When I was growing up, Thanksgiving meant two things. I would prepare my above average size body for large helpings of turkey to be accompanied by sweet potatoes and the possible side of dressing when I got over my pickiness. The second thing, wrestling. For most people, Thanksgiving is about watching football. No one really watched those games due to being in a turkey coma, but everyone said they watched. Sports was not a huge aspect of growing up, but wrestling, on the other hand was a staple inside the Pruitt house.
So, instead of writing about the 2019 Survivor Series, and previewing like all of the other sites, I thought I would dive into the wrestling I watched as kid. So, sit back and let me tell you about rewatching the 1989 Survivor Series through adult eyes. I will regret this decision.
In classic WWF style, the PPV starts off with the participants talking about what they are thankful on this Thanksgiving in 1989. Already, I am happy with my decision. First face I am greeted by is the WWF World Champion and sex tape mega star Hulk Hogan. During Hogan’s rambles, I never realized that Hulkamania is the most powerful force in the world, so suck it, God.
And one by one a different face appears on my screen. Million Dollar Man is thankful for Money. There is shock. Please hint the sarcasm. And throughout each one of these, I feel the smile on my face growing bigger. It was like the Grinch’s heart, but little did I know that would come to a screeching halt. Dusty is thankful for his polka dots. Piper is thankful he is not Rick Rude. I chuckled at that line. Heenan is thankful for being with the Heenan Family. And we end with the Warrior, possibly summoning a demon. I love Warrior promos, but I have no idea what in the hell he is talking about.
The graphic for the PPV pops on my screen. And my ears are treated to the golden tones of Vince McMahon screaming names of wrestlers and teams at me. I am a little afraid, but you do you. AND ZEUS. I love when Vince opened PPV’s like this. There is just something about his voice that will get the fan at home an adrenaline chub. And that is worth it.
Our commentators for the evening are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Pilgrim” Ventura. For some reason it seemed Jesse seemed more irritable than normal. Maybe he realized Abraxas was a failure at the box office.
I want everyone to know, I took notes in each match of things that bothered me. And of course, eliminations, so I apologize if at times this comes across a little all over the place. However, it will ultimately fit the theme of the show.
The first match from Chicago is The Enforcers (Team Captain Big Boss Man, Bad News Brown, Rick Martel and The Honky Tonk Man with Jimmy Hart and Slick). So, if Jive Soul Bro was theme in 2019 WWE, the entire crowd would be rapping along with it. That theme just makes me happy. And their opponents are The Dream Team. (Dusty Rhodes, Brutus Beefcake, The Red Rooster and Tito Santana) One of these things is not like the other, one of these things does not belong. I get the play on Dusty’s nickname being the American Dream, but how can you call a team, the Dream Team that the Red Rooster is on. Terry Taylor is a great wrestler, but dear God, that character. For you who do not know, The Red Rooster was man with long blonde hair and a red mohawk. He would occasionally crow while talking, and strut down the aisle. It’s way too early to drink, but I feel it.
Tito Santana is the first to go thanks to his former partner Martel.
Sweet Sapphire is in the crowd.
Beefcake’s tights look like something I have witnessed worn at a Walmart in 2019.
Bad News Brown gets hit by the Boss Man and takes himself out of the match. I can’t blame him.
Honky Tonk has been eliminated and left the building.
How in the hell is the Red Rooster still in this match?
The only runway the model will be walking is back to the locker room.
The Red Rooster gets cooked. Thank you, Big Boss Man! You are a National hero.
And finally, the Boss Man is served with a loss.
Dusty and Beefcake are the Survivors at 22:02.
Grade: D+. The Red Rooster over stayed his welcome. The only good thing about this match was getting to hear Jive Soul Bro.
As we prepare for the next match, I decide to pop some corn. And we get Sean Mooney interviewing the 4x4s team. I love these freaking names. We need more of this in today’s wrestling. The 4X4s look like they raided a Lumber Yard’s Black Friday sale. Plus, I am sure every time Duggan yells, “Hooooooooo” an angel gets its wings.
Match #2: The Kings Court: (Randy Savage, Canadian Earthquake, Dino Bravo and Greg Valentine with Jimmy Hart and Queen Sherri) Vs The 4x4s: (Jim Duggan, Bret Hart, Ronnie Garvin and Hercules)
What actually happening if a Canadian Earthquake hits? Causes damage and apologizes?
The 4x4s throw 2x4s in a team event, the only person to drop theirs was Duggan. I am not sure how he missed; he always carries one to the ring.
Hercules gets a face full Quakenuts and is the first to be eliminated.
Ronnie Garvin apparently has the worst depth perception in wrestling by missing a tag while being able to sniff Hart’s armpit.
The Hammer is out thanks to Duggan.
Ronnie Garvin is gone. I forgot he was still in the match.
Hart Vs Savage is what the main event of Wrestlemania 9 should have been.
Hart is eliminated by the Savage elbow.
And finally, Duggan is counted out.
The Survivors are Randy Savage, The Canadian Earthquake, & Dino Bravo at 23:25.
Grade: D. Hart V Savage saved this match marginally. Also, I really do love the Earthquake.
The Genius delivers a poem which was better than the previous match.
Holy shit, Hogan’s match is in the middle of the show. What in the hell kind of voodoo is this? I didn’t think Papa Shango would be around for another two years.
