PodMania Retro Reviews: WWF Survivor Series 1993 Review
Updated: 4 days ago
So Survivor Series in the early to mid 90s was a completely different kettle of fish to the product we have now right!?
Take the last 3 Survivor Series shows, The entire PPV was based around Brand Supremacy and the fact this is the only time of the year where the two brands would meet. We had Champion vs. Champions matches and Survivor Series matches that made sense in kayfabe (even if the endings were beyond confusing!)
In 1993 however, we open with Lex Luger wearing the most outrageously 90an jumper you will ever see, with his family in front of a roaring fire wishing us all a Happy Thanksgiving!
...I...I have no words!
The truth is, Survivor Series in it’s early forms was synonymous with Thanksgiving in the WWE’s eyes and the PPV was intended to be a time for patriotism and love of America! To prove this, not one of the WWF titles were defended on this show. Instead, we have a team called the All Americans (including The Undertaker), taking on a team called the Foreign Fantatics (including Crush, who was born in Hawaii)...I didn’t say it made sense did I!
Oh also, Tatanka, who featured prominently on the promotional material, doesn’t feature on the PPV in any capacity, explain that one to me!
Match #1 - 123 Kid, Marty Janetty, 'Macho Man' Randy Savage & Razor Ramon def. Adam Bomb, Irwin R Schyster, Rick Martel & Diesel
[4-on-4 Survivor Series Elimination Match]
The first of 4 Survivor Series matches on this card, we see fan favourites Razor Ramon, Randy Savage and the 123 Kid teaming with Marty Janetty, taking on a team of Adam Bomb (who is the focus for a large majority of this match, and who, for some inexplicable reason, keeps showing us his bright red tongue) IRS, Rick Martel and a mullet-sporting Diesel!
Razor, the current Intercontinental Champion, explains that Mr. Perfect, the original 4th member of the team backed out at the last minute and so they got a replacement. That replacement? Randy Savage! The Boston crowd goes absolutley ballistic as Randy is very much on a part time schedule in the WWF at this point.
It is very much standard fare for large portions of the opening; Razor opens up for the faces whilst IRS has to step in a few times to ensure his team are existing harmoniously.
The first real action takes place once the Macho Man is tagged in once 123 Kid has been ragdolled around the ring by Diesel. Savage dominates the big man before eliminating him using the Macho Man Elbow. All the while, the commentary team of Hennan and Vince talk about Savage being focused on someone else, that someone being Crush who had cost Savage his place on the broadcast team sometime earlier.
This eventually played into the match as Crush appeared on the walkway, goading Savage until IRS could get the pinfall over him. Savage, seemingly not fussed about the elimination, sprints straight to the back to find Crush!
The match progresses with not much else to speak of for a while. Adam Bomb spends time destroying Marty Janetty until he gets the hot tag to Razor Ramon. Bomb reciprocates and tags in IRS, who is promptly chokeslammed to the floor by Ramon and then lifted up in the Razor’s Edge and covered for the elimination. Martel wastes no time and jumps Ramon, only to be lifted up for another Razor’s Edge. IRS, displeased at being eliminated clearly, hits Razor with his steel briefcase to stop the move. Ramon rolls to the outside and is promptly counted out, leaving it at 2 on 2 with both captains eliminated.
We had a lovely interchange then between the 123 Kid, who is so ridiculously over at this time, and Adam Bomb. Kid tries a suicide dive onto the outside but is caught and slammed by Bomb who then subsequently lands a springboard clothesline on Kid - very entertaining.
Then the ending happened, which seemed to come out of nowhere really. After missing a splash in the corner Martel is rolled up and pinned by the 123 Kid, and then as Adam Bomb comes in, Marty Janetty leaps over the rope for a sunset flip pin. 123 Kid and Marty Janetty are your sole survivors!
It’s a shame really as the match, which was decently paced for the majority and had a decent amount of storylines running through it, as well as some good modern wrestling from the 123 Kid, has a very rushed ending which spoils all the work Heenan and McMahon did building up Adam Bomb as this massive monster, only to be rolled up. Peculiar decision really!
PodMania Star Rating: 4 stars
Match #2 - The Hart Family [Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Bruce Hart & Keith Hart] def. Shawn Michaels & His Knights
[4-on-4 Survivor Series Elimination Match]
The gap between this and the opening match was probably only 10 minutes, but it felt like an absolute age!
Still not understanding that celebrity involvement didn’t always mean more money, WWE invested in the host of hit US show Family Feud, the late Mr Ray Combs, to act as mediator and guest commentator for this match...and it was awful!
