Induction: Survivor Series 1991: A $25 Infomercial For A Show That Grossed 25% Of The Revenue

41 Submitted by on Thu, 09 May 2013, 19:00

 WWF, 1991 (duh)

by Emerson Witner

A few months ago my brother texted me and wondered when I was going to induct Survivor Series 1991. At first I explained that a.) It’s not my site and b.) Survivor Series 1991 wasn’t that bad. He replied back that RD never writes anymore inductions (note from RD: more to come once I finish with the Death of WCW 10th Anniversary!) anyway and that it is mostly Art O’Donnell these days.

Well he didn’t really say that, but he did reply that the whole point of the pay per view was to make people buy another pay per view 6 days later. Yes, that was all it took to persuade me.

 

History lesson children. Thanksgiving Eve 1991 was the day I became a wrestling fan. Huddled around our giant floor tv I sat down and gleefully watched…a tape of the 1990 Royal Rumble. Bushwackers vs Rougeau Brothers, Brother Bruti vs The Genius, Ron Garvin vs Greg Valentine, Bossman vs Duggan and, of course, Hulk Hogan winning his first Rumble match. I was hooked! Over the next 22 years, and counting, I gave WWE, WCW and, to a lesser extent TNA and ECW, a small fortune as I bought t-shirts, videos, books, toys, the WWF Popcorn Tin. Hell even my relatives bought me t-shirts, videos, books, toys and, yes, the WWF Popcorn Tin. Seriously I think I got that as a gift like 5 or 6 times and the popcorn always burnt.

Anyway this fortune may have gone to something else (a worthwhile charity, the complete Doctor Who series, the bank) if instead the first thing I watched was Survivor Series 1991.

 

The show kicks off with footage from Superstars the previous weekend with the famous angle where Jake Roberts had his cobra bite Randy Savage. This angle was very cool then and even now in retrospect. Sure I sure as hell wouldn’t have let a snake bite me (Jake couldn’t get the damn thing off of Randy), but that’s why he was a Macho Man.

 

Anyhoo, this leads to WWF’s El Presidente, Comrade Tunney, to announce that because of that he is going to lift Randy Savage’s lifetime suspension and book a match against Jake Roberts on pay per view!!!!!

Now is this epic battle between good and evil going to be on the show you just paid 25 dollars to watch? I mean Sid Justice was injured, so Jake Roberts team had a 4-on-3 advantage on the Big Bossman and LOD.

Of course not! This match would be booked for “This coming Tuesday night in Texas”. Furthermore, Jake Roberts actions were so disgusting, that Mr. President couldn’t allow him to compete at the Survivor Series, so Jake Roberts, who was in a headline match, was pulled from the show after WWF already got your money. 

 

Welp, one cannot grieve forever. Plus we have a mostly awesome looking opener! Ric Flair, Ted DiBiase, The Mountie and The Warlord vs Bret Hart, Roddy Piper, Virgil and British Bulldog. A lot of either excellent workers, or people that could be good when in with the right person.

The match moved along fine, with Bulldog and Warlord hitting the showers early on…but then it slowed down into a 6-man tag. A lot of tags, a bunch of action as the crowd waited for an elimination.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

 

Finally the referee literally walked over and gave both teams their cue, which led to a giant, 5-man brawl in the ring. Ric Flair was knocked outside the ring by Roddy Piper (both men were the legal men) and was declared the winner after the referee disqualified everyone else.

No really, of all the fuck finishes they could come up with. Piper was the legal man in the ring, so let’s disqualify him because everyone else ran in. Bret was IC Champion, they could have made a new challenger. Nope. Mountie was a midcard comedy act, so he couldn’t lose. Ted DiBiase was really doing nothing and Virgil was on the downswing of his push. Obviously all these people needed to be protected.

 

Hey, he is too injured to wrestle, but not injured enough to show up at the arena, get dressed in his gear and cut a live promo. Savage claimed to be Delirious. Hmmmm…..you know I never saw the resemblance before now. 

 

 

No Randy Savage, but we do get this match! A bevy of WrestleCrap as Sgt. Slaughter (who turned his back on America to join Iraq and then turned his back on Iraq to join America), Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Kerry Von Erich On Coke and El Matador did battle with Col. Mustafa (Iron Sheik-who turned his back on Iran to join Iraq), The Berzerker, Skinner and Hercules Of All People. 

