May 13, 2006
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero
November 23, 1989
Attendance: 15, 924
Buy Rate: 3.3
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura
1) The Dream Team: Dusty Rhodes (Virgil Runnels), Brutus Beefcake (Ed Leslie), Tito Santana (Merced Solis), & Red Rooster (Paul Taylor) defeat The Enforcers: Big Boss Man (Ray Traylor), Bad News Brown (Allen Coage), Rick Martel (Richard Vigneault), & Honky Tonk Man (Wayne Ferris)
Dusty Rhodes and Brutus Beefcake
Rick Martel pins Tito Santana at 9:14
Bad News Brown is counted out at 15:26
Brutus Beefcake pins Honky Tonk Man at 17:21
Brutus Beefcake pins Rick Martel at 20:12
Big Boss Man pins Red Rooster at 20:56
Dusty Rhodes pins Big Boss Man at 21:58
Fun Fact: Bad News Brown is replacing Akeem, who couldn’t make the show.
Fun Fact II: On the 7/22 Superstars, Dusty Rhodes came down and stole the Boss Man’s nightstick from Slick to prevent Boss Man from beating up his opponent with it after the match. Boss Man tried to get it back, but Rhodes then beat him up with the stick and took off with it.
Fun Fact III: During the match, an enthusiastic Dusty Rhodes fan is showed in the crowd, and mentioned by Gorilla. The fan was a plant, and would eventually be introduced as Sapphire and would be named Dusty’s manager in December.
Scott: The opener is a basic match with most of the combinations making sense. However, fresh off his Summerslam main event victory, what the hell is Beefer doing in this match? Wouldn’t he be on Hulk Hogan’s team? This is one of many combination questions we’ll analyze throughout this show. Rhodes is feuding with Boss Man, and he gets the final pin to end the feud…sort of. Boss Man handcuffs Rhodes to the ropes and pounds him with the nightstick. Santana and Martel continue their feud, and again Martel gets the best of poor Tito with a clean pin (and some tights pulled). Who’s Beefcake in this match for, Bad News? He gets whacked accidentally by Boss Man and for the second year in a row (although not mentioned by Gorilla or Jesse) walks out on his team. This was an energetic opener with some popular faces going over. Grade: 2
Justin: A fun opener to the 3rd Survivor Series sees Dusty Rhodes and Brutus Beefcake pick up the big win. Beefcake is on the hottest streak of his career at this point, as he was involved in Main Events and picking up big wins left and right. Dusty and Boss Man had a feud going and Dusty wins the battle but, as Scott said, Boss Man wins the war by beating on him after the match, and then cutting a good promo on him backstage. Martel and Santana continue to battle over the breakup of Strike Force, a common theme over the next 3 years. Martel, as usual, gets the best of Tito and picks up the elimination. Bad News is replacing Akeem here, and continues his character trend as a bad ass loner by walking out on his team again (and adding another loss without being pinned to his resume). The Rooster is on strict job status by this point, and would be gone by Wrestlemania. Honky is also on job status, but is still not on the Rooster’s level of true jobber. In fact, by early 1990, Honky would get a little boost when he forms a new tag team with another fading superstar. The energy was high in this match, and the crowd was hot for Rhodes and Beefcake, and the whole affair is quite enjoyable on a whole. Grade: 2.5
2) The King’s Court: Randy Savage (Randy Poffo), Greg Valentine (John Wisniski, Jr.), Dino Bravo (Adolfo Bresciano), & Canadian Earthquake (John Tenta) defeat The 4X4’s: Jim Duggan, Ron Garvin (Roger Barnes), Bret Hart & Hercules (Ray Fernandez)
Randy Savage, Dino Bravo, and Canadian Earthquake
Canadian Earthquake pins Hercules at 3:55
Jim Duggan pins Greg Valentine at 7:30
Dino Bravo pins Ron Garvin at 11:16
Randy Savage pins Bret Hart at 19:04
Jim Duggan is counted out at 23:20
Fun Fact: On the 11/11 Superstars, Dino Bravo wanted to have a feats of strength show and he held a pushup contest in the ring. The deal was to choose a fan from the crowd to sit on his back while he did push ups. They chose a very large man, named John who weighed 460 pounds. Bravo actually managed to do some push-ups with John on his back. The Ultimate Warrior them came out to also participate. As Warrior prepared, John proceeded to slam down on the Warrior’s back and squash him. Bravo and John then decimated Warrior and left the ring. John was dubbed “Canadian Earthquake” and joined up with Bravo in the Hart Family. He was not originally scheduled for this match, but was added at the last minute to replace the “Widow Maker” Barry Windham who was out having surgery. Windham had a short run in late 1989, but never made a PPV appearance.