Match 3: The Million Dollar Team: (Ted DiBiase, The Warlord, The Barbarian and Zeus with Virgil and Mr. Fuji) Vs The Hulkamaniacs: (Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts, Ax and Smash)
This match has an interesting backstory. Throughout all of 88 and some of 89, Hogan and DiBiase would feud. Demolition (Ax and Smash) and The Powers of Pain (The Warlord and The Barbarian) did a double turn at the 88 Survivor Series. This match is a year in the making and I am here for it.
Zeus’s Unibrow is that of legend and really should have been the team name.
Hogan is Hogan.
Jake already showing his snake. That is premature.
Zeus is wearing a belt where the buckle is the size of a hood. And it just has the letter Z. To quote one of my favorite queens from Rupaul’s Drag Race, Choices.
Zeus and Hogan will collide in a cage during No Holds Barred: The Movie/The Match. Get used to hearing that.
And Zeus is out by DQ for beating up Tom Brady, I mean Hulk Hogan.
Ax is eliminated by the Warlord. I need my hair cut like this guy. It would be a fashion statement.
Smash is gone thank to the Barbarian. And the Powers of Pain have eliminated the WWF tag team champions.
The Powers of Pain both are eliminated by DQ for hitting a spike piledriver on Mr. Nanny.
Out comes Mr. Fuck Money. Look up Virgil and Fuck money. You will not be disappointed. Also, got get those Olive Garden Breadsticks.
Jake the Snake is eliminated by DiBiase.
We are down to Hogan and the Million Dollar Man. Wonder who wins? It’s Hogan. It’s always Hogan.
Hogan is the sole survivor at 27:32 of my life I will never get back.
And now, Hogan poses.
Match Grade: D-. And most of that is cause of Zeus’s belt.
We go to Mean Gene with Hogan and Beefcake discussing No Holds Barred: The Movie/The Match. This is where we learn Hogan’s partner is Brutus Beefcake. Merry Christmas to all wrestling fans. Queen Sherri comes into the room. She throws powder in the air causing a Lebron James type distraction allowing Randy Savage and Zeus to attack.
I love the idea of PPVs having an intermission back in the day. This is the part, I am at. I need a break. So, I get up, bang my head against the wall in hopes I will forget most of this show knowing that there are still two freaking matches to go.
Promo from Piper’s team where the Bushwhackers still have the bones to the turkey in their wrestling gear. God, cocaine was a hell of a drug.
We come back to Match #4: The Rude Brood (Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect, Jacques and Raymond Rougeau with The Genius and Jimmy Hart) VS Roddy’s Rowdies (Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka, Bushwhacker Luke and Bushwhacker Butch)
We need more of these team names.
The Rougeaus have my all-time favorite 80s wrestling theme. Suck on that Strike Force.
Jacques is eliminated by Jimmy Snuka.
Raymond is eliminated by Piper.
This is the moment the music died for me.
Butch is perfectly ousted.
Luke gets a Rude Awakening.
Piper and Rude are counted out.
Snuka is pinned by Perfect. Mr. Perfect is the sole Survivor at 21:27
Match Grade: C+. As of right now, I want to throw all the Meltzer stars at this one. After the travesty of that last match, this is Tokyo Dome quality.
We go back Mean Gene with The Warriors. I wonder why they split up the Hart Foundation for this night? And God, there is the incoherent Warrior Promo, I desperately needed after being in a turkey coma. That is the type of promo, you just start saying in line for Black Friday deals. You will be left alone.
Main Event: The Ultimate Warriors: (The Ultimate Warrior, Jim Neidhart, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) Vs The Heenan Family: (Bobby Heenan, André the Giant, Haku and Arn Anderson)
Now, for an outside of the ring story. Heenan was not originally slated for this match. Originally the man in the spot was Tully Blanchard. The story from what I have been able to gather through research is this, Arn and Tully gave their notice to Vince that the two would be heading back to WCW. (Please read WCW in a deeply southern voice.) However, before their time was up, Tully failed a drug test and was immediately suspended. Due to the failure of the test, WCW did not hire him either. Arn is man left on an island. And to replace Tully, would be Heenan himself. This match would also mark only the second time in WWF PPV history that the main event did not feature Hulk Hogan to some capacity.
The Rockers and the Anvil getting beat down. The Warrior comes at a mad dash to the ring. Andre falls out of the ring, gets counted out.
Anvil is eliminated by a man I would never fuck with, Haku.
Heenan pins Marty Jannetty
Shawn pins Haku. Wonder what happened to that guy?
Arn eliminates Shawn
Warrior pounces on Arn’s back like a tiger. Arn is out.
We are down to Heenan and Warrior. Heenan is out here bumping as if he is Ric Flair.
Warrior pins the weasel. And Warrior is the Sole Survivor at 20:28
Match Grade: C+. A Fun main event where everyone worked their asses off to make something out of a bad situation.
Overall thoughts. I know it’s 1989, so I am going to let that slide. But for me, the early Survivor Series PPVs are plagued with cheap eliminations and this one falls victim to that formula. Each match had cheap eliminations, the Hogan match suffering from this the most. The way Zeus and The Powers of Pain were eliminated made Hulk Hogan look like he was a cowardly heel. That is a head scratcher for me. The first three matches left something to be decided. Those last two matches really saved the show from being a damn stinker. Is this the worst PPV I have ever watched? No. Is it good? Depends on how you look at it. The original concept for the Survivor Series was to go head to head with Jim Crockett Promotions. Is it going to be the best show of the year in terms of wrestling? At that time, no. But it would be a great show to sit with your family and enjoy. And honestly, I think a lot of wrestling fans forgot what that is like.
Overall Grade: C- and a mostly empty gravy bowl