When you look at some of the shitty four man teams in Survivor Series history, these two teams are high on the list. Actually Big Bully Busick was supposed to be on the heel team, but was injured/quit the WWF and Rick Steamboat was supposed to be on the face team, but he also quit the WWF and was already WCW Tag Team Champion at this point. Good for him.

While re-watching this match I spent too much time day dreaming and wondering about… 

a.) Why did we readily take back Sgt. Slaughter so easily after he double crossed America and then double crossed Iraq?

b.) Why did Saddam Hussein care so much about Slaughter conquering the WWF?

c.) Did Saddam give Randy Savage money to help Slaughter win the WWF Title?

d.) Why didn’t The Iron Sheik do promo’s begging Iran to take him back?

These things were much more entertaining than the match, as the baby face team did a clean sweep of their heel foes. Berzerker should have just went after them with his sword.

 

Jake Roberts may be suspended, but he gets to cut a live promo too! Thankfully Savage is a gentleman and respects the rules of the WWF and allowed his hated rival to cut a promo and not go try to get revenge right then and there. 

Up next was the….MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIINNNNNNNNNNN EVENT! Yes, third on the card. Turns out The Demon wasn’t so special now, was he?

 

Anyhoo, it was The Gravest Challenge as Hulk Hogan defended the WWF Title against the undefeated (unless you went to house shows or watched the MSG channel) Undertaker. 

Look at that picture again:

 

Hogan looks constipated and Undertaker borrowed Sheamus’ tanning bed.

 

The build to this match apparently featured Ric Flair showing Hulk Hogan his penis, while Paul Bearer stood by and could only watch.

The match was so physically exhausting that Hogan wasn’t even sweating until halfway through the match. Down sauntered Ric Flair, who was there just to show the timekeeper his championship belt. Hogan didn’t like that, so he went and beat up Ric.

Flair then placed a steal chair in the ring, which Undertaker gave Hogan a Tombstone on to win the title.

Now this finish has caused controversy. No, not the “OHMAGAWD Hogan got cheated out of the title” controversy, but that Hogan claimed for years that Undertaker dropped him head first on the chair. Undertaker never bothered to WATCH THE FOOTAGE, which would SHOW THAT HOGAN’S HEAD NEVER CAME CLOSE TO THE DAMN CHAIR, and felt bad about it for years until someone bothered to show it to him.

 

In this conveniently placed red box, I show you exactly how much space there was between Hogan’s head and the chair.

Welp, one cannot grieve forever (I feel like I said that already), so we took Intermission and then came back with a barn burner! Nasty Boys and the Beverly Brothers vs The Bushwackers and The Rockers!

 

This match was boring. I fell asleep. The fans fell asleep. Gorilla and Bobby were too poor to pay attention. 

This match was at the start of the Rockers’ breakup, so towards the end of the match Marty picked up one of the Nasty Boys, who accidentally kicked Shawn in the head. Shawn was then pinned and eliminated. Shawn and Marty argued a bit before Michaels returned to the locker room.

 

Now that’s fine. I watched it. You read about it. You may have even seen it happen yourself. Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan, the men getting paid to watch the show and do live running commentary, didn’t watch and had no idea. 

Gorilla and Bobby told a different story. They told everyone that Shawn turned his back on his partner and left to be counted out. Now if this was 2013 and Michael Cole said it, there would be a brief period of silence as Vince chewed Michael out and we would watch a replay as Cole corrected himself.

But in 1991, Vince was also asleep and didn’t bother to tell his crack announce team what really happened or even have them watch the replay. Gorilla and Bobby continued talking about it for the rest of not only this match, but the entire show as well.

After that match an announcement that the match you paid 25 dollars for 25 minutes earlier would be re matched in 6 days on a special half price pay per view! Yes! Undertaker vs Hulk Hogan in a rematch on This Tuesday In Texas! More on that in a minute.

 

This brings us to the fast paced and incredibly exciting final match as Big Bossman and Legion Of Doom faced IRS and the Natural Disasters. Yes, this match really finished a pay per view. 

Much like the prior match, the fans didn’t care, I didn’t care and the announcers talked about how Shawn Michaels turned his back on Marty Jannetty. If I didn’t know any better they just replayed the commentary track from the previous match.