Fun Fact II: On the 9/25 Superstars, Randy Savage defeated Jim Duggan to become the “King” of the WWF. After the match, which was won via the loaded purse, Savage nailed Duggan 3 times with the Flying Elbow, and that was followed by 2 splashes of the top from Sherri. Duggan was taken out on a stretcher as Savage celebrated. Savage would retain the “King” title until Wrestlemania VII.
Scott: Our next match, just like the first, has some strange combinations. Valentine was feuding with Garvin. Although Savage was still pseudo-feuding with Hogan & Beefcake, he had just defeated Duggan for the “King” crown. Bravo is with the new heel on the block, Canadian Earthquake. Soon the “Canadian” would be dropped from the name. On the babyface side, Bret Hart wrestles solo. Once again the WWF tests the waters with a Bret Hart solo push. Here he looks good when he’s in the ring, including a dream combo of Hart and Savage in the ring alone. Even Jesse gets Goosebumps when he mentions the caliber that match would be. Of course it would be scrapped for the time being again. Hercules is there to job, and he indeed does. His face run is slowly losing steam, and change is coming. Duggan continues to do two things that annoy me to no end. First, he cheats by using the 2X4. I probably would have accepted a Duggan heel turn soon. Yeah, right. Second, he again loses a match without being pinned. He gets counted out to finish his team off. What a fucking joke. Savage gets back on the winning track after losing two straight PPV matches. Grade: 2
Justin: A decent match here, as Duggan tries his best to gain revenge on Savage for stealing his crown and injuring him. Despite winning the Crown, Savage continues his descent into mediocrity, as he is no stuck firmly in mid-card feuds, something that would continue for the next year. For the second time in two years, Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart are temporarily split up to test the crowd reactions. Bret receives a great pop here, which is duly noted, but the timing for the breakup is still not right, thus the Harts are reunited shortly after this. Garvin and Valentine are still continuing their war that started in May, and the feud would finally be blown off at our next PPV event. Hercules is basically filler here, and he would float aimlessly into the new decade. As expected, Earthquake receives a big push and looks dominant during his time in the ring, squashing Hercules in under 4 minutes. Also, due to the Earthquake gimmick, Dino Bravo is pushed back up into relevant storylines, after seemingly fading from the picture after Wrestlemania. Bravo would ride the Quake wave for the next year and a half, which was a godsend for him. Savage, Quake and Bravo survive the match, but look kind of stupid, as Duggan is counted out after Sherri hit him outside the ring. A lame ending to a solid match, but the main points are established, with the most important being Earthquake’s dominance. Grade: 2
3) The Hulkamaniacs: Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea), Jake Roberts (Aurelian Smith, Jr.), Ax (Bill Eadie) & Smash (Barry Darsow) defeat The Million Dollar Team: Ted DiBiase, Zeus (Tony Lister), Warlord (Terry Szopinski) & Barbarian (Sionne Vailahi)
Zeus is disqualified at 3:21
Warlord pins Ax at 9:49
Barbarian pins Smash at 13:41
Warlord & Barbarian are disqualified at 19:44
Ted DiBiase pins Jake Roberts at 23:49
Hulk Hogan pins Ted DiBiase at 27:30
Fun Fact: Demolition regained the WWF Tag Team Titles from the Brainbusters on the 11/4 Superstars. The match was actually filmed on 10/2.
Fun Fact II: The push for the No Holds Barred feud was still in high gear, even though the film was out of theatres by the time this show rolled around. Vince, however, was set on making on last payday off of the movie, thus he began promoting a special PPV package deal for December 27th. If you ordered No Holds Barred on PPV, you would receive a special tag team cage match between Hogan & Beefcake and Savage & Zeus. The package did an overall buy rate of 1.6 which was decent enough for the time period, but surely not as high as Vince had hoped. By the time 1990 rolled around, Zeus disappeared from WWF TV and became nothing more than a trivia question in WWF history.
