Beau Beverly tags in for the first time and snapmares Jannetty over. Irish whip, and Jannetty comes back with a thrust kick for a two count, then applies an armbar. Whip to the corner is countered with a drop toe hold by Jannetty. Beau scoops Jannetty up onto the turnbuckle, but Jannetty appears to blow his spot. Whip to the corner, and Beau takes him over with a gut-wrench suplex for a two count. Irish whip is reversed, and we get a crappy looking collision spot. Butch and Blake tag in, and it's Butch in control. Clotheslines to both Beverly Brothers by Butch! That doesn't last long, as he gets killed with the Beverly Bomb for the three count at 10:13.
Jannetty hammers away on Beau... and just looks high as fuck out there, constantly getting lost in his spots. No wonder he never got any real pushes. Whip to the corner, and Jannetty takes Beau over with a monkey flip, followed by a head scissors for a two count. Irish whip, and Beau blocks a kick to the face, but Jannetty connects with an enziguri, instead. Blake tags in and walks into an arm drag. Michaels tags in, and works over the arm of Blake. Blake escapes with a rake of the eyes and chokes Michaels across the middle rope. Beau comes in and quickly dumps Michaels out of the ring, where Knobbs continues to bring the pain. Back in the ring, and Beau puts Michaels down with a back elbow. Beau with an elbow drop to the back. Irish whip to the corner, and Beau connects with a side back breaker. Michaels counters a second, and back slides Beau for the three count at around the 14:00 mark.
Blake rushes in and plants Michaels with a powerslam for a two count. Knobbs tags in and hammers away on Michaels. Irish whip, and Michaels comes off the ropes with a sunset flip for a two count. Saggs tags in and stomps Michaels down. Michaels with a dropkick sends Saggs out of the ring, then comes off the apron with a diving clothesline. Michaels with a reverse kick to Knobbs, and we're back in the ring. Michaels to the top rope, and he jumps into a fist. Blake tags in and drops a leg across the throat of Michaels. Irish whip, and Michaels boots Blake in the mouth. Jannetty gets the hot tag and hammers away on Knobbs. Irish whip, and Jannetty with a diving back elbow, followed by a snapmare for a two count. Blake tags in and gets taken over with an arm drag. Irish whip is countered, and Jannetty rolls up Blake for a two count. Knobbs tags in and drops a forearm across the back of Marty. Whip to the buckle, and Jannetty with the 1-2-3 Kid Sell™. Knobbs with a shitty powerslam for a two count. Saggs tags in and connects with a pump-handle slam, followed by a back suplex. Knobbs tries a splash, but meets the knees of Jannetty. Michaels with the next hot tag, and he pounds away on Knobbs. Irish whip is reversed, but Michaels comes back with a clothesline. Michaels nails everything walking, and here's Jannetty for some help. Jannetty scoops up Saggs for a slam, but his feet nail Michaels in the face, and Knobbs rolls Michaels up for the three count at 19:41.
After the pinfall, Michaels and Marty have a heated exchange, and Michaels makes first contact. Jannetty reasons with him and Michaels takes a walk after a while. Knobbs with a forearm to the face of Jannetty. Whip across the ring, and Jannetty boots Knobbs in the face and rams him face first into the canvas for a one count. Saggs dumps Jannetty over the top and to the floor. Back in the ring, and Blake plants Jannetty with a powerslam, but doesn't want to make the cover. Knobbs with a field goal kick to the midsection, but Jannetty quickly fights back and pulls Knobbs out of the ring, ramming him face first to the canvas and then into the ring post. Jannetty to the top rope, and he comes off with a cross body onto both Nasty Boys in the aisle. Jannetty comes back in the ring and rams Blake into the canvas. Small package on Sags by Jannetty, but Knobbs reverses it, and Jannetty is a werak girl and pinned at 23:06, making the Nasty Boys and Blake Beverly the Survivors of the match. About a month later, the Rockers split on the Barber Shop, where Michaels solidified his heel turn by throwing Jannetty face-first into the barber shop window. *1/2 Match stunk for the first 10 minutes, but things picked up OK once the Bushwhackers were gone. Still, nothing too exciting, unless you like watching Jannetty blow spots left and right.
