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.
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!