Scott: OK, so far we have seen Hulk Hogan pretty much come out on top in every PPV match since Wrestlemania. Except for Survivor Series in 1987 and Wrestlemania IV, he hasn’t lost a match. In those matches he wasn’t even pinned. It’s been Hulkamania 24/7, and of course we’ve all been happy. However, here in Chicago, it all changes. The real first kink in the Hulk Hogan armor is here, as he teams with the tag champs and the Snake against his old nemesis Ted DiBiase, his new nemesis Zeus, and Demolition’s old nemeses the Powers of Pain. Hogan and Zeus battle in the opening minutes, and Zeus is manhandling him. He tosses Earl Hebner twice, and gets disqualified. What the fuck was that? Jesse is flipping out, saying “The ref is protecting Hogan!!” After the POP takes out Demolition in consecutive falls, Hogan is getting pounded by them. During the double team, Hebner disqualifies both of them. WHAT!!!?!?!??! After so many matches of PPV double teams that referees look square in the eye at time and time again and ignore, this time the bell is called? Jesse at this point is irate, saying “HOGAN IS SAVED AGAIN!!!” One thing that always made Jesse Ventura’s commentating awesome, is his real life hate for wrestlers. It’s well documented that he despises Hogan. More and more his disdain for him grows. Here he sounds like he was about to jump in the ring and take him out. Was there really a need to disqualify 3 guys? Was there? The end is probably the worst offense. DiBiase slaps the Million Dollar Dream on Hogan, squeezing and cinching the move on for what seems like 3 minutes. Hogan finally tags Roberts but he’s hurt. Roberts gets pinned (continuing their feud) and DiBiase continues to work Hogan over. Now this isn’t the main event, and Hogan can sell the injury from the Dream. It really wouldn’t have hurt to let DiBiase take this one. Hogan’s not in the last match, he can still pose after the match if he wants. But NOOOOOOOOOO!! Hogan makes his comeback, hits the leg drop and wins the match. Then he does his customary poses. The entire match was an exercise in Hogan’s stroke. Not only did he get 3 heels out of the match without breaking a sweat, but he wins the match when he really didn’t need to. This is the first time we see Hogan starting to openly protect himself from reality. The crowds are still with him, but it is evident that fans are starting to like other superstars. That obviously worried Hogan, so he needed to make sure his night was a success. I’m surprised he allowed himself to not be the last match. Of course at the time you don’t think that. You cheer for Hogan to win and move on. Now, 16 years later you say “Would it hurt for DiBiase to win?” This match annoys you if you’re a Hogan fan, but drives you insane if you hate him (like my brother). As for Demolition, they’re the champs again. However they end up both laying down to the POP. Yet the POP didn’t get another title shot. So what was the point? After the match Hogan and Beefcake celebrate, but get jumped by Savage and Zeus. That sets up their December PPV cage match. This match had absolutely no logic to it, and booked to suck Hogan off since he didn’t get the main event. Since I’ve been watching these shows again, this was the first time I fast-forwarded Hogan’s post-match pose down. He didn’t deserve it. Grade: 1
Justin: OK, before I get into the meat of this, let us look at some other issues. Demolition was fresh off regained their prized tag titles, but reign number 2 would be their shortest, last just over two months. I agree with Scott here that the POP just seemed out of place. Their issue with Demolition was long since over, and it would have made more sense to stick the Brain Busters or Twin Towers in here. Not that big of a deal, but it just seemed out of place. Actually, what would have really made sense would be to put the Rockers in the opening match, put Beefcake and Duggan on Hogan’s team, and Savage on DiBiase’s team. Thus you now have Hogan, Beefcake, Roberts & Duggan facing off with Savage, Zeus, DiBiase & another mid card heel (Honky Tonk Man or Valentine), which places all of the intertwined feuds into one match. Savage still had issues with Hogan, Beefcake and Duggan, plus still had ties to Zeus. It makes no sense to put Zeus with DiBiase at all, especially with Savage in a different match. Even more confusing is that Savage and Beefcake were in totally different matches. If Vince really wanted to pimp the No Hold Barred package, the above match makes more sense. Just seemed so random, more than anything, especially since Demolition jobs clean to both POP, and then the POP never see another major