Plus we got more fuck finishes!

 

Bossman was pinned with a briefcase shot!

 

Typhoon was pinned with a briefcase shot!

 

Earthquake walked off figuring he would be pinned with a briefcase shot next.

 

And IRS tried to walk off for the count out, but Bossman came back into consciousness and pointed at IRS to make him get back into the ring, where he was pinned by the LOD. There is no truth to the rumor that Earthquake and Typhoon were also on their way, but were just too damn slow.

LOD got 10 seconds or so to celebrate before Impact broke out as we went TO THE BACK! Undertaker cut a promo about Tuesday In Texas to end the pay per view.

 

The show was bad enough, but then they basically told you that this show wasn’t the important one, you should buy the following week’s show. 

Let’s skip to the future and see how this played out, shall we?

Tuesday in Texas was half the length of Survivor Series (90 minutes), cost half the money (12.95) and at the end of the day did half of the buy rate (140,000 buys for TTIT, 280,000 for SS). So WWF made one of their Big Four pay per views a throw away infomercial for a show that did 25% of the revenue.

In case you still aren’t sure, I made this very official looking and very convincing graph to show you!

 

Hey, if WWE Financial Reports have taught me anything, it’s that graphs don’t lie!

Written by

Emerson Witner is the NXT reporter for both F4WOnline.com and AngryMarks.com. He can also be found contributing to Bad Movie Month, which returns on March 1 at BadMovieMonth.Tumblr.com . If you have any questions, comments, concerns or emotional outbursts, you can reach him at ewitner@yahoo.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/krazy.e.man or by following him on Twitter @TheReallyRealEW
41 Responses to "Induction: Survivor Series 1991: A $25 Infomercial For A Show That Grossed 25% Of The Revenue"
  1. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    This Tuesday In Texas is actually the better show, funnily enough.

  2. cobra says:

    I was 10 years old when this show happpened. I actually was at the event. This was the first WWF pay-per view i ever attended. Now I feel proud, I’ve been to an officially inducted Wrestlecrap.

  3. John says:

    Anytime you had a snoozer like the 1,000,000th Bulldog-Warlord match you knew crap was a plenty. It almost made you wish for another Dino Bravo-Hercules epic clash of resthold wars.

  4. JM says:

    Graphs don’t lie, but you may want to ask Scott Steiner to deconstruct those numbers for a further guarantee.

  5. Iron Mike Bacon says:

    This taking place during the Steroid trials, the company had their heads up their collective asses. It’s a shame. There was so much talent on this card that if they booked it properly, it could’ve been a classic survivor series PPV. They could’ve easily subbed in Macho for Sid and teased the TNIT match against Jake by having them in limited but meaningful action until Jake escaped and Savage chasing him leading to a double CO. They also could’ve saved Sarge’s face turn for Survivor Series to make that craptastic match have some value and feature Sarge going pro-America on a bigger stage than some random vignette on WWF Superstars. I could go on for days. I’m glad this PPV was inducted. Nice work.

  6. Bill "Wild Legend" Davis says:

    As you watched wrestling throughout the mid to late 1980s, and dreamed about certain “dream matchups” between the Big Two, did you ever think that the first Pay-Per-View featuring Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair would some day be called “wrestlecrap”?

    The whole thing proves that, as brilliant as Vince can be with innovative ideas, he has no clue how to handle an easy money angle.

  7. Marty Monger says:

    VINCE-”We really need you to put this guy over to bring him to the next level as we feel he’s a keeper”
    HULK-”Alright Vince if you think it’s good for Buisness Brother”
    VINCE-”It is and then when he’s established as a major heel you can beat him for the title and you’ll be more over than ever we’re thinking wrestlemania main event here”
    HULK-”How about next week instead Brother that’s what works for me”

  8. Down With OPC says:

    The Survivor Serieseses in Detroit usually turn out to be not so good. See also ’99 and 2005.

  9. Michael Stamp says:

    I love the way that in the graphic Hulk is actually TALLER than the Undertaker.

    Good work Hulky

  10. Alan says:

    Funny that Tuesday In Texas ended up being a big setup for Royal Rumble ’92 since Hogan ended up being stripped of the WWF Title. Actually, RR ’92 was a great event. Anyhow, great induction, and I remember how annoying the 1,000,000 plugs were for Tuesday In Texas, even on the Anthology DVD.