That’s nothing against Combs, though his in-ring promo before the match insulting the parents of Shawn Michaels went about 10 minutes too long, the match just didn’t have any heat behind it! It suffered massively from the fact that it was never supposed to be Shawn Michaels in this match, but Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler - who had to withdraw from the show - hence Michaels leading out ‘Knights’ rather than actual wrestlers!
This left the WWE in a sticky situation as they had already built this match up, and now had to hash together rivalry based on Shawn insulting the family of Bret and Owen Hart, bringing Keith and Bruce out of retirement in the process; it all just seemed a touch clunky!
The match starts slowly, as you would expect I suppose from a match containing a Fireman and a History Teacher, with Shawn mainly postulating to the delight of the fans and the annoyance of the Hart Family.
A lot of Suplexes and standard running of the ropes later, the match descends into chaos with all four members of each team in the ring at the same time. Each Hart member finds themselves with a Knight in the corner, and as one, Irish whip them into the middle where they collide with each other, which the crowd enjoy. The Black Knight, dazed after this and the only member of his team left in the ring, is hit with a splash in the corner from Bruce and Keith, before he is then eliminated after a missile dropkick from Owen Hart.
The match continues to plod along without any real move of note. Owen and Bret work the legs of the Red Knight before the tables are turned and the heel team work the arm of Keith Hart, who is unable to tag out for what seems an age. Eventually however, Shawn goes up top for a splash, Keith rolls away and tags in Bret whilst Shawn tags in the Red Knight who is instantly put in the Sharpshooter. Though no tap is seen, and the Blue Knight comes in to clothesline Bret off of the Red Knight, the bell is rung and the Red Knight is eliminated. Very confusing!
The Blue Knight is then eliminated in unceremonious fashion in the exact same way, as Owen this time locks in the Sharpshooter, with the Knight giving up seemingly without tapping once more.
This leaves Shawn on his own against the 4 Hart Brothers, which is genuinely the only entertaining part of the match! After injuring Bret and forcing him to the ring apron, Shawn whips Owen into him and Bret jumps spectacularly through the barricade at ringside to the chagrin of his brothers. Owen looks on from inside the ring, only to be rolled up by Shawn to become the first Hart brother eliminated. Owen, furious, chastises the fallen Bret angrily for a while before being forced to leave the ring.
After battling a History Teacher and a Fireman for a short period, Shawn decides he’s had enough and walks backstage, getting himself deliberately counted out bringing the match to a merciful end.
This was a poor match that didn’t make a lot of sense. In fact the only positive that came out of this match was the spark that lit the fuse of the rivalry between Bret and his brother Owen, who returned after the match to confront The Hitman, leading them to have outstanding matches both at WrestleMania X and also that years Summerslam.
PodMania Star Rating: 4 stars
Match #3 - The Heavenly Bodies def. The Rock 'N' Roll Express (c)
[Smokey Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Championships Match]
After a video package explaining how a kayfabe zombie became an ‘All-American’ and a man from Hawaii became a ‘Foreign Fanatic,’ Jim Cornette makes his way to the ring accompanied as always by his trusty squash racket and a house full of boos!
Quite quickly we notice that the name Heavenly Bodies must be an ironic name, but the pair use their strength to good use early on by jumping the tag champs before the bell has rung. The Rock ‘N’ Roll express however regain momentum almost instantly as Morton hit a suicide dive on both Heavenly Bodies. Straight away this is more interesting than the previous match!
The champions continue to dominate the early moments of this match-up, working the legs of both Pritchard and Del Ray, playing on their seeming inability to string a move or meaningful strike together.
Eventually The Heavenly Bodies got a foothold in the match, mainly through the athleticism of ‘Gigolo’ Jimmy Del Ray who, after hitting Morton with a Moonsault after Cornette held him in place, hit another one in the ring for a pinfall attempt that was only kicked out of due to Gibson super kicking him in the back of the head!
The Heavenly Bodies then continued to show that they could in fact wrestle as a team and proceeded to show off some innovative tag team manoeuvres such as an elevated Moonsault to the excitement of the crowd. Morton was constantly kept away from Gibson, who was obviously seen as more of a threat, and received a thorough working over as a result!
It was in fact Morton who ate the pin during the ending sequence as, from the top rope, Del Ray took up Cornette’s trusty racket and jumped, stabbing the handle into the small of the back of Morton, who was then covered. The Heavenly Bodies are the new Smoky Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Champions after a slightly contrived finish but a good match overall.
