September 7, 2006
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero

This Tuesday in Texas
December 3, 1991
Freeman Coliseum
San Antonio, Texas
Attendance: 8,000
Buy Rate: 1.0
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan

Dark Matches

1. Ron & Don Harris defeated Brian Costello & Brian Donahue
2. Sir Charles (Charles Wright) defeated Dale Wolfe
3. Chris Walker defeated Brian Lee
4. Chris Chavis defeated J.W. Storm
5. Ric Flair (Richard Fliehr) defeated Roddy Piper (Roderick Toombs)

Actual Show

1) Bret Hart defeats Skinner (Steve Keirn) to retain WWF Intercontinental Title with a Sharpshooter at 13:46

Scott: Our first match of this “experimental” PPV is a solid title defense for a new stud on the block. Bret comes out and does the right thing by letting the more experienced Skinner dictate the tempo. Now, I know it sounds like Bret is a rookie when he’s been wrestling for almost 12 years. However, wrestling some nobody in Stampede and Steve Keirn at a WWF PPV are obviously two different things. Bret was still learning the big time style of a WWF singles star. Obviously it didn’t take him long, but one thing he did that most singles competitors don’t do at a younger age is let their older opponents dictate tempo. This match is much better when you look at it than you think it would look on paper. Skinner played a good heel, beating down Bret with simple strikes and short submission holds. Bret makes a nice comeback after kicking out of Skinner’s neckbreaker finisher, and hooks in the Sharpshooter for the win. Solid title defense for the Hitman, but his 1992 would start off with an unexpected roadblock. Grade: 2.5

Justin: A pretty solid match to open the show and to build up Bret’s resume as a fighting champion who would not duck anyone. These matches work well, because Bret could work with ANYONE and have a good match, and when his opponent is credible and a good worker, then the match is that much better. Skinner is a pretty solid and underrated worker, so this match ends up being a pretty good opener. The fans were really into Bret at this time, so him putting on a solid 13 minute defense got them geared up for the rest of the show. A fun and basic match that still shows pure wrestling can get over when you do it right. Grade: 2.5

2) Randy Savage (Randy Poffo) defeats Jake Roberts (Aurelian Smith, Jr.) with an elbow off the top rope at 6:24

Scott: The long-awaited blow-off match to one of the hottest feuds in quite some time is a short, but very intense match. Savage wrestles his first match since Wrestlemania, and he’s full of piss and vinegar as he laying the beatdown on the man who’s been terrorizing he and his wife Elizabeth. He wins the match with his trademark, but it doesn’t end there. Soon after, Roberts drops a DDT out of nowhere and starts laying the beatdown with another DDT and some kicks. Elizabeth comes in to try and protect her man, while Roberts grabs a bag and a glove, presumably to take out another cobra. Jack Tunney, who’s been in more storylines in the past 2 months than in the previous 6 years of PPV, barred any reptiles from ringside. Jake was obviously breaking that, but a cobra was never actually shown. Then, the most heinous act a heel in the WWF at that time could possibly do. With Savage practically out from the multiple DDT’s, Roberts stands Elizabeth up, berates her nose to nose, and smacks her across the cheek. The fans are stunned, and Gorilla sounds like he wants to hop right out of his chair and nail him. Damn, Jake truly knew how to get over as a sadistic, nasty, awesome heel. Mean Gene Okerlund was so disgusted he cut off the post-match interview. Savage responded later in his usual crazed tone. This feud was off the charts, and would continue into the New Year. The match could have been longer with less post-match activity, but it all worked out in the end. Grade: 2

Justin: After a lengthy sabbatical from the ring, the long awaited return of the Macho Man Randy Savage takes place on a Tuesday night deep in the heart of Texas. This feud had been simmering since August when Roberts and the Undertaker crashed the Savages’ wedding reception, but since that time, all of the action has taken place outside of the ring, or, outside of a match setting, anyway. Now, for the first time, these two men faced off one on one, and it was a quick one. Savage destroys Jake and crushes him with his patented flying elbow in under 7 minutes, but as the battle ended, the war just began. Roberts assaults Savage after the match, lays him out and then manhandles Elizabeth. The crowd is pissed, along side everyone else watching, and Jake has now become the most hated man in the WWF. This feud would rage on into the New Year with Savage vowing revenge. The match itself is nothing, but that was secondary to the epic storytelling and post match activities, which was a great way to continue a white-hot blood feud. Grade: 2.5

3) The British Bulldog (David Smith) defeats the Warlord (Terry Szopinski) with a Crucifix at 12:47

Fun Fact: This is the Warlord’s final PPV match. He is in the 1992 Royal Rumble, but as far as regular matches go, he is done. His final record is 4-10. He was 0-4 at the Royal Rumble, 0-2 at Wrestlemania, 2-1 at Summerslam and 2-3 at Survivor Series.