title match. I will explain more below where I think Demolition would have fit better in this show. Now, let us move onto the mess that is the Hogan situation. I find it absolutely ricockulous that Hogan had to go over here. God, he honestly couldn’t just let DiBiase go over in a meaningless match. If Ted wins the match, he gets HUGE heat and you could have had a major rematch where Hogan goes over, but alas, God Forbid the great one loses. Hell, even Jake going over would have been a good change, and helped push the DiBiase-Roberts feud into overdrive. Jesse single-handedly carries this match by tearing Hogan and Hebner a new one when Dave/Earl DQ’d the Powers of Pain and Zeus for no reason. I’m actually surprised Hulk didn’t just pin all four of them, well three at least, because Zeus had to remain strong for that big Wrestlemania main event that never happened. As a final thought, even if HE just lost, he still could have beaten down DiBiase afterwards and posed for 10 minutes and gotten all his heat back. Argh. Grade: 1.5
4) Rude’s Brood: Rick Rude (Richard Rood), Mr. Perfect (Curt Hennig), Jacques Rougeau & Raymond Rougeau defeat Roddy’s Rowdies: Roddy Piper (Roderick Toombs), Jimmy Snuka (James Reiher), Bushwhacker Butch (Robert Miller) & Bushwhacker Luke (Brian Wickens)
Jimmy Snuka pins Jacques Rougeau at 4:01
Roddy Piper pins Raymond Rougeau at 7:39
Mr. Perfect pins Bushwhacker Luke at 10:44
Rick Rude pins Bushwhacker Butch at 12:14
Roddy Piper and Rick Rude are counted out at 18:36
Mr. Perfect pins Jimmy Snuka at 21:26
Fun Fact: On the 4/8 Superstars, the world witnessed the transformation of long time jobber “Leaping” Lanny Poffo into a brand new gimmick: the Genius. The poetry and effeminate actions were still there, but he was now a heel and would start to focus on managing instead of wrestling. The 5/15 Prime Time would mark the Genius’ in ring debut, but most of his appearances throughout the summer featured the Genius reading poetry about various current issues in the WWF, with his most prominent poem being read before the Main Event at Summerslam. Then, on the 10/7 Brother Love Show, Genius appeared and announced that he found a new protégé to manage: Mr. Perfect. This announcement was accompanied by the debut of Perfect’s theme music, a song that would become synonymous with him for the rest of his wrestling career.
Scott: An interesting combination here as two good singles heels and a fading heel tag team face 4 crazy faces. This is Piper’s first in-ring action since defeating Adrian Adonis in the “retirement” match at Wrestlemania III. He’s in pretty good shape and looks good in the ring. In fact the entire face team looks surprisingly good. As for the heels, it seems like a passing of the torch. Rude and Perfect are top notch heels going in opposite directions. Rude is slowly slipping down the heel ladder after losing the IC Title at Summerslam. Perfect however, is going up and up the ladder. He takes a pretty good beating in this match, but comes back and gets two pins. He survives till the end and plays his new music after the match. That theme will be his calling card for the rest of his WWF career. He also comes to the ring with The Genius (Lanny Poffo) for the first time. They will be a team from here on out. Piper and Rude continue their feud, as they battle down the aisle and get counted out. The Bushwhackers and Rougeaus even continue their feud, which goes back to their match at Wrestlemania. Again The Rougeaus are on the short end of the stick. Their time is slowly running out. Maybe the best match of the night on an energy and workrate level, and a big win for Perfect. Grade: 2.5
Justin: A fun match and breath of fresh air after the political mess of the last match. As shoddy as their technical skills are, Piper, Bushwhackers and Snuka are always fun to watch in the ring, and are usually pretty entertaining. Bushwhackers and the Rougeaus are continuing their year long on-and-off feud which finally culminate with the Rougeaus final match at our next PPV outing. Piper and Rude are blowing off their angle that started at Summerslam. They battled throughout the fall at various house shows, but this would seal the deal as far as TV goes. The blowoff of course is a double count out, but what more do you expect from Piper on PPV. Perfect has an excellent showing as always, and was the fast track to winning the Royal Rumble and the world title before Hogan stopped that (more on that in our next review). It was fun to see Perfect at his peak here, as him and Snuka put on a fun 5 minute match to finish off the contest. The heel team here is really one of the best