Long time followers of Voices of Wrestling will know my distain for traditional Survivor Series matches. I hate them, can’t stand them, I want nothing to do with them. They go on forever, most don’t accomplish anything and they are filled with crappy finishes with guys who normally only lose to a finish losing via roll-up or body slam. Outside of a few notable examples, I hate them. (Feel free to throw the tomatoes now).
Somehow though, Survivor Series is one of my favorite World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-views for two reasons: the Survivor Series teams and their pre-match promos. There’s just something so appealing and fun about a mismatched (sometimes perfectly aligned) smorgasbord of over-the-top characters screaming at the top of their lungs.
These mega stars and mega characters lumped into mismatch team with a silly pun-filled name cutting a screaming promo backstage with “Mean” Gene Okerlund caught our imagination. It’s something we’re all hoping to return to and relive our memories, I’m not sure that will ever happen but, hey, we can go back and talk about our favorites!
The Rude Brood
(Survivor Series 1989)
Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect, The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques and Raymond)
This one gets on the list almost solely because of their awesome name — The Rude Brood, the team also features two of my favorite wrestlers of the era in Rude and Mr. Perfect. Add in the always awesome Fabulous Rougeaus team and you have yourself an elite in-ring team. Rude, always one to show off by way of airbrushed trunks, really outdid himself on this occasion getting the head of each of his teammates painted onto his trunks.
The Rogeaus, playing up their Americanness as a heel tactic, spend a majority of the pre-match promo smiling like morons waiving miniature American flags while Perfect uses his promo time making (by my count) 15 “Perfect” puns including, in reference to Roddy’s Rowdies member Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka:
“Everyone talks about your savageness, well let me tell you something plain and simple, you better take a good look at Mr. Perfect because I have a way to eliminate you, the perfect way!”
Perfect was a man of his word, emerging victorious after eliminating Snuka with the Perfectplex and reigning supreme as the sole survivor of the match.
Before moving on I want to talk about the awesome graphic we have for this match. First off, oh my god, how coked up is Jimmy Snuka, he’s also lit weird as hell so I’m assuming they just cornered him and snapped this picture, at least I hope so. Why is Mr. Perfect so depressed, I guess he’s supposed to come off as “smug” but it looks more like someone just killed his dog.
(Survivor Series 1990)
The Ultimate Warrior, The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal), The Texas Tornado (Kerry Von Erich)
Oh boy. I’ll admit, I’m not a big fan of any of these guy’s in-ring work but I’d be lying if I didn’t say this may be my favorite Survivor Series team of all time.
Let’s look at the basics: holy shit are these guys coked out of their mind. Their pre-match promo is a two minute PSA on the dangers of cocaine abuse as the men take turn screaming like mad men. Warrior begins the promo standing in the background with his mouth open smiling at the lights or something, god only knows.
I’d try to transcribe the Warrior’s promo but c’mon, it won’t make sense anyway — he says something about skeleton’s already making sacrifices and how his team was going to walk farther than the rest.
Another reason this is one of my favorite teams is the characters involved. I make light of their screaming promos but it’s something I genuinely miss into today’s wrestling world. There’s some engaging about a wrestler staring directly at the camera to cut his promo. You still see it on the independent scene and in Japan but I think it’s sorely missed in America in favor of the voyeur-style “camera isn’t really here” backstage “promo”. Even when we do get a backdrop promo, the wrestler stares at the interviewee as opposed to the millions at home, it makes the words absolutely meaningless.
In this case, the words of The Warriors were meaningless but hell if we weren’t enthralled.
The Dream Team
(Survivor Series 1990)
Koko B. Ware, Dusty Rhodes, The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart)
In the annals of great on-screen graphics, few, if any, can top Dusty Rhodes’ image from Survivor Series 1990. Just look at it! I remember the first time I watched this VHS, my friend and I continued to rewind the tape to look at it and laughed harder each time we saw it. I dare you to stare at it for 45 seconds without laughing, just try it.
I get the name of the team, you have the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes and the one of the best tag-teams in history (The Hart Foundation) but man, Koko B. Ware? Then again, he is in the WWE Hall of Fame so I should cut him some slack.
There was no pre-match promo for The Dream Team but thankfully because of the greatest of YouTube, I was able to find the pre-show where we get a quick promo from the squad:
The Dream Team is going to be YOUR worst nightmare, right boys?! -Bret Hart
That’s the highlight of the promo sadly.
The match itself is memorable for a few things. First off, the pop Rhodes gets when he comes out is amazing, breathtaking just how over Rhodes was at this period in spite of the effort to destroy him by Vince McMahon and WWE.
Another interesting note, The Dream Team faced off against The Million Dollar Team who teased a mystery opponent, it ended up being “Mean” Mark Callous in some weird Wild West style-mortician attire, very weird, won’t last. He made quick work of Koko B. Ware then got counted out while attacking Rhodes outside the ring.
