Survivor Series 1989
November 23, 1989
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse "The Body" Ventura
There's not much to say to start this show off. The WWF was in their annual period where it was too early to start hype for Wrestlemania and too late to blow off everything else that mattered. And thus we get this show, five Survivor Series tag team matches that match rivals, but don't really have a major impact like those of other PPV's. Still, at most of the early Survivor Series some really good wrestling could be found, so let's not waste any more time and get right into the 1989 edition.
To kick things off, we're shown a video package of several different WWF superstars telling us what they're thankful for this Thanksgiving. That's always fun.
Dusty Rhodes, Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, Tito Santana & The Red Rooster vs. Big Boss Man, Rick "The Model" Martel, Bad News Brown & Honky Tonk Man
This is the first year we get the cute team names, as Rhodes' side is dubbed The Dream Team, and Boss Man's is The Enforcers. The main issues here are between captains, Rhodes and Boss Man, as well as former tag team partners Santana and Martel, and of course that lingering, age old classic rivalry between Beefcake and Honky. Okay, maybe that's not much of an issue at this point, but it is one thing I love about the way the WWF used to book these shows. There would usually be one instance like this where two guys that had feuded in the past would be on opposite teams and rekindle the rivalry as opponents for one night, but not drag it out again in the weeks to follow. I like stuff like that.
Anyway, we start with two former Intercontinental Champions, Tito and Honky. Man, talk about getting demoted; Honky sure lost all credibility once he dropped the IC Title. Martel tags in only when Honky has the advantage, and quickly gets his shots in on Tito before tagging out to Boss Man. Tito fights back and feeds Boss Man to Dusty with a tag. Nothing of note happens, however, and Honky and Beefcake end up in there, and then Martel and the Rooster. Lots of continuity by three quarters of the heel side, as they beat on the Rooster. Bad News, however, doesn't tag in once. The Rooster hot tags Tito, who goes with Martel, but the Model reverses a rollup with a handful of tights and pins him at 9:15. See ya, Chico. Dusty comes in, as we get a shot of a "big Dusty Rhodes fan" in the stands, a woman who would soon become Sapphire, his manager, a few weeks later. It takes Gorilla awhile to catch the significance of who she is. The faces control Martel, but that goes downhill when they tag in the jobber, The Rooster. A Boss Man bearhug is clipped on this tape, and Boss Man tags Bad News. They double team the Rooster, but Boss Man accidentally nails Bad News, so he gets upset and leaves. Sound familiar? It happened last year too. Bad News is counted out at 15:16. The heels work on Beefcake, but he catches Honky with a high knee and pins him at 17:13. Brutus celebrates with his teammates, but doesn't tag out, so Martel blitzes him. Sadly, Brutus manages to catch him with a sunset flip and pin him at 20:03. Boss Man is now left alone. Beefcake smartly tags the Rooster, who eats a quick Boss Man Slam and is pinned at 20:48. Rhodes comes in and hits a high cross body, and we know that kind of weight would pin anyone. Case in point, Boss Man stays down for the three. Beefcake and Rhodes survive at 21:50. Pretty solid match. **3/4. Boss Man, always the sore loser, clobbers Dust with his nightstick for fun until Brutus makes the save.
Sean Mooney talks to the Boss Man as he comes through the curtain. He's not the only guy that's been proud of beating up Dusty Rhodes.
Mean Gene Okerlund is with the King's Court, captained by "Macho King" Randy Savage. Missing is Jimmy Hart, who has three of his protoges teaming with Savage. I wonder where he could've been.
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, "Rugged" Ronnie Garvin, Bret "Hitman" Hart & Hercules vs. Randy "Macho King" Savage, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, Dino Bravo & Earthquake
It's the 4x4's against the King's Court. Case in point about what I was saying earlier, Hercules and Valentine didn't really have an issue here, but did face at Summerslam and are placed on opposite teams here. The main stories here are between Savage and Duggan, Valentine and Garvin, and of course there's always bad blood between Bret Hart and Jimmy Hart's stable. If you're wondering why the Hart Foundation was split up for this show, that's just the way it worked out. The WWF did try to push Bret on his own briefly in 1989, but it didn't go over as they'd hoped. His real singles push would come in 1991; the Hart Foundation was still a tag team at this point.
The faces start out with frequent tags and work over the arm of Valentine, but it doesn't last long as Bravo tags in and sets Hercules up for Earthquake. Quake hits his pattened butt splash for the pin at 3:55. Duggan and Bret topple Quake, then Garvin slugs away, but it's Garvin, so he blows it. The heels beat on him for a bit, and he has a chopfest with Valentine. Then he hot tags Duggan, and it's Hacksaw that pins the Hammer after a clothesline at 7:30. Way to go, Ronnie, have someone else fight your battles for you. Of course now that Valentine's gone, there's no real reason for Garvin to still be out there so Bravo thankfully takes care of Garvin with the side suplex at 11:16. Bret and Duggan double team Savage, and a close up reveals that a Hacksaw elbow doesn't even touch Savage. Not even close. That was either really ugly, or really funny, depending on your perspective. Bret takes punishment and finally hot tags Duggan, but that idiot tags Bret right back in before he can catch his breath, and he's easy pickings for a Savage Flying Elbow and the pin at 19:05. Duggan probably did that on purpose just because Bret's Canadian. Prejudiced bastard. Oh well, the joke's on him because now he's left all alone. Duggan clears the ring of all three remaining heels and fares well for himself, but Savage's manager, Sherri, pulls the top rope down and he's counted out at 23:22 to end the match. **1/4 Geez, couldn't you have just let Savage or Earthquake pin him? Either way, Savage, Quake, and Bravo end up surviving. Duggan, a noted sore loser himself, clears the ring with his 2x4 after the match.
