Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Survivor Series 1994
Date: November 23, 1994
Location: Freeman Coliseum, San Antonio, Texas
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Gorilla Monsoon
We’re rapidly approaching a new era in the WWF but we aren’t quite there yet. The main event tonight is Yokozuna vs. Undertaker in their second casket match of the year with Chuck Norris, yes that Chuck Norris, as the special outside enforcer. Other than that we’ve got Bret defending the title against the now insane Bob Backlund in a submission match. There are also two five on five Survivor Series matches and a four on four version as well. Let’s get to it.
We open with a clip from earlier today of the team captains giving their teams pep talks.
Gorilla and Vince are dressed as cowboys. Gorilla looks like he could almost pull the look off but Vince looks like a schnook.
Teamsters vs. Bad Guys
Diesel, Shawn Michaels, Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, Jeff Jarrett
Razor Ramon, 1-2-3 Kid, British Bulldog, Headshrinkers
Diesel and Shawn are tag champions but they’ve having issues. Owen and Neidhart are a semi-regular tag team. This version of the Headshrinkers is Fatu and Sione, more famous as Rikishi and the Barbarian. Razor is IC Champion. I didn’t know that for sure but it’s the mid 90s so I took a shot in the dark. Shawn keeps slipping in front of Diesel to steal the spotlight. That’ll become important later.
It takes awhile to decide who starts before we get Kid vs. Owen. This should be good. The fans chant 1-2-3 which sounds something like RVD. Before there’s any contact it’s off to Neidhart which won’t be as interesting. Neidhart hits a shoulder block to start but gets dropkicked down. Another shoulder gives the Anvil control though and it’s off to Jarrett. Things speed up a bit and Jarrett loses the advantage Neidhart got him.
Off to Sione, who is someone I’ve talked about before but I’ll do it again here. This guy continuously had work for nearly fifteen years, which is impressive when you consider how basic the main character he played was. The guy was always around though other than in the dying days of WCW. Anyway here he gets dropkicked in the back but powers out of the cover with ease.
Off to Owen who wants the Bulldog. Davey comes in to a big ovation and they trade insane counters to wristlocks. Owen gets catapulted into the good guy corner, which is actually the Bad Guy corner, but the Bad Guys are the good guys in the match if that makes sense. Bulldog gets kicked in the face by Hart and it’s off to Neidhart for a double clothesline. Then Bulldog hits a double clothesline on Hart and Anvil, followed by the delayed vertical on Neidhart.
Fatu hits a top rope headbutt for no cover. Instead he tries to take his own boot off because he’s used to wrestling barefoot. Jarrett comes in and is immediately powerslammed before it’s off to Razor. Jeff immediately bails and it’s Razor vs….Jarrett still. Double J takes Razor to the mat and MESSES WITH HIS HAIR! Oh he’s so EVIL! A big right hand by Razor staggers Jeff and a clothesline puts him on the floor. This is a very hot crowd so far.
Back in and Jarrett escapes an atomic drop and punches Razor in the face to get himself in even more trouble. Off to the Kid who Razor gives a fall away slam to send him straight into Jeff in a cool move. Jeff hooks an abdominal stretch with some cheating from Shawn. That eventually gets caught and the Kid hooks a stretch of his own which doesn’t last long. Off to Fatu vs. Owen but all of the Canadian offense results in Samoan dancing.
A blind tag is made to Diesel and it’s a clothesline and a Jackknife to take out Fatu. Kid runs in and hits a dropkick but a top rope sunset flip is easily countered into a chokebomb. Jackknife finishes Kid a second later. Here’s Sione to pound away but he can only stagger the big man. ANOTHER Jackknife makes it 5-2. Diesel put out three guys in 70 seconds. Bulldog comes in and pounds away but a big boot puts Smith on the floor where he brawls with Owen to a countout.
So it’s Ramon vs. all five guys and he starts with Diesel. A discus punch puts Diesel down as does a middle rope bulldog. Diesel gets a clothesline in to take Razor down and Shawn screams for a Jackknife. The future Outsiders slug it out but Diesel drops him on the buckle in a snake eyes. Ramon comes back with a slam and calls for the Edge but Diesel easily backdrops him down. A big boot puts Razor down and there’s the Jackknife.