  11. I'm Not Using My Real Name says:

    I was 9 years old when this took place. I had never been able to get my parents to order Survivor Series because it fell on a holiday and we were always busy. 1991 was the first year it moved to Thanksgiving eve, and after bugging them over and over again they finally said we could order it.

    Then when they heard their was another PPV the very next week… not a chance.

  12. Matt Soileau says:

    Great job, E!

  13. Escape says:

    Love this show. Still so much fun to watch, as I remember the build and excitement for it so well. You forgot to mention the single best line of the entire PPV. When the team graphics are shown for the Slaughter-Mustafa teams, Heenan says something along the lines of “It looks like death row!” Still makes me double over to this day. Even seeing that graphic above has me cracking up right now.

  14. Brian "the brother who pursuaded Emerson to write this introduction" says:

    THANK YOU. The reason for the recommendation was that I found it pretty fucked up that they made this big build to hogan and taker, mentioned it every minute multiple times, and it was the 3RD MATCH!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Not sure if Russo was in WWE/F back then but I still blame him.

  15. Emerson Witner says:

    ^That really is my brother.

  16. Brad says:

    The fact that the Survivor Series matchups were complete clusterfucks in this event was probably one of the reasons that they temporarily did away with the concept for the 1992 edition.

    • Mike says:

      Wasn’t it like one Survivor Series match with a stipulation that if one tag partner was eliminated the other had to leave as well?

  17. Rose Harmon says:

    Kerry Von Erich On Coke! LOLZ!

    • outlawtotheend says:

      Where I’m from, we’re taught not to speak ill of the dead. Even crap has a line. Just sayin’

  18. Jeremy says:

    “The build to this match apparently featured Ric Flair showing Hulk Hogan his penis, while Paul Bearer stood by and could only watch.”

    I laughed at that part the most, though it was a great induction overall. Ah the days of Ric Flair proclaiming himself as the REAL World’s Champion while they ‘viewer distorted’ his big gold belt.

    And yes, This Tuesday in Texas, that was really the best name they could come up with? Its no wonder they waited 13 years before trying another Tuesday night pay-per-view, though they tried the ‘lets do a pay-per-view one week after Survivor Series’ experiment again in 2006 with even more disasterous results and that one didn’t even feature Earthquake and Typhoon in the main event (get it? disaster….)

  19. Al Lobama says:

    I don’t know about this one. Was it a bad PPV? Maybe not WM IX bad, but I’ll concede that point. SS ’91 was a bad PPV that spent a lot of time hyping another bad PPV, but that isn’t exactly wrestlecrap. If it was, then half of the PPVs the WWE has put out over the last decade would’ve already been inducted. Yes, SS ’91 did have a few Wrestlecrap inducted characters on the card, but nothing overly outlandish or cartoony happened on the show. Undertaker didn’t fall off the roof of the Joe Louis Arena before fighting Hogan, Earthquake didn’t squash IRS’s briefcase and serve everyone briefcase burgers, and nothing hatched out of giant freakin’ egg. What we did get was Taker botching a tombstone, IRS going to the well one too many times with the briefcase spot, and Gorilla and Bobby making a bad call on commentary. If that qualifies as wrestlecrap, then what DOESN’T qualify as wrestlecrap?

  20. Thomas Moffatt says:

    I think Summerslam 96 PPV is good WrestleCrap candidate

    Owen Hart opening against Savio Vega was okay but that wasn’t their last appearance of the night
    Bulldog laying down for Sid
    The crap loaded four team eliminator for the tag titles
    The continuation of the disgusting Jerry Lawler v Jake Roberts feud
    Owen and Savio reappearing later in the night in the guise of some druids – you can see Owen’s boots…
    Mankind stalking Sable – glad that ended there
    Nice guy Mark Henry having a run in with Vader
    Finally the Vader v Shawn Michaels main event being restarted twice

    AND I’m sure Todd fucking Pettengill was lurking about somewhere

  21. IC says:

    From the wikipedia article on Tuesday in Texas:
    “The WWF earned approximately $100,000 in ticket sales with an attendance of 8,000.The pay-per-view received a buyrate of 1.0, which is the equivalent of approximately 400,000 buys.”
    Sources are at bottom of article, so you might want to check your facts again guy.