Sean Mooney is with Ted DiBiase's team.
Gene reports that Dusty Rhodes has doctors tending to him.
The Genius reads us a special Thanksgiving poem. It's unbelivable how much heat a guy wearing a robe can get by reading a poem.
Hulk Hogan, Jake "The Snake" Roberts & Demolition vs. "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, Zeus & Powers Of Pain
It's the Hulkamaniacs against the Million Dollar Team. Jake is the only one on his team without a Title, as Hogan is the WWF Champ, and Demolition owns the tag straps. The issues are between Zeus and Hogan, and Jake and DiBiase. Demolition and The Powers' feud had been over for some time, but again, bad blood never goes away. Zeus and Hogan start, so we get the much anticipated showdown right away. Zeus immediately chokes out Hogan, then shoves the ref to earn a prompt DQ at 3:20. That solved nothing, but we do get a great Gorilla quote out of the ordeal: "I don't care if you've got a 'Z' on your head or not- that's not legal." We get the Jake/DiBiase confrontation, as well as Demolition/Powers, while Hogan has no reason to be out there anymore four minutes in. The heels destroy Ax, Mr. Fuji trips him from the outside, and the Warlord pins him at 9:50 to even the sides at three apiece. Whenever it's not Jake against DiBiase in there, things get really slow. Even when Hogan is in no one cares, because he's beating on the Powers Of Pain who he has no history with. Smash gets smashed by the heels, and walks into a Barbarian top rope clothesline for the pin at 13:42. That's always a cool spot, but I question putting the Powers Of Pain over Demolition well after Demolition has won the blowoff to a near year long feud. Jake takes his turn in there, then hot tags Hogan. All five men end up in the ring, and The Powers spike piledrive Hogan, but disobey the five count, so they're DQ'ed at 19:43. Geez, what crawled up Hebner's ass? And why are the Powers being protected so much? They only had about two months left as a team anyway. It's two on one for Hogan's team even though they're still yet to pin anyone. Jesse accuses Hogan of paying off Hebner to DQ his opponents. Hey, long before Hebner screwed Bret, he screwed DiBiase. When else will you see three guys get DQ'ed in one match for ignoring the five count? Back to the match, DiBiase hooks the Million Dollar Dream on Hogan, but before his hand can drop a third time, Jake makes the save. Hey, why not DQ him? The hold is now broken and Jake gets the hot tag, but Virgil hops on the apron, so Jake DDT's him. The distarction, however, allows DiBiase to hit a quick fistdrop and pin Jake with his feet on the ropes at 23:50. Now it's Hogan vs. DiBiase, as I notice that Shane McMahon is the outside ref. Hogan, of course, finishes off DiBiase with his usual at 27:30. Not a great Survivor Series match at all. *
Mooney is with Savage and Zeus to hype No Holds Barred: The PPV. If you must know, No Holds Barred was a half-assed PPV that was held in December where they showed the movie No Holds Barred (starring Hogan and Zeus), then had a rematch from Summerslam (I believe in a Cage) pitting Hogan and Beefcake against Savage and Zeus. Nothing to write home about.
Gene is with Hogan and Beefcake in what I recognize as the same locker room I mentioned in the Wrestling Classic Flashback. Sherri interupts, throws powder in their eyes, and Savage and Zeus barge in and jump them. Wrestlers and refs alike try to separate them, as I can pick out Bret Hart, Garvin, The Rooster, and Dino Bravo of all people, amongst the peacemakers.
Jesse tells us there's dissention in the Heenan Family. More on this later.
Mooney is with Rick Rude's team. Or is it Mr. Perfect's team?...
Gene is with Rowdy Roddy Piper's team. Or is it Jimmy Snuka's team?... Nah, it's definitely Piper's team.
