Duan, Alan, and Big D wrote about their favorite Survivor Series matches in part one. If you missed part one, check it out.
Don and I give our favorites for part two.
Favorite Survivor Series Match (Elimination Style)
Survivor Series 1990 – The Dream Team vs. The Million Dollar Team
Picking my favourite Survivor Series match is like choosing between free pizza or free beer. Hulkamaniacs vs. Million Dollar Team (‘89), or Dream Team vs. Million Dollar Team (‘90)?
I was doing the whole puberty thing at the time, subscribed to the WWF magazine, and wrestling was REAL, damnit! But the match I’m picking is the one that was part of the very first live WWF Pay Per View I ever saw. The debut of a legend, alongside that Million Dollar Laugh. That Million Dollar Smile.
Do right, honey child, you bet I’m picking Dusty Rhodes’ Dream Team vs. Million Dollar Team. First thing you need to know about this match is it’s being called by Gorilla Monsoon and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, so you know it’s going to be fun.
The 1990 feud between Ted DiBiase and Dusty Rhodes culminated in this Survivor Series elimination match, with Dusty, Koko B. Ware, Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart (Hart Foundation) taking on DiBiase (w/ Wrestling Superstar Virgil), Rhythm and Blues (Honky Tonk Man/Greg Valentine, w/Jimmy Hart), and a mystery partner.
After weeks of touting (before there was Tout) this HUGE mystery partner who didn’t turn out to be the Gobbly Gooker, DiBiase brought out The Undertaker, with Brotha Love as his short-term manager.
“Holy cow! Look at the size of THAT ham hock! Check out them drumsticks, baby!” – some of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper’s first words upon seeing The Undertaker
Taker started out the match against Bret and Neidhart, neither of which got anywhere. Koko was next and became the first man to eat a Tombstone. Amazing how slowly the referees counted to three back in the day.
I love watching this match just to mark out. So many old school wrestlers. So many different looks. Honky. DiBiase, THE HAMMER, Dusty, Taker, Bret, and even Neidhart. When Dusty and Valentine started trading chops, I wince at how bruised their chests must have been the next day.
When you watch how smoothly Honky moved around the ring, and how easily he riled up the crowd alongside Jimmy Hart yelling out “COME ON BABY” through his megaphone… it makes me long for the good ol’ days.
As I’m watching this match, Jim Neidhart just pinned Honky with a regular powerslam. Gotta love the Survivor Series. And DiBiase just pinned Neidhart with a clothesline! Yes! It’s amazing watching as an adult and now seeing just how much these guys talked to each other in the ring. Lean against the ropes, whisper a bit in the ear… how did I not see that as a kid?
More great old-school fun, and then Dusty gets trapped. Taker tags in and ends up hitting Dusty with a double axehandle from the top rope. So long Dusty. So now we have Bret Hart vs. Greg Valentine, Ted DiBiase, and The Undertaker. Why aren’t you watching this match right now?
Somehow Undertaker gets counted out while going after Dusty, who was laying into Blubber Love (Piper’s nickname). To be fair, we never did see Taker tag in Valentine, but he was standing on the apron while Valentine and Hart were wrestling. But hey, logic. Gorilla plays off it like Taker didn’t understand the rules.
“He looks scary! He’s big! But he’s dumb!” – Hot Rod
And now Bret has a fighting chance! And the crowd is really getting into it. Bret reverses a figure four into a small package for the pin, and Roddy Piper is in full mark out mode.
“All right Bret! We love you, baby!”
Down to Bret vs. DiBiase, a main event in any building, and they have the crowd’s full attention. They brawl outside the ring (after Bret hits a plancha to the outside of the ring!) and the referee counts, then restarts the count, then restarts the count again. Wrestling rules. And what a match Hart/DiBiase turns out to be. Bret fakes a knee injury, Virgil gets involved but hit accidentally by DiBiase, but then DiBiase rolls through a crossbody to pin Hart.
Love the ending, as Bret showed what he would become, and DiBiase manages to survive.
Survivor Series 1990 – Million Dollar Team vs… by Mik-49
Survivor Series 1990 – Survivors Match
The WWF did something that I thought was really cool at the time and something that I had thought about when I first watched the Survivor Series. They had the survivors of each elimination match meet in a final match. Of course, it was good guy survivors against bad guy survivors. When it finally came to fruition, I was full of joy seeing an idea I had come to life.
In retrospect, I think I understood why they did it for this one year. It was the fourth Survivor Series and the problem with most Survivor Series matches is that it’s the ultimate climax without much stipulation. And back then, there were four of five of these matches per show. A lot of times, I was left feeling, “Okay, now what happens next?” There wasn’t much resolution of importance. On this show, for the only time, there was a “what happens next”. The two survivors of the survivors match were the two biggest stars in the company, and at some point, Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior may have been headed toward a rematch at WrestleMania VII, five months later. (Even though it never happened.)
The final survivors match wasn’t necessarily all that exciting, but it was special. At the time, the Ultimate Warrior was the champ. Hogan took the summer off and came back for Summer Slam. So we weren’t tired of him. And, we got to see both guys work twice in one night, which rarely happened.
In the first match of the night, the Ultimate Warrior was the sole survivor of his match, so he qualified for the final match. In the second match, like Don just wrote about, Ted DiBiase was the sole survivor. In match three, Rick Martel’s entire team, the Visionaries (with Warlord and Power & Glory) survived. In the fourth match, it was Hogan who was the sole survivor. And surprisingly, in the fifth match, Tito Santana was the sole survivor.
That gave us a final elimination match of Hulk Hogan, Warrior, and Tito Santana against Ted DiBiase, Rick Martel, Warlord, and Power & Glory. It was so awesome to see Tito in the final match (and getting the first pin) and teaming up with the Hulkster. Based on who the opponents are, you knew the babyfaces were winning. You’d get to see Hogan use a lariat to pin Paul Roma. Warrior and Hogan showed a bit of chemistry as a team, tagging in and out at opportune times to get the victory. Things like that appealed to the 14-year old me.
And they never did it again. It was a one-time deal to continue to keep Hogan and Warrior hot.