NOW Shawn wants in but he asks Diesel to hold Razor. Those of you paying attention should know what’s coming, and there it is as Shawn superkicks Diesel by mistake. Apparently this has happened a few times before and Diesel is MAD. Diesel destroys the rest of his team and stalks Shawn up the aisle. Ramon is the only one left in the ring and somehow the countout eliminates EVERYONE on the Teamsters to make Razor the sole survivor.
Rating: C. This was all angle and not much wrestling. This was the big face turn for Diesel which would result in the world title incredibly soon after this. It was a face turn that made sense too as he was tired of Shawn telling him what to do and getting hurt as a result, so he gave up and went after Shawn. Ticked off giants are very fun, so the first few months of Diesel Power were fun stuff. It was the other eight or nine months that stopped being fun.
Shawn leaves in the back and says Diesel is nothing without him. Diesel is on his way to Shawn’s car. Shawn speeds away, which would actually dissolve the team and vacate the tag titles in the process.
Royal Family vs. Clowns R Us
Jerry Lawler, Queasy, Sleazy, Cheesy
Doink, Dink, Wink, Pink
We’ve got midgets. Great. In case you can’t tell, they’re three small Lawlers and three small clowns. Lawler tells the fans to NOT chant Burger King at him, because he’s a master at baiting a crowd you know. The big guys start and guess what the fans are chanting. Here’s the first ten minutes of the match: Lawler and Doink do something, Jerry takes over, the small clowns interfere and Lawler gets mad and loses the advantage.
Lawler tries an enziguri but Doink ducks to send Jerry hiding in his corner. Jerry yells at his partners and the Clowns are all laying on the ropes. Jerry gets Doink down and has the small Lawlers run over him. They make faces at the clowns then run back over Doink and crash in a pile. Keep I mind that these other kings have facial and chest hair. Jerry yells at them again and it’s back to the big guys fighting some more.
The small clowns all come in and cover Jerry with Doink counting. Lawler is all ticked off so they do the EXACT SAME SEQUENCE with Jerry counting Doink’s shoulders. Jerry can’t catch Cheesy when Doink kicks him off so Cheesy gets a two count on Lawler with Dink counting. Doink puts a Burger King crown on Lawler to make him even madder. Dink gets on Doink’s shoulders and (this isn’t a typo) Jerry gets on Sleazy’s shoulders which goes as well as you would expect it to.
The big guys have a test of strength and it turns into a big crisscross between the little guys. Lawler gets a non-existent foreign object to take over but it’s time for a chase scene! Jerry reverses a cross body and rolls up Doink with a handful of tights to eliminate the big guy. Lawler isn’t allowed to be in the ring with one of the smaller guys so the match is in essence over already.
It’s Queasy vs. Dink to start the second half of the match and Dink gets his arm bitten. Queasy gets his tights bitten as does Lawler. Now it’s Cheesy vs. Wink with Wink pulling on the beard. Lawler blocks a monkey flip and Cheesy pins Wink off a rollup. A minute later, Lawler drops Cheesy on Pink from six feet in the air for the pin and it’s Dink vs. all four of them. Pink hides under the ring instead of leaving as Dink beats up all three little guys. A top rope cross body looks to pin Cheesy but Lawler makes the save. Sleazy gets the easy pin to win it.
Rating: S. As in stupider, which I now am having watched this. Last year’s show at least had full sized people in there having these matches and it only ran ten minutes. This ran SIXTEEN MINUTES and wasted Jerry freaking Lawler on it. I’ll take ANYTHING after this and like it more than this.
Jerry says he won the match and not the other ones. They celebrate anyway and Lawler keeps yelling, so they turn on him and the clowns join in for a six on one beatdown. The big payoff is Doink hitting Lawler with a pie. This ran nearly TWENTY MINUTES out of a two hour and forty minute show.
We get clips of Alundra Blayze vs. Bull Nakano in Tokyo with Nakano winning the Women’s Title in front of 45,000 people. I’ve never seen it but I’ve heard that match was awesome. Nakano comes in and speaks some Japanese. Todd (Petingill, this generation’s Josh Matthews/Matt Striker) does the stupid thing where he speaks loudly because all foreigners are deaf apparently.