PodMania Star Rating: 6 stars
Match #4 - The Bushwhackers & Men on a Mission def. Bam Bam Bigelow, Bastion Booger & The Headshrinkers
[4-on-4 Survivor Series Elimination Match]
What in God’s name is this drivel? We are treated to a video package before the start to this match, showing how Doink, who Bam Bam was in a feud with at the time, put team of Doink’s together to face Bam Bam’s team...okaaay... The camera then cuts backstage as Team Bam Bam are psyching themselves up by devouring a turkey with their hands...it is utterly disgusting. It makes it very difficult to comprehend what Bigelow is trying to convey in his promo with Booger stuffing turkey into his face whilst some is unceremoniously hanging from his nose. Matchtime and Team Bam Bam are in the ring, with the turkey I might add, and we await to find out how Doink has managed to amass a team of four Doinks; turns out, in a really cheesy cartoonish way which makes me instantly hate this match. The Bushwhackers and Men on a Mission (led by Oscar, the 1990’s R-Truth) dance and scoot, in Luke’s case, to the ring adorned in Doink make-up. For goodness sake! The match begins and Booger is more bothered about the food that the Headshrinkers have brought to the ring than with his opponent. After being poked in the eyes and on the behind a few times by Luke Doink (sigh), Booger, who moves in this match like wonky wardrobe, tags in Samu of The Headshrinkers who is instantly rolled up after a glitter distraction from the outside. Booger is eliminated shortly afterwards after attempting one Banzai Drop too many and landing on the mat, he is then covered by Mabel and eliminated. It is worth mentioning at this point that Booger stopped one of his own pinfall attempts in order to stuff a banana into his mouth and have the remainder rubbed into his scalp by Fatu. Fatu then produces the first legitimate move from the heel team when he performs a splash from the top rope over the top of Bam Bam Bigelow - entertaining feat from the future Rikishi. The entertainment didn’t last much longer however as Fatu once again aborted a pinfall in order to stare in wonder at a banana skin. He then picked it up, dropped it to the floor, and once Butch Doink threw a bucket of glitter at him, he slipped on the banana skin and was rolled up for the third elimination. Bam Bam then performs some serviceable offence before he is stung in the corner by Mo and then Mabel. As Bam Bam falls to the floor, all four Doinks pile on top for the pinfall, and with that the bell tolls on what can only be described as the most harrowing 11 minutes I’ve ever spent watching wrestling. Despite the almost incessant chants of ‘We Want Doink!’ from the clearly cheated Boston faithful, Doink didn’t make an appearance in the match until a pre-taped segment appeared on screen where he proceeded to tell awful Dad jokes for 5 minutes...good grief! I will say this though, Ray Liachelli has a fantastic laugh, very reminiscent of Heath Ledger’s Joker. ...that is literally the only positive about this match.
PodMania Star Rating: DUD
Match #5 - The All-Americans [Lex Luger, The Steiner Brothers & The Undertaker] def. The Foreign Fanatics [Yokozuna, Ludvig Borga, Crush & Jacques Rougeau]
[4-on-4 Survivor Series Elimination Match]
We start the build-up to the main event with a backstage segment as Todd Pettingill talks to the Foreign Fanatics. More specifically, Pettingill talks to Jim Cornette who maps out the Fantatic’s plan to take out the ‘All-Americans,’ explaining that the team were single entity, with The Steiner Brothers being the Heart, The Undertaker the mind and Lex Luger, the soul of the body. A really good promo from Cornette, who was fantastic at this time!
A couple of notes regarding the entrances of the two teams: first off, there was no fan reaction whatsoever for Ludvig Borga, Crush came out to the wrong music, which was hurriedly stopped, leaving Crush to walk to the ring awkwardly in silence and The Undertaker seemed to be the most over superstar in the company at the time - the pop he got from the Boston crowd was incredible!
The match starts with Scott Steiner and Jacques in the ring. Jacques soon tags in Borga and then Crush whilst Scott tags in his brother after the pair took turns showing off feats of strength.
The first elimination in this match occurred when Rick Steiner ascended to the top rope and attempted a cross-body onto Ludvig Borga who beautifully botched the powerslam reversal before hastily covering a very confused Rick Steiner who then had to improvise an injury to pass of Borga’s inability. Unfortunately it’s not the first time Borga botches in this match!
It’s about this time that Crush takes complete control of Scott, working him over and overpowering the future Big Poppa Pump. The commentators begin talking about the fact that Randy Savage is trying to get out to the ring to settle the score with Crush. Sure enough, Randy comes out, being held back by what seems like the remainder of the locker room. Crush stands there laughing whilst gorilla pressing Steiner in the air before dropping him unceremoniously out of the ring. Savage and Crush then exchange heated words before Scott dropkicks Crush out of the ring. The former Demolition man then seemingly thinks ‘Ah well, in for a penny, in for a pound’ and abandons the match to attack Savage and is therefore counted out, leaving each team with 3 survivors.