pure wrestling heel combos in Survivor Series history, and if the Rougeaus weren’t so far down the tag team ladder, they could have been the most dominant foursome in the history of the event. The four men drew heat like mother fuckers and could all wrestle their asses of in the ring. On the contrary, the four men across the ring were great faces who could brawl with the best of them, and the resulting effect is a fun contrast in styles and a good survivor style matchup. As usual, Snuka gets pinned at the end, but nails the lackey (this time the Genius) with the Superfly Splash. The pre-match interview with Roddy’s Rowdies’ was one of the highlights of the whole show, so I suggest tracking it down as it is too bizarre and funny to describe. Grade: 2.5
5) The Ultimate Warriors: Ultimate Warrior (Warrior), Jim Neidhart, Marty Jannetty (Marty Oaks) & Shawn Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom) defeat The Heenan Family: Andre the Giant (Andre Rousimoff), Haku (Uliuli Fifita), Arn Anderson (Marty Lunde) & Bobby Heenan (Ray Heenan)
Andre the Giant is counted out at :27
Haku pins Jim Neidhart at 3:29
Bobby Heenan pins Marty Jannetty at 8:48
Arn Anderson pins Shawn Michaels at 15:36
Ultimate Warrior pins Arn Anderson at 18:16
Ultimate Warrior pins Bobby Heenan at 20:26
Fun Fact: Bobby Heenan is replacing Tully Blanchard, who was fired by the WWF just a day before the show for failing a drug test. He was set to go back to NWA Mid-Atlantic alongside Anderson, but when Jim Crockett found out about the failed test, Blanchard was fired immediately, and Anderson returned as a solo act.
Scott: Our main event is the ongoing battle between the Ultimate Warrior and the Heenan Family. This is obviously a test match to see if Warrior can get the crowd going on a main event level. Before we get to him, some other points. First, it is now plainly obvious that the end is near for the legendary Andre The Giant. He is counted out less than 30 seconds into the match. From a psychology perspective it was a good move, as it immediately put the heels behind the 8-ball. From a legacy perspective, it’s a sad example of how the great 8th Wonder Of The World is going off into the sunset. Andre would pick up one more line on his resume before calling it a day. The action during the match wasn’t bad, as Arn, Haku and The Rockers are all good workers who put on a pretty good show. With Tully not there, Arn and Haku had to do the work of 1 and a half people each. Heenan played the cowardly heel to the T, as he would tag in when the face was down, then if the face made a comeback he would tag one of his other guys in. In the case of when it was just he and AA, The Enforcer would get a 5 second breather before having to bail out his manager. Towards the end Arn actually started arguing with Heenan. It would have been sweet to see Arn face out, but it would be his last moment in the WWF for a long time. Arn would return to The Carolina’s and continue a very lucrative career. His next WWF PPV appearance wouldn’t be until 2002. As for Heenan, he ends up being all alone with Warrior, and we know where that goes. Warrior definitely got the crowd wrapped up in a frenzy, so it’s safe to say his first main event chance was a success. If only they all went that way for him. A decent main event with some good action and a predictable ending. Grade: 2
Justin: A pretty solid match Story wise, as well as wrestling wise. The way Andre was eliminated was pretty much the ending that was making the rounds on the house show circuit, where Andre spent all of late-’89 trying his hardest to make Warrior a star. A fun match that sees Warrior finally get his hands on Heenan, and boy, does he ever make him pay. You can tell Arn was on his way out the door, as he looks pretty disinterested, but still manages to put on a solid wrestling clinic. I like the way they ran the Heenan story throughout the last half of the show, by having him not come out with Rick Rude and having Jesse and Gorilla sell his absence by claiming there was “major dissention” in the Heenan Family. That dissention was, of course, Tully Blanchard being turfed from the Fed just a few days before the show. The portions where the Rockers face off with Arn and Haku are really fun and those parts help carry this match quite a bit. Going back to my team rearranging ideas from above, I would have inserted Demolition here in place of the Rockers, as they had a feud with the Brain Busters going and were about to start feuding with Andre and Haku. Would have made a little more sense and helped further angles, but it isn’t that big of a deal, as the match was still good and is a decent ending to a decent show. Grade: 2