    • Emerson Witner says:

      If TTIT did 400,000 buys then they would have done shows a week after a ppv a lot more often, guy.

  22. Dave says:

    Wasn’t Jim Neidhart originally part of the Slaughter/Duggan team as well? I think it was supposed to be him and Steamboat instead of Duggan and Sarge initially.

    • Jeremy says:

      I believe Neidhart was supposed to be in that match, but they wrote him out by having the Beverly Bros. attack him after he had a match with Ric Flair. Strangely, Neidhart returned 2 months later with Owen Hart as his new tag team partner and faced the Orient Express at the Royal Rumble while the Beverly Bros. took on the Bushwhackers. Don’t think they ever did anything more with Neidhart/Owen and the Beverlys after that.

      But anyway, the newly face Slaughter took Neidhart’s place, though I think Duggan was originally planned to be part of the match and Santana was actually Steamboat’s replacement.

  23. Sean Bateman says:

    ’91 Survivor Series sucked balls

  24. SCFNL says:

    As much as I enjoy your inductions – I think you’re scraping the barrell if you’re inducting this PPV. Is it really wrestlecrap? It was not the worst WWF PPV by any stretch of the imagination – it was a pretty enjoyable PPV for most fans at the time. The way you’re describing it here its as if it was as much of a disaster as say, Wrestlemania IX. This induction is more just a case of smark nitpicking than actual wrestlecrap I’m afraid. Keep the focus on the true crap of the wrestling world, not just some example of semi-poor booking.

  25. Scrooge McSuck says:

    After going back and forth about wether I agree with the induction… I agree.

    1. The opener has eight of the top names in the company, wether you agreed with them or not (cough:Warlord:cough), and they bullshit eliminate 5 of them because…. I don’t know.

    2. Team Duggan vs. Team Berzerker sucked wet fart, regardless of who was coked out of their mind or what.

    3. Hogan vs. Undertaker was bad, but TTIT was worse, where Hogan was obviously not cooperating with Undertaker throughout the entire match.

    4. The Rockers/Bushwhackers vs. Beverlys/Nastys match was also 30-minutes of bore.

    5. Deliberately keeping Savage and Roberts out of the match with LOD/Boss Man and IRS/Disasters was SHIT, especially since it wasn’t announced until the PPV went to broadcast.

    6. Order Tuesday in Texas, This Tuesday… in Texas!

  26. Mitchell C. says:

    You know how bad the show was when LOD and Randy Savage couldn’t even save it.

  27. Bob Hansen says:

    Thank you for inducting this! This event killed me when it happened. I was 11, and even then every man-woman-child could see the no-brainer of Randy taking Sid’s place in that match.

    What’s worse is that Tuesday in Texas reversed the meaning of the Taker/Hogan match.

    Only thing worth watching (just youtube it) are 3 promos by Jake, Macho, and Flair after he cheats Hogan.

    Later on PPV, Hogan would get revenge on Flair by helping him win the 92 Rumble.

  28. Jeff says:

    One thing I always wondered as a kid leading up to this – the promos leading up to this ppv had Earthquake and Jake together; makes sense Jake is heel now whatever

    However just under a year prior, Earthquake “killed” Damien because he was deathly afraid of snakes; a python; yet in the promos, Earthquake is like 2 friggin feet away from Jake holding a god damn king cobra!!!!!

    Just something I remember lol

  29. George says:

    You mean 50% of what Survivor Series made.

  30. HHHThe REALWrestlingGod says:

    I was 9 when i attended SS 91 at the wonderful Joe Louis Arena (next door to Cobo Arena, ironically the place where Hulk Hogan would commit attempted monster truck murder on Paul Wight in 1995, but hey Big Show fell 50 feet, survived and even wrestled the same night, so no charges necessary). As a 9 year old, i was happy Ric Flair was in WWF so i could care less that the Hollywood Blonde Jabroni lost (not so ironic when you think about the fact my name is a reference to the most hated heel on this website, im a obviously a heel worshipper!) It was pure crap, from opening bell to closing bell, at a time when the red wings were in the first season of what would become their current 22 year and counting playoff streak, it was a highly dissapointing that the previous 3 seasons as bad as the red Wings were, they didnt pull the Chris Nowitzki any worse than Survivor Series 91 did in the building.

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