WWF World Title: Bob Backlund vs. Bret Hart
Bret is defending and this is a submission match. This is a special kind of submission match though as both guys have seconds and you have to throw in the towel to end the match. Bret has British Bulldog and Backlund has Owen Hart. Backlund was making a comeback in his 40s and was a plucky face before going completely insane and claiming that he was still champion from when his reign ended in 1983 because his manager threw in the towel and he never gave up. Bret and Owen’s parents are in the crowd. Remember that.
Backlund charges at Bret but gets hipblocked down a few times. Bret headbutts him to the floor and elbowed upon return. Hart hits something like an elevated bulldog (think Orton’s hanging DDT) to take over on the mat. Off to a chinlock which evolves into a headlock. Gorilla talks about how Bulldog beat Bret for the IC Title in 92 to try to draw in some tension. Backlund tries to take him to the mat but Bret puts the headlock back on. Bob tries to get the chickenwing on but Bret suplexes him down.
Sharpshooter doesn’t work so Bret goes with a front facelock instead. Off to an abdominal stretch by the Hitman but Bob escapes and goes after the left arm. The chickenwing is escaped again (Backlund’s finisher is a Cross Face Chicken Wing) so Bob bends the arm around the ropes. Off to an armbar on the mat but Bret nips up. Backlund drills Bret to the floor but Hart gets the advantage out there.
Back in and Backlund puts the arm on as the fans all chant LET’S GO BRET. The armbar stays on for a good while (as in like five minutes) before Bret escapes with an atomic drop. He can’t get the Sharpshooter but he settles for the Figure Four. This hold stays on for awhile also and Bob gives up but Owen has to throw in the towel. Backlund tells Owen to throw it in but Owen won’t do it.
Backlund finally turns it over and Owen tells Bulldog to throw it in. Bret reverses it back but Backlund gets to a rope. Bret stays on the leg but can’t get the Sharpshooter. Backlund grabs a piledriver out of nowhere and momentum shifts again. Bob goes for the Chicken Wing but Bret gets to the ropes. We’re about twenty minutes into this and it feels like about half of that. The fans are WAY behind Bret here still too which is a good sign.
Back to the arm but Backlund misses a charge and goes shoulder first into the post. Bret blocks another piledriver attempt but hooks a sleeper, which is broken pretty fast because it’s not really a submission move. They hit head to head and both guys go down. For a guy who was about 45 at this point, Backlund has looked great. Now Bret piledrives Bob and hits a bulldog to take over.
The Five Moves Of Doom culminate with the Sharpshooter but Owen runs in to deck his brother and break up the hold. Now we get to the turning point of the match as Davey charges at Owen but misses and rams his own head into the steps. He’s out cold and there’s no one to throw in Bret’s towel. Owen panics and the distraction lets Backlund put on the full Chicken Wing even though Bret had his hand on the rope at the beginning of the hold and a rope break was used earlier in the match but I digress.
Backlund has the hold on in the middle of the ring as Owen begins to get concerned about Bret. He says he’s sorry and Backlund takes Bret down to the mat with the hold. Smith still hasn’t moved and Bret is trying to fight up. Bret gets to his feet but can’t get the rope as Backlund pulls him down and puts on the bodyscissors along with the hold. Owen starts crying which Vince declares the TRUE Owen.
Vince says you can lose if you say you quit, which goes against what we saw earlier with Backlund but it’s the WWF so you can’t count on continuity. We go split screen to look at Bret’s parents as Bret has been in this hold for over four minutes. Owen goes over to plead to his mom (not Stu because Stu is smarter than this) as Bret is in agony. Bret taps but that doesn’t mean anything yet. The hold has now been on for six straight minutes and the fans are still behind Bret. The maniacal look on Bob’s face is great.
Owen begs his mom for help again and opens the barricade to bring his parents to ringside. Stu still doesn’t seem to buy anything Owen is saying. Owen picks up Bret’s towel and says for Helen to throw it in but Stu says no way. Owen gets the fans to cheer for Helen to throw in the towel and after nine and a half minutes in the hold, Helen takes the towel from Stu and throws it in, giving Backlund the title and STUNNING the fans. Owen throws his arms in the air and celebrates, sprinting to the back in triumph, because it was a SWERVE.