Scott and Jacques breifly square off until Mr. America personified - Lex Luger - is tagged in. Jacques lasts little to no time at all and is eliminated by a second rope elbow from Luger.
Borga and Steiner square off against each other with a sequence of lariats and feats of strength, until Steiner superplexes Borga from the top rope before the pin is ultimately broken up. The current WWF Champion Yokozuna comes to the ring next and, despite his immense size, moves better in the ring than Bastion Booger did earlier in the night! Scott is quickly overpowered by Yoko and, despite missing an elbow drop earlier, finally eliminates the plucky Scott Steiner with a leg drop.
Luger takes up the mantle next and is beaten from pillar to post by Yokozuna, choked out and clotheslined all around the ring. The champion however does miss the chance for a splash and an avalanche, the latter leads to Luger finally being able to tag in The Undertaker, for which the crowd explode!
The Deadman comes flying out of the traps, laying Yokozuna out with a vicious DDT and merely sitting straight back up when ever the Champ manages to get any offence in at all. Yokozuna tries everything, but cannot keep The Undertaker down. He tries a belly to belly, The Undertaker sits up, he tries a Banzai Drop, then as he’s going for the second, Taker sits up once more and avoids it. Yokozuna escapes to the outside and The Undertaker gives chase, having his head driven into the steel steps for his troubles, though he no sells this and instead drives Yokozuna into the steps. As the melee continues, both men are counted out and eliminated from the match, meaning it is Borga vs. Lex for the win!
The two go at it, though it is obvious from early on that Luger is struggling after his fight with Yokozuna. Borga hits two suplexes and continually attempts the pinfall on Luger without success. This proves costly as Luger manages to reverse and hits a suplex to regain momentum. He hits a few clothesline’s of his own before the pair clothesline each other in the middle of the ring and are laid out. During this, Cornette distracts the referee whilst Mr. Fuji gives Borga the salt bucket, which he promptly thunks across Luger’s rather prominent head. This only results in a two count which serves to pump Luger up. He lands a DDT on Borga as well as some stiff elbows. There is a rather dodgy passage as Borga first seems to sell a gut punch as though he’s been shot in the eye, then seems to mess up a rudimentary irish whip which transitions into a sloppy power slam by Luger.
Eventually however, as I imagine everyone predicted, Luger hits his Loaded Elbow which again, didn’t quite look right before covering Borga for the three count and the win for the ‘All-Americans.’
What you probably didn’t predict happening however, was Luger being doused in fake snow falling from the roof of the venue, whilst Santa runs in from the back to celebrate with him...
Good God, this PPV!
PodMania Star Rating: 3 stars
I don’t want to be a negative Nancy about this show, and I know it seems like I have been, but this show was dreadful.
Don’t get me wrong, there were positives: the seeds planted here led to the fantastic rivalry between Bret and Owen, The Undertaker looked good and was welcomed with the biggest pop of the night, the opening bout was good as was the Smoky Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Match even though the crowd clearly didn’t care about it!
Otherwise, this show had nothing going for it. A sloppy main event, made sloppier via poor wrestling and predictable booking, made even more pointless by the fact that The Steiners and Borga were gone from the company before the Rumble.
The ‘Family Feud’ match was hurt badly by the omission of Jerry Lawler, who had been mocking the Hart Family for months. Shawn did his best with the time he was given, but nobody cared about the Hart Brothers taking out Knights without Lawler there to give it context.
The less said about the Doink match the better I feel, as it was an awful, yawn-inducing crapfest that is that bad it could ruin a man’s love for wrestling and believe me, I’m not joking!
Even the crowd seemed flat; Lawler being pulled from the show, lacklustre wrestling from some of the talent coupled with how cheated they felt when Doink never showed up to his own match made for a very sour taste in the mouth of the Boston crowd.
And for God Sake, to top it all off Luger celebrated with Santa amidst a fake snow storm in the ring - get a grip WWF!
It is clearly a show put on by a company in a state of turmoil regarding the abscence of Hulk Hogan and a big name draw - that is, before the WWF came to their senses and pushed Bret and Shawn to the top where they belonged.
That was a way off yet thought, and if this PPV is anything to go by, it’s would be a long bumpy road getting there!
Matches You Need To Check Out: The Smokey Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Match, 123 Kid, Jannety, Savage & Razor Ramon vs. IRS, Adam Bomb, Diesel & Rick Martel
Matches You Need To Avoid: Everything else!