Scott: This is the first time the teams have nicknames, and it adds to the unity of the teams. The combinations are a bit strange, but it doesn’t take away from any of the action. Hulk Hogan’s antics in his match are off the charts, but the fan base doesn’t turn on him yet. No one really noticed it at the time in 1989, but looking back you can see the protection he gives himself. Poor DiBiase couldn’t even get a simple worthless Survivor match. It would have re-built his already shunted down confidence. On the other side of the coin the Ultimate Warrior is growing in popularity, and is set to begin the greatest year of his career. Demolition is back on top of the tag team division, but would drop the straps soon to a legend who wanted one more shot in the sun. The 80’s have ended, and there were plenty of great moments and superb matches. With Vince McMahon’s focus on large muscular physiques, there weren’t that many standout PPV matches. We soon change that philosophy and the product gets much better, even though the popularity may dip. The World Wrestling Federation would enjoy great heights in the early part of the 90’s, but would soon see a huge drop-off (to the point of almost-bankruptcy) before jumping back on top again. The glory days of the 80’s are over. There have been highs and lows. This show is about in the middle. Final Grade: C
Justin: OK…I hope you’re ready, because I have a lot to say here. I don’t really hate Hogan as much as it comes across in the above paragraphs; HOWEVER, I get pretty upset thinking about how many guys he held down during this specific time frame. During his run from 1985-1988, I agree with feeding heel after heel to him and letting him go virtually undefeated, but, as 1989 rolled around, the pops were diminishing, as well as buy rates, attendance and gates. It was a time to start pushing some younger talent so Vince would have some guys to carry the Fed into the 90’s. He pushed the Warrior correctly, but look at the MAJOR problem he has in 1990 when he had NO heels to challenge him, thus the Warrior’s title reign would be a waste and a bust, because he had to real challengers and no real feuds. If Vince would have spent the months leading up to Warrior’s reign by putting over his younger, stronger heels, the Warrior could have had heels to feud with, like Hogan did. During ’89, Hogan made sure to bury at LEAST Savage, Perfect and DiBiase. Now, the following is opinion, but I think it is based in fact. Hogan made sure Savage was bumped down the ladder after WM V because he knew he couldn’t hold a candle to him in the ring. He siphoned off of Savage’s heat and ability for a year, then maneuvered himself to get the title back, and ensure Savage knew his role by burying him in every encounter that they had between Wrestlemania V and Wrestlemania VII (when Savage “retired”). Ted DiBiase was probably the least affected by Hogan, but as I explained above, Hogan could have shot DiBiase back into the event atmosphere by just putting him over at this event, in a non-title 8-man, USELESS match. DiBiase was screwed more by Honky Tonk Man in 1988 and never recovered (well, he still had awesome matches and feuds, but was never a title threat again). The guy who lost the most was Mr. Perfect. The guy was on the fast track to the championship and a major win as 1990 began, but we will get further into that in our next review. Overall, this was an OK show with one highlight being that this was the first time WWF came up with catchy names for each team (Rude’s Brood baby!). A major problem with this show was that it didn’t blow-off any feuds (besides Warrior-Heenan), yet none of the ones that were continued really went anywhere in the months following. Piper-Rude, Rhodes-Boss Man, Duggan-Savage and Hogan-Zeus were all dropped. The only two that really went forward were Garvin-Valentine and Jake-DiBiase. This is just one of those PPVs that aren’t worth seeking out, but if you have it, it is a great way to kill 3 hours. All of the big names of the late 80s/early 90s are here and in prominent roles. The Survivor style match was not yet stale, so there is some good crowd heat throughout the show. The big story here is the push of the Ultimate Warrior into the Main Event slot over Hulk Hogan, who was seemingly being groomed for the Main Event picture. By the way, sorry Hulkster…I still love ya…but do a FUCKING JOB!!! Final Grade: C
MVP: Ultimate Warrior (starting his build)
Runner Up: Ted DiBiase (for being a good soldier)
Non MVP: Hulk Hogan (for not giving the rub)
Runner Up: Jim Duggan (can't lose clean to 3 guys)