The Dream Team ended up victorious when Bret Hart reversed a Ted DiBiase flying bodypress, rolling The Million Dollar Man into a pin for the 1-2-3. This was a cool finish in that it played off Hart’s ability to get a pin out of nowhere — he eliminated Greg Valentine by reversing his Figure-Four Leg Lock. The issue, though, is these finishes were all too common at Survivor Series, flukey wins when fans were trained to get substantial finishes on PPV. Sure, these types of wins would work on Superstars, but why are stars losing to roll-ups on PPV? Oh well.
(Survivor Series 1993)
Yokozuna, Ludvig Borga, Quebecer Jacques, Crush
Those darn foreigners. Let’s do a quick count here: Yokozuna (born in United States), Crush (United States), Quebecer Jacques (Canada), Ludvig Borga (Finland). Not bad, I thought it would be worse as most “foreign” teams in WWE history are either mostly American or Japanese, er… “Oriental.”
I love the managers in this image, you have Jim Cornette front and center who cut an amazing promo leading up to this match:
Let me just say, we’ve sat down and thought about this. The All-Americans, we look at them like one man because they fight together, they stick together and they think as one man. They’re a unit. So how do you take a man out? Well, you can go for the mind, you can go for the heart or you can go for the soul.
I won’t transcribe the entire thing here, but it’s one of the better promos I’ve heard in a long time. Cornette made this meaningless match seem like the most important thing ever. He’s so good at this.
Anyway, back to the managers, Mr. Fuji is there, you can barely be seen behind the massive Yokozuna and wait, oh, hey there Johnny Polo! Quebec Jacques fresh off his run as The Mountie is there too although you can barely tell because he’s been relegated to “out of the light” (literally).
If this team looks thrown together, they were. Yokozuna and Crush make sense, Crush had recently turned on America for his third gimmick in the last few years. Has anyone else changed gimmicks so much without ever having to change their name? Seriously, think about it. He was a member of Demolition, a Hawaiian dude, whatever this gimmick is supposed to be, jailbird Crush with the Nation of Domination and biker Crush with the Disciples of Apocalypse.
The Foreign Fanatics ended up losing the match to The All-Americans team consisting of Lex Luger, The Steiner Brothers and… The Undertaker? Weird fit indeed, the match was not very good and it capped off what, in my mind, was one of the worst Survivor Series ever. The Undertaker and Yokozuna were counted out when they brawled to the outside. Three total wrestlers were counted out of his main event when Crush was counted out earlier brawling with Randy Savage on the floor. Feel the excitement! Luger scored the final pinfall over Borga by running elbow smash and celebrated alongside Santa Claus. Yes, Santa Claus.
(Survivor Series 1994)
Jeff Jarrett, Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, Shawn Michaels and Diesel
Wow. This is without the gayest team I’ve ever seen, I’m sorry, that’s offensive to homosexuals because the majority of you wouldn’t wear what Shawn Michaels or Jeff Jarrett are wearing. Wow, is there a lot to handle in that picture. Let’s break it down one-by-one.
Jeff Jarrett is wearing fluffy, leopard printed country singer/cowboy get-up and when combine that with his flowing blonde locks of hair, man is that just a lot to handle.
Owen Hart has the weirdest look on his face, half devious smile, half in-the-middle of a fart, who knows what we’re trying to accomplish here. I especially loved the Jim Neidhart “in Owen’s ear” motion because as you remember Neidhart was advising Owen at the time, so he was literally in his ear. I honestly don’t know if that’s what they were trying to accomplish here but it’s a good assumption so I’m sticking with it.
Is Shawn Michaels leaning on Diesel’s shoulder? While wearing a white leopard printed bondage outfit? I think it’s just the way the images are cut, but I can’t really tell. Either way, it’s a weird looking for Michaels who may have been the worst dresser in WWE history (and that’s saying a lot). Diesel is just too cool for school as always, smarmy, snarky, I don’t know how to describe it but he’s the least intimidating big man in the world right here.
I haven’t even gotten to the best part — their name! Why in the hell are they The Teamsters? Are we led to believe a country singer, a sexy guy, the brother of Bret Hart, a guy named after an anvil and I guess a truck driver are apart of a labor union? Was Diesel supposed to be a truck driver in the first place? This was Diesel’s team as he was captain, so I don’t know, I guess it’s named after him, somehow… I’m not getting it, what am I missing here?
The Teamsters were defeated by The Bad Guys (now this name makes sense)!: Razor Ramon, 1-2-3 Kid, The British Bulldog, Fatu and Sione. Diesel eliminated the first three men (Fatu, 1-2-3 and Sione) and forced Bulldog out of the ring for the countout. It was then that Michaels and Diesel got into a fight causing the two to brawl to the outside. The rest of the Teamsters chased after their leaders urging them to get back into the ring. Owen Hart was the most vocal continuing to explain: “Get back into the ring, we’re going to get counted out!”
With no precedent whatsoever, the referee counted all men out and Ramon (the last survivor of The Bad Guys) emerged victorious. Remember when I said I hated the match structure of Survivor Series matches? Yup, this match right here. It wasn’t all bad, we got to see Gorilla Monsoon and Vince McMahon wearing this get-up which sadly wasn’t brought back out of the WWE vault on this Monday’s Raw Country.
Those are five of my favorite Survivor Series of all-time? What’s your favorite? Let us know either in the comments below or tweet us (@VoicesWrestling).