Rowdy Roddy Piper, "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka & The Bushwackers vs. "Ravishing" Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect & The Rougeau Brothers
Rowdy's Roddies vs. The Rude Brood. Gorilla makes a possible inside joke about Perfect's manager, the Genius, as he follows his team to the ring: "I wouldn't want him walking behind me, Jess." Bobby Heenan isn't with Rude, so Gorilla and Jesse stir the pot. Dissention? I'll get to the real story in the next match. Piper and Rude are in the middle of a feud after Hot Rod cost Rick the IC Title at Summerslam. The Rougeaus never liked the Bushwackers much. Hey, I just realized Snuka and Piper are on the same team. I mean I knew they were on the same team, but I just realized that's weird, what with their history and all. I guess Snuka's a forgiving man. Or maybe he just appreciates a good coconut. Perfect starts out for his team and gets pummeled by all four Rowdies. He tags out to Jacques Rougeau, who ends up on the receiving end of a Superfly splash to get pinned at 3:02. Perfect comes in again before Ray Rougeau comes in to go at it with Piper. Roddy catches him with a piledriver and pins him at 7:38. Perfect again gets in and does all the work, rolling up Butch for a pin at 10:44. He tags Rude, who picks up his token elimination of Luke with the Rude Awakening at 12:13. Perfect tags in to dominate Snuka, but both get knocked down and tag in their partners, so we finally get the Rude/Piper confrontation. They brawl to the floor and down the aisle and are counted out at 18:34. Would it hurt that much to have one of them job? Perfect is now left alone with Snuka, and they do some nice wrestling with lots of near falls before the undefeated Perfect hits the Perfect-Plex for the pin at 21:25 to become the sole survivor. Decent match. **, but thanks largely in part to that last sequence with Snuka and Perfect.
Mooney is with Rude's Brood. Rude denies comments on Bobby Heenan's whereabouts.
Gene is with Intercontinental Champion, Ultimate Warrior's team. Apparently his insanity is contagious because Jim Niedhart and The Rockers sound just as crazy as he does. Well, almost anyway. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised because Niedhart was never exactly playing with a full deck either, and there's no telling what kind of substances were flowing through the Rockers' bloodstream. Still, shouldn't Warrior's insanity alone be enough for four guys?
Ultimate Warrior, The Rockers & Jim "The Anvil" Niedhart vs. Andre The Giant, Arn Anderson, Haku & Bobby "The Brain" Heenan
It's The Ultimate Warriors vs. The Heenan Family, and the main feuds are between Andre The Giant and The Warrior, and The Brainbusters and The Rockers. Again, note how Jim Niedhart never really had a serious issue with the Busters, but opposes Arn here after their tag teams met at Summerslam. The announcers play up Heenan wrestling as him wanting to take care of business in the ring himself, but fail to mention Tully Blanchard, who he's replacing, by name. The reason? Vince fired Tully earlier in the day, thus screwing everything up. Hence the reason all the "dissention" rumors were started by Jesse. It all makes sense now, doesn't it, folks? Arn is visibly upset, probably the reason why his team wasn't given any interview time before the match, and after fulfilling his commitment in this match, would leave the WWF to go back to the NWA with his partner Tully. The teams start brawling before Warrior makes his entrance, and Andre clears the ring and is left as the legal man when Warrior finally enters and the bell rings. Warrior sends him to the floor with three clotheslines and Andre is counted out at 0:24, which essentially means Heenan's team is screwed less than thirty seconds into the match. They regroup and Niedhart does an awkward sequence with Haku that ends with a Haku crescent kick for three at 3:25. Bye bye, Anvil. Marty Jannetty is next to be worked over by the heels. This time a Haku crescent kick gets only two. Heenan tags in, hits a few boots to the gut, then covers Marty... for three at 8:44. Ouch. He didn't even hook the leg either. Wow, Jannetty is a company man. Imagine of Heenan had pinned his then-equal partner, Shawn Michaels, instead. He'd have had to live it down his entire career. Three time WWF Champion? So what, Bobby Henenan beat you in '89. Michaels and Warrior pull out some double teams and Shawn finishes Haku with a crossbody off the top at 12:45. Arn quickly pounces on Shawn with The Brain doing all he can to help. Heenan refuses a tag, so Arn gets pissed at him. Arn and Shawn do a nice sequence that leads to a huge Anderson spinebuster that gets three at 15:33. Arn, on a roll, tosses the Warrior to the floor, then follows him, where the outside ref, Shane McMahon, admonishes him. I wouldn't make him mad Shane; Daddy just fired his best friend today. Back inside, Warrior finishes off Arn with the gorilla press slam and the splash at 18:09. Goodbye, Arn, nice knowing you. Heenan is now left alone against the Warrior, and man are the fans going to be sent home happy. The Weasel tries to take the countout, but Warrior won't let him, and drags him back in. Warrior punishes him, and the Brain not only does the Flair flip, but the Slaughter corner bump to the floor as well. A shoulder tackle and splash ends it at 20:16, as Warrior is left celebrating as Survivor Series comes to a close. **
Again, this wasn't a very meaningful show, but that doesn't mean it's all bad. There are a few decent matches, and the circumstances surrounding the final match make that interesting, but overall there isn't anything too good either. In hindsight, this definitely doesn't stand out as anything special.
Survivor Series 1989 Key Stats
Total Wrestling: 118:06
Average Match: 23:37
Average Match Rating: **
Top Moments: Bret and Savage wrestling each other, DiBiase giving Hogan a run for his money, the commentary surrounding the Zeus incident, Mr. Perfect's performance, Heenan getting a pin, and The Warrior squashing Heenan
If you have any questions or comments on this review, direct all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.