- Big Boss Man & Legion of Doom vs. Irwin R. Schyster & The Natural Disasters:
Blech, this match looks so boring without Sid Justice and Jake Roberts in the match, the original team captains of the match. With Sid's injury, and the whole Savage/Roberts thing set up for Tuesday in Texas, this match is just a 6-Man Tag Match with elimination rules, and yes, I know, it's the same thing, but at the same time, it isn't. Boss Man and I.R.S. had a thing that went nowhere at 88 mph, so did the LOD and fat guys. Now you know. Sorry for the attitude, but I just want this show to end as soon as possible. Boss Man and I.R.S. start with a lock-up to the corner, and I.R.S. with a knee to the midsection. Irish whip, and a criss cross leads to Boss Man tripping I.R.S. up. Whip to the corner, and I.R.S. with the over-sell. I.R.S. gets caught with a boot to the face, and a big roundhouse right. Earthquake tags in, and he wants Animal, apparently. Animal grabs a headlock, and a shoulder block doesn't do anything. Animal jumps into the arms of Quake and is quickly put down with a back breaker. Quake misses a splash, and Animal connects with a dropkick. Irish whip is reversed, but Animal comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle for a two count. Animal with a wristlock on I.R.S., and in comes Hawk to continue working the arm. I.R.S. rakes the eyes and tags out to Typhoon, who gets I.R.S. press slammed onto him. Hawk with an elbow drop for a two count. Typhoon gets caught in the wrong part of town as Hawk distracts the referee. Earthquake tags back in and powers Hawk into his teams corner, where the heels work Hawk over. Hawk counters an I.R.S. headlock with a back suplex, and connects with a jumping fist drop. Boss Man tags in and hammers away on I.R.S. Stuff happens, and I.R.S. grabs his briefcase, knocks Boss Man out with it, and covers for the three count at 6:23.
Typhoon hammers away on Animal, and throws him into the corner for some double teaming. Earthquake comes in without a tag and takes Animal over with a belly-to-belly suplex, for a two count. I.R.S. to the top and he comes off with a big fist, followed by a leg across the midsection and crotch. Animal, again, gets caught in the heels corner for some double teaming. Typhoon tags in and catches Animal in a bearhug. Whip to the corner, but Animal blocks a splash and clotheslines the big man down. Hawk gets the tag and he hammers on Typhoon with rights. Irish whip, and Hawk with a diving shoulder tackle. I.R.S. comes in to nail Hawk from behind. The briefcase comes in, but Hawk ducks it and Typhoon takes the hit. Hawk covers, and the three count is made at 9:55. Earthquake is pissed off at I.R.S. for missing, and decides to take the Count-Out, escorting his partner back to the ring, at 11:05.
Hawk with a dropkick to I.R.S., followed by a powerslam. Whip to the corner, but Hawk misses a charge and posts himself in the process. I.R.S. with a series of elbow drops, then dumps Hawk out of the ring, then follows him out and tosses Hawk into the ring steps. I.R.S. with a series of rights, and back in the ring, we go. Irish whip, and I.R.S. with a back elbow, then he goes to the reverse chinlock. Hawk escapes with elbows to the midsection, but a crappy collision spot just ruins the hot tag spot. I.R.S. pops back up for a suplex, but Hawk counters with his own, and NOW Animal gets the hot tag. Irish whip and diving shoulder to Irwin. Irish whip, and Animal takes him over with a powerslam. I.R.S. tries taking a hike, but Boss Man cuts off his escape route, and sends him back into the ring. Animal takes I.R.S. over with a suplex, and Hawk with a clothesline from the top rope for the three count at 15:21, making the Legion of Doom the Survivors of the match. * Match just had no real flow to it, and seemed rushed, for the obvious reasons. I don't understand putting this one last, but after looking at the rest of the show, what else would've? The WWF didn't let heels go over to end the show, for the most part, and the other Survivor matches wouldn't have made a good fit.
Final Thoughts: Well, the slippery slope continues, as this show manages to be worse than the years previous. The opening match was on its way to being a classic before being flushed down the toilet with one of the worst finishes I can think of for a Survivor Series match, the rest of the undercard was crap, and the World Title match sucked six ways from sunday. On top of all that, the Survivor Series felt more like a hype show for This Tuesday in Texas, with non-stop plugs, on-screen graphic flashes, and interviews hyping the show up. Strong Recommendation to Avoid this, but check out Tuesday in Texas. It's actually a pretty good show, for 1991 standards.