wrestling / Video Reviews

WWF Survivor Series Showdown (11.12.1989) Review

September 4, 2020 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
WWF Survivor Series Showdown
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
WWF Survivor Series Showdown (11.12.1989) Review  

-This one actually isn’t on the Network, but it’s pretty easy to find with minimal detective skills.

-Originally aired November 12, 1989.

-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan in Studio A, Rowdy Roddy Piper in Studio B. Studio A actually has a different set, with Gorilla and Bobby sitting in what looks like a theater balcony.

-The concept for the special, once more, is that a series of random drawings were held to create five singles matches from the five tag team matches scheduled for Survivor Series.

-Gorilla mentions “rumors” swirling around and, without coming out and saying it, he asks if everything is okay in the family. Bobby doth protest too much and insists that everything is fine, regardless of whatever rumor Gorilla has heard.

TITO SANTANA (with Dusty Rhodes) vs. BIG BOSS MAN (with Akeem & Slick)

-Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura are doing commentary for all of tonight’s matches and they immediately have a weird exchange where Vince teases Jesse about not always liking the shows he’s assigned to do commentary for, and Jesse corrects him and says he doesn’t like calling commentary and not getting paid for it. And that turned out to be more than a little true.

-They lock up and the commentators immediately note that for some reason, Boss Man is already just totally soaked in sweat. Fat southern sheriffs are one thing, but fat southern prison guards aren’t really a stereotype, so it doesn’t make sense.

-Boss Man overpowers Tito and pounds on him, but Tito catches him with a pair of clotheslines and send him spilling out to the floor. Boss Man tries to mount some offense once he’s back in the ring, but Tito has found something that works, so he keeps doing the dropkicks and Boss Man is frustrated. And he actually should be because it looks like Tito made contact and you can see Boss Man’s eyes darken slightly and a trickle of blood from the bridge of the nose.

-Well, that’s about all Boss Man can take, so he starts getting more aggressive, and the tide turns RIGHT as we pause for commercials, and yay this copy has commercials.

-Oh my god, they’re sponsored by Dianetics.

-Also sponsored by that piece of crap wireless controller from Acclaim that ended up being about ten years ahead of technology being able to do that really well.

Back from commercial, Boss Man is targeting the back. Tito surprises Boss Man with a bodypress, but Boss Man kicks out with authority and sends him out to the floor. Tito Morton keeps taking a beating as the Doctor of Style, the closest thing we have to a ringside doctor, announces “No tacos for a month!” due to the ass-kicking dished out by the Boss Man.

-Boss Man rams Tito into the corner and whips him into the opposite corner, but he gets out of the way of Boss Man’s running kneelift, and Boss Man’s leg is injured. Tito goes for the figure four, but all of the guys at ringside hit the apron. Referee gets distracted by Slick. Akeem slips the nightstick to Boss Man, who knocks out Tito for the tainted victory…except that before the referee can actually count the pin, Dusty slips in with his own stolen nightstick and knocks Boss Man cold with it, then drags Tito’s body on top just as the referee turns around to count three, and Tito gets the surprise win. 1 for 1. Good surprising finish, with Tito just delivering a dependably good match the way he always did.

-GAME BOY! NEW FROM NINTENDO! Holy crap, it’s the power of Nintendo, but in the palm of my hand!

-Demolition are the Tag Team Champs once more!

-Bobby Heenan complains about the referee’s mistake, but also quietly insinuates that he thought the Busters screwed up the match and shouldn’t have lost under ANY circumstances, even if it was tainted.

Back to the Future Part II opens in ten days! Okay, that commercial break put a smile on my face.

BUSHWHACKER BUTCH (with Luke) vs. MR. PERFECT (with The Genius)

-Perfect and Butch both play to the crowd, and it’s actually a well-executed scheme by Perfect to make Butch turn his back. Sneak attack by Perfect is countered by Butch biting him on the leg, and Perfect retreats. Butch bites him on the ass while Jesse accuses Roddy Piper of poor planning by recruiting the tag team partners most likely to get disqualified.

-Perfect begins targeting the neck and gains some traction by doing whatever you call that thing where he lept over his opponent by holding their neck. Luke tries to motivate his cousin by making the King Hippo noise, and it inspires Butch to bite Perfect some more, and Jesse is just so exasperated that he’s doing this without consequence. What really horrifies Jesse is that referee Danny Davis is reprimanding Perfect for punches instead of Luke for biting, and Danny Davis used to be the best referee in the WWF! I like that, they generally pretended that Davis was never a wrestler before (which is why, even as a kid, I hated it when he did a ref bump) but there’s Jesse to make sure it’s always a thing about him.

-Luke begins chasing the Genius around, and Butch gets distracted by all the fun happening at ringside, allowing Perfect to sneak up and strike, and the Perfect-plex ensures that the Perfect Record lives another day. 1 for 2. That came out of NOWHERE, as it felt like they were still trying to find their footing with the match and suddenly they had to wrap it up.


-We get dueling promos from team captains. Rick Rude promises to get it down to 4 on 1, and then his teammates have pledged to hop off the apron at that point and just let him take care of Piper. Piper says he didn’t recruit pretty boys or perfection–he recruited fighters for his team.

HERCULES vs. “Macho King” RANDY SAVAGE (with Queen Sherri)
-“Scary Sherri!” chant gets going as Herc shoves Savage down. Savage’s purple and white “king” gear is a great look, and while I get why he did it and I should applaud someone for getting off the juice, “Neon Cowboy” Macho just never felt the same to me.