Rating: A. This match definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a fan of old school matches and psychology, you’re going to love this match. The whole thing is a massive story with the execution being done perfectly (or with excellence if you like plays on catchphrases). Bret and Backlund are both master technicians so the in ring stuff is as close to flawless as you’re going to get. The stuff with Owen is great too and the whole match is almost perfect. It runs about thirty five minutes though and if you’re not a fan of mat stuff and building to a big finish, you’re going to hate this.
One other thing: I’d like to point out that Davey Boy Smith has been out cold for almost eleven minutes now, hasn’t moved an inch, and is likely clinically dead yet hasn’t received any attention at all. Owen stepped over him about four times in the whole sequence.
Backlund’s face as he’s awarded the title is amazing as he looks somewhat retarded which pointing at himself. This is one of those moments where you look at the card on paper and say “well of course Bret retains. There’s no way they would make Backlund champion.” And then they DID and it was a legit shock. Backlund looks maniacal and the image of a plain guy in blue trunks being champion is kind of awesome as he’s all dangerous while looking nuts.
Owen celebrates in the back and cuts a great evil promo talking about how he’s the real king now and Bret is a nobody. This was the culmination of an incredible feud that ran for like a year.
Million Dollar Team vs. Guts And Glory
Tatanka, King King Bundy, Bam Bam Bigelow, Heavenly Bodies
Lex Luger, Adam Bomb, Mabel, Smoking Gunns
This is DiBiase’s team (DiBiase had hurt his neck and had to retire) vs. Luger in a continuation of a long feud. DiBiase had said that Luger had sold out and Tatanka, Luger’s friend, believed DiBiase. This led to a match at Summerslam where it turned out that TATANKA had been bought off in a swerve I liked a lot. This is Luger’s chance for revenge again.
Luger and Tatanka start things off, much to Tatanka’s surprise. Tatanka takes over to start and chops away but the ones to the chest don’t work on Luger. Does no one watch the NWA around here? Lex no sells a suplex and pounds away with all his usual stuff. A clothesline puts Tatanka on the floor so here’s Del Ray to be beaten up too. Mabel and Bundy come in but it’s just a staredown as it’s back to the starters. Now it’s officially Mabel vs. Prichard (the Bodies are Tom Prichard and Jimmy Del Ray) with the big man missing an elbow. Prichard pounds away but a middle rope cross body (Mabel weighs 500lbs) kills him dead.
It’s 5-4 now and Del Ray comes in for some dropkicks which have no effect. A Boss Man Slam takes Jimmy down so it’s off to Bundy vs. Mabel. They collide a few times until Mabel runs him over. Off to Bigelow who gets beaten down and Mabel goes up, only to get slammed down in a cool visual. Bigelow goes up for a sunset flip but Mabel sits on his chest for no cover. A Cactus Clothesline sends them both to the floor and Mabel can’t beat the count back in to tie things up.
Off to Billy Gunn vs. Del Ray which goes nowhere so here’s Bomb vs. Bigelow. This takes about 30 seconds with Bomb hitting a slingshot clothesline but getting hit in the head by Bundy. A moonsault takes Bomb out and it’s 4-3. Luger comes in immediately and tries a rollup but it just gets two. Off to Del Ray who hits a fast superkick to take Lex down. After some right hands from Jimmy, a running forearm smash catches him in the head and Luger ties it up.
It’s Tatanka/Bigelow/Bundy vs. Luger/Smoking Gunns. It’s Bart vs. Tatanka before Billy comes in for a double Russian legsweep for two. The Gunns pound away on Tatanka for a little while with Bart and his mullet of death hitting a monkey flip for two. The Sidewinder (side slam from Bart with a legdrop from Billy) gets two and it’s back to Bart, who like an IDIOT, tries a crucifix on a guy whose finisher is a Samoan Drop. Later Bart and it’s 3-2.
Billy vs. Tatanka goes nowhere so it’s back to Luger. Billy comes in and hip tosses Tatanka for two and an elbow drop gets the same. Luger and Gunn take turns on Tatanka’s arm until Billy gets caught in a powerslam. Off to Bundy who hits a splash and elbow to get us down to Luger vs. Bigelow, Bundy and Tatanka. It’s Luger vs. King Kong now but Lex goes after Tatanka because he’s A FREAKING MORON.