Scott: The Wrestlemania re-match is a great battle of two power men. Bulldog is slowly starting to build a following as a solo competitor, and he’s busting his ass to make an impression. He defeated Warlord with a big comeback in the first match in LA, and here the formula is roughly the same. The first few minutes went back and forth, then the Warlord got the advantage and eventually slapped on his full nelson. Gorilla harped on the fact that Warlord’s fingers were not clasped and that he was using Bulldog’s hair for leverage. Excellent analysis and emphasis to detail, as well as Heenan’s blowing it off. Gorilla has made a nice conversion from a no-nonsense partner like Jesse Ventura to a comedic foil like Bobby Heenan. Bulldog gets out of the full nelson, and after some back and forth action Bulldog executes a perfect crucifix for the win. Bulldog ends 1991 on a high note, and continues his rise to WWF superstar. The Warlord, well, he continues his wading in the mid-card pool. Grade: 2

Justin: A pretty solid match that is a bit better than their Wrestlemania affair. These two usually worked well together, and their story stayed pretty interesting throughout 1991. Bulldog would eventually be groomed for better things, but the Warlord had one foot out the door at this point and would be gone early into 1992. It is too bad, because he had a great look and could have been a solid heel foil for Hogan over the summer for a brief feud. These two work stiff and put on a good display of power moves before Bulldog catches Warlord in a crucifix for the pin. The finish was sort of a nod to their Wrestlemania match, as Bulldog tried a crucifix in that match, but got dropped on by the Warlord. Continuity and psychology…who would have thunk it? Grade: 2

4) Ted DiBiase & Repo Man (Barry Darsow) defeat Virgil (Mike Jones) & El Matador (Merced Solis) when DiBiase pins Virgil after a Repo Man knee to the kidney at 11:16

Fun Fact: Repo Man is a re-packaged Barry Darsow, formerly Smash of Demolition. He had some hilarious skits where he went around repossessing random objects from random people while cackling his now cult-like catchphrase “What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine too!”

Fun Fact II: Ted DiBiase regained his Million Dollar Belt at the Survivor Series Showdown, about 10 days before this, with the help of the recently debuted Repo-Man, who smacked Virgil in the head with the belt. That set up this tag match.

Scott: A solid tag team affair to prelude the main event. DiBiase, back as Million Dollar Champion teams with the new character of Repo Man, to take on the slowly fading Virgil and El Matador. Not much to say here, as the action is fairly rudimentary. DiBiase was not having the best year in-ring wise, as his partying and drug-taking was reaching its zenith. By 1992 his days as a singles competitor were over. Repo Man helps cheat to get his team the win, but he pretty much floats around the lower mid-card from here on out. Obviously Barry Darsow was a loyal Vince employee, so instead of firing him when Demolition ended he was given another character. Virgil is pinned, and now is a glorified jobber. El Matador, hell I’m calling him Tito Santana, will be the first feud for a fresh singles competitor in 1992, one that will make a mark in WWF history. Grade: 2.5

Justin: This match featured four guys headed in different directions. Virgil’s 15 minutes of fame were up, and he would spend the next 2 years as a jobber to the stars, until he would eventually jump ship during the height of the Monday Night Wars. Tito Santana was cannon fodder himself at this point and was just used to put over up and coming heels, which was a perfectly fine role for him. Repo-Man had just made his debut and is given a solid push through 1992, and is used as a serviceable hand until he too heads South in late 1993. DiBiase was pretty much done as a singles star and is treading water until February 1992 when he would get a good career boost and also get his life back on tract. The match itself is decent enough, but is here more to fill time than anything else. Hope you enjoyed your year at the top, Virgil, because it has ended with a thud. Grade: 2.5

5) Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea) defeats the Undertaker (Mark Callaway) to win WWF World Title with a roll-up at 13:09

Fun Fact: To make sure no shenanigans go on in this match, WWF President Jack Tunney sat at ringside.

Scott: The Survivor Series re-match is another slow, methodical title match. Now we saw what happened at Survivor Series. Hogan is screwed by Ric Flair sliding a chair into the ring and Taker Tombstoning Hogan on it. The crowd clearly was mixed by the decision. Hogan’s kingdom is definitely showing signs of crumbling. So in the re-match he cheats to win. Now he’s done it in the past and the crowd didn’t mind (Summerslam 1989). Here, both Ric Flair and Jack Tunney are knocked out as the ref’s attention is diverted. Hogan hits Paul Bearer and gets the urn. He grabs a handful of ashes, tosses them into Taker’s eyes, and rolls Taker up for the win. Even at his best, when did Hogan ever win a match that cheap? What the hell is going on here? I really couldn’t tell you what was going on in Vince McMahon’s or Hulk Hogan’s head right now. This has become such a mess, and it could really be simple. Ric Flair is in the WWF. He and Hulk Hogan could be a money-making war. It was so very simple. Instead they come up with this convoluted storyline with someone who’s been in the WWF for a year and is already champ, then take him out in 6 days? Bizarre, and thank god by the beginning of 1992 they find a way to make everyone happy including the fans, but more on that in our next review. So Hogan wins the title, but Jack Tunney ended up seeing Hogan cheat using the ashes. So does Hogan keep the title? Stay tuned. Taker is pretty bulletproof already and this match doesn’t hurt him. Hogan is also clearly losing some muscle mass, a sign that the big, muscular giants that we’re used to seeing are slowly going to the backburner in favor of smaller, athletic stars. It’s not prevalent now, but within a year things look very different. For now, Hogan is champ again and not many care. Grade: 2.5