-Savage tries to get out of the ring for a retreat, giving us a cute spot where Sherri and Hercules have a tug-of-war with Savage’s body. Herc press slams the Macho King. Savage ends up on the floor again and uses Sherri as his human shield. Herc lifts her up and drops her on her ass to get her out of the way, and Jesse is righteously indignant. Savage sneaks up on Herc and takes him out with a knee to the back, and we take a break.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation! Damn, this was a great month for movies…

-In Studio A, Bobby Heenan has an important phone call to make and Gorilla let him leave the studio, so apparently the dissention is pretty bad.

-Back to the match! Sherri gives Herc a hard right, and for those keeping track, Vince actually cares enough to mention that she’s still the Women’s Champion. Savage snaps Herc’s neck over the top rope and goes for the pin, but he kicks out at two. Savage goes for the flying elbow, but Herc just straight up rolls out of the way, which you really never saw with that move. Herc lights into Savage with punch after punch and looks like he’s about to call it a night, but he gets distracted by Sherri on the apron. Savage tries to take advantage, but Herc anticipates and gets out of the way, and Savage FLIES over the top and crashes on the floor. Herc looks to finish again by suplexing him back in, but Sherri hooks the leg and Savage lands on top…for two.

-Bodypress by Savage, but Hercules catches him and makes it a backbreaker. Sherri slips in and puts a foot on the ropes to break the pin. So Herc just clotheslines Savage from every direction until Sherri’s interference FINALLY works; she yanks the top rope down, Herc tumbles over the top and onto the floor…and that still isn’t it. Savage wants a decisive win so he breaks the referee’s count and goes outside to put the boots to Herc. He tries to pull him back inside, but when they make it up to the apron, Herc snapmares him onto the floor. Luckily Sherri just happened to drop her purse, and Savage knocks him out for the three count. 2 for 3. AWESOME match, as they just went through a checklist of possible finishes and then didn’t actually finish with them, and it gave constant suspense to the second half of the bout.

-Bobby Heenan, acting quickly, comes out with the Colossal Connection, formally christened by Vince McMahon, and says Andre and Haku are going straight to Demolition to get the belts back for the Heenan Family. Andre cuts a pretty funny promo, yelling at Brother Love for trying to wrap it up early and going on his own tangent about loooooove…loving to hurt Demolition.


-This is a hard sell with a slew of promos, but literally nothing else matters once Jim Duggan cuts a promo declaring that his team has wood.

-Speaking of getting wood, Ed McMahon is in a commercial break! I’m so glad this ended up not being on the Network.

NON-TITLE: ULTIMATE WARRIOR (Intercontinental Champion) vs. TULLY BLANCHARD (with Dim Future)
-So things famously went south for Tully the DAY after this was taped, as he had a deal in place to jump back to whatever name Atlanta officially had at that point along with Arn Anderson to reform the Horsemen, and Vince surprised him with a “random” drug test to bust Tully for using cocaine, so officially he got fired instead of quitting. This immediately made Tully persona non grata to the Turner people and he was relegated to AWA purgatory for a few months before just leaving the business altogether.

-Warrior no-sells Tully’s punches and chops and Irish whips him over the top turnbuckle and straight down to the floor. Warrior just keeps destroying Tully out of the ring and in the ring, coming off the top with an axehandle. Warrior crashes on a corner charge, finally giving Tully a chance to get some work done while Vince says that somebody told him “in confidence” that there’s some really bad blood between Bobby Heenan and the Busters. Jesse tries to refute it while the camera cuts to Heenan absolutely screaming at Tully from ringside.

-Warrior tries to mount a comeback but misses an elbow, as the whole story of the match is that Tully can’t accomplish a damn thing unless Warrior screws up first. Tully comes off the top rope and gets caught in Warrior’s arms for a powerslam, and Heenan signals for Arn Anderson to get his ass in the ring to take out Warrior’s leg for the DQ. And Warrior shakes it off like nothing and just beats the hell out of the Busters on his own. Haku hits the ring and now that Haku’s in there, Warrior is actually in trouble until Warrior’s entire team shows up, which brings Andre out, and we have a West Side Story staredown as Warrior is declared the winner. 2 for 4. Crowd was hot for it, but Tully just got obliterated.

-The Hulkamaniacs yell.

SMASH vs. “The Million Dollar Man” TED DIBIASE

-Virgil is missing, and that’s immediately a problem, as Smash steals DiBiase’s wad of money, shoves it down his tights, and tells him to come get it. I can tell you from personal experience, that didn’t fly when I was a cashier at a wax museum, and frankly I resent the double standard here.

-Smash smashes DiBiase and follows with a clothesline. Another one sends DiBiase out to the floor. Smash follows him out there and goes for yet another clothesline, but his arm hits the post instead and DiBiase goes to work. Back in, DiBiase drops the fist and chokes him out. Rapid fire knees to the neck by DiBiase get two. He goes to a chinlock…

-And we return to the chinlock. DiBiase releases and tries stomping away, but he still hasn’t stuck his hand in Smash’s tights yet. Maybe he’s worried Smash isn’t softened up yet.

-So DiBiase applies a regular sleeper instead of the Million Dollar Dream, but Smash fights it off. DiBiase reapplies it. Smash fights it off. DiBiase…reapplies it, and Smash fights it off. Okay, guys. Smash finally starts with some semblance of a comeback, backdropping and powerslamming DiBiase. Zeus shows up invited and snaps Smash’s neck, leaving his body sprawled out on the floor. Ax races to ringside to check on his partner, and Virgil runs out too. Not for an attack but, in a nice touch, he and DiBiase are so shocked by Zeus’ viciousness that they rally around him and convince him to leave. 2 for 5. Pretty sluggish but the post-match antics were great.

-Bobby Heenan says he needs four spare tickets because he promised it to his friend Jason from The Wonder Years.

The final score: review Poor
The 411
Honestly not much to see here. The Survivor Series format doesn't really lend itself to a hard sell because there's no story to advance, so it's just five Prime Time feature matches and only two that worked for me.