Luger gets caught in the evil corner and we play the numbers game for awhile. Luger hits a forearm to Tatanka but only gets two. A sunset flip almost gets a pin on Tatanka but a tag was made on the way down to bring in Bigelow. Bundy drops an elbow for two and Lex is in trouble. Bigelow drops a headbutt for a VERY fast two. DiBiase talks trash as it’s off to Bundy for more fat man offense.
Bundy drops an elbow for two as we’re reenacting the main event of the first Survivor Series, complete with two of the original people in it. Back to Tatanka who gets two off a powerslam and drops a bunch of elbows. In a stupid looking yet still good ending, Luger gets a fast small package for the pin on Tatanka, then lays down on the mat so Bundy can splash him for the final elimination. That looked stupid.
Rating: C. This wasn’t that bad actually and the ending was a nice surprise. There was no reason to have Luger come back here and having him lose was the right move. The feud didn’t really go anywhere after this and was more or less the ending of it. Luger’s collapse after Summerslam 1993 is a sight to see given how hot he was during the summer after his face turn.
A group beatdown on Lex follows the match. The Gunns and Bomb make the save.
Backlund has a press conference and says he’s going to homogenize and synchronize the fans. It’s time for Sports Education and he’s been champion for sixteen years now. I love this character, which is a shame because he would lose the title to Diesel less than a week later in eight seconds.
Here’s Chuck Norris to be guest referee for the main event.
Quick recap before we get to casket match. This is a rematch of a casket match at the Royal Rumble (don’t get me started on that mess) where about ten guys came out to help Yokozuna beat Undertaker. Norris is here to stop interference.
Yokozuna vs. Undertaker
This is a casket match where you have to throw your opponent in the casket and close it to win. Druids bring out the casket of course. Yoko is so fat here it’s unreal. Taker does the throat slit from across the ring and Yoko falls down. A Yoko splash in the corner is no sold but the fat man stops before he gets thrown to the casket. Yoko winds up on top of the casket to further freak him out.
They fight to the floor with Taker in control. Back inside Old School staggers Yoko but he catches Taker in a Samoan Drop. Taker doesn’t sell it but the move did hit. A headbutt puts Taker down but he won’t go in the casket. Back in and Taker misses an elbow but sits up anyway. A Rock Bottom puts Taker down and Yoko drops a leg while he’s sitting up to keep the dead man (as in Undertaker, not the legitimately dead Yokozuna) down.
Taker gets put in the casket but he blocks it from being closed. They both wind up in the box and slug it out but Mr. Fuji pulls Taker’s hair to break things up. Cornette (Yoko’s other manager) gets drilled as well and we head back inside. Yoko sends him back to the floor and rams him into the steps (from inside the ring, which is kind of impressive). Back inside and they slug it out with Taker slamming Yoko’s head into the mat.
Taker channels his inner Kane and hits a top rope clothesline to put Yokozuna down. As he’s rolling the fat man over, here’s King Kong Bundy to glare at Norris. Bigelow comes out as well but nothing comes of it. Nothing comes of it on their end at least as IRS comes in and beats up Undertaker, which would also set up the Undertaker vs. DiBiase’s Corporation feud for 1995. Taker gets put in the casket but by the time Yoko gets there, Taker blocks the lid from closing. Jeff Jarrett comes out to challenge Norris and gets kicked in the chest. Taker hits a DDT and a big boot to send Yokozuna into the casket for the win.
Rating: D. This was really dull stuff and the ending was never in doubt. Once Yokozuna got this fat he was just worthless. This was the last we would see of him until Wrestlemania where he came back EVEN BIGGER. Norris didn’t really add much here but the fans liked him and that’s all that really matters. Thankfully this feud ended here.
Overall Rating: C-. This isn’t a terrible show but there are some bad parts to it. The interesting thing is that in a lot of parts, this is a sequel of last year’s show. Last year we heard rumblings of Shawn being the REAL Intercontinental Champion and he was facing Razor here, Taker vs. Yoko is a direct continuation, and Bret vs. Owen started at the 93 show and it’s almost over here (they would interact at the Rumble and have one big blowoff match after that). Anyway, this isn’t bad but a lot of people would be bored by the title match, which is understandable. Not a great show but it’s watchable, except for the clowns.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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