Justin: What a fucking mess. Sure, I understand Vince wanted to pop a rating by having a huge title rematch at this show, but…I don’t know…what a fucking mess. Hogan has become a pathetic shell of his former self, clawing for anything and clutching his fading kingdom as tight as he can. The winds of change are blowing the WWF, and the clear cut faces aren’t universally loved any more. Ric Flair is in town and had his supporters. Bad ass heels like Jake Roberts and Undertaker were getting some love too. On the face side, Roddy Piper was as hot as ever, Bret Hart was gaining steam and Randy Savage was back in the mix too. Plus, there was the wild card. A new face who the fans had been clamoring to see climb to the top: Sid Justice. For the first time in well over a year, since the heyday of the Ultimate Warrior, Hogan had some competition for the fans’ love at the top of the card, only this time, Hogan’s power plays over destroying every heel on his way down the mountain didn’t work so well, as there were too many hot, unkillable stars in his way. Hogan’s clock is ticking…the sands are running through the hourglass and when the clock hits midnight, he would ride off into the sunset, positive he would be missed by fans around the world and Vince would be begging him to come back and save the day. One half of that prediction comes true…but we will save that story for another day. This match is OK, but the stank surrounding it drags it down a few notches. It was cool seeing Jack Tunney so involved in the storyline, but he should have just fired Hogan and saved everyone a lot of trouble. Grade: 2

FINAL ANALYSIS:

Scott: This experiment of a mid-week PPV had a good variety of matches and storyline twists, but was largely a failure in terms of buy rates. I don’t think people were quite ready to pay for more than the “big four” at that point in time. It wouldn’t be for another 4 years before we think of monthly PPVs. As for the show itself, it’s not bad all-around. What sucks is that one of the dark matches that didn’t air was Ric Flair vs. Roddy Piper. Who wouldn’t want to see that? Very strange they didn’t put that on there for everyone to see. The WWF is in a strange state because it seems the best characters right now are heels (Jake Roberts, Ric Flair, and Undertaker). It actually seems very Jim Crockett-ish. I’m not saying that some of the big babyfaces like Randy Savage or Bret Hart are failing. It’s just the feuds right now are red-hot because the heels are being extra creative at being good bad guys. I think it’s the addition of Ric Flair to the roster. He’s such a worker when it comes to character development and getting the fans to hate you, as well as getting the babyfaces over even more. The show itself wasn’t bad, but the concept of secondary PPVs wasn’t the best idea at that point in time. No harm, no foul. The year in wrestling 1991 started sluggish but picked up after the summer and now things are cooking with new faces and red-hot storylines. Hulk Hogan, however, is still trying to live in 1985, and it’s slipping away. Final Grade: C+

Justin: Vince actually held this show as a test for weekly PPVs (predating TNA by 11 years), but after the attendance and buy rate weren’t so hot, he decided to turf the idea. They really didn’t have the depth or writing to carry weekly pay-per-views at that point, so it all worked out for the best. The show itself is decent, with a couple of good matches and some good happenings story-wise, so, historically speaking, the show has some meaning to it. Overall, it is probably better that Survivor Series was, and for customers at the time, it was a much better deal, as I believe it was only $20. In essence, it was a precursor of not only TNA, but also the original two hour In Your House concept. The main significance of this show is the erosion of the Orange Kingdom, as Hogan is getting more and more desperate as the months roll by. Things were bad here, but they are about to get a whole lot nastier as the calendar changes. New and fresh stars will dominate the next year, and for as good as 1991 was, 1992 is just that much better. When 1991 started, the Ultimate Warrior was still on top of the mountain, Sgt. Slaughter was a major heel, Randy Savage was on his way into retirement and Hulk Hogan was about to retake control of his kingdom. 12 months later, and the WWF has been turned completely upside down. Grade: C+

MVP: Randy Savage & Jake Roberts
Runner Up: Bret Hart
Non-MVP: Hulk Hogan
Runner Up: Undertaker (victim of circumstance)

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