Hey, let's put a bow on the 80s with the final match of the Survivor Series and NO HOLDS BARRED: THE MATCH
The Ultimate Warriors (Warrior, Neidhart, & The Rockers) vs The Heenan Family (Heenan himself filling in for Tully, Double A, Haku, and a blink and you'll miss him Andre)
Tully was fired the day of the show for failing a drug test. I heard it was coke. How do you get fired from 80s WWF for doing too much coke? Did anyone watch any promo on this show? That's like getting fired from Right Said Fred for being sexy. My guess is Vince had another problem with Tully and wanted to fuck him over or at least deny him a final payday. Or maybe we're all confused and he was actually fired for not doing enough coke? Anyway, firing Tully actually fucked Arn as WCW had a good deal on the table specifically for the team of Tully and Arn. Without Tully, Double A got a lesser deal.
They couldn't just call them The Warriors because then the Baseball Furies, Turnbull ACs, and those weirdos on rollerskates might have showed up for a rumble.
Warrior, in a neat touch, is wearing face paint that incorporates pink and lime green, for Neidhart and the Rockers.
WWF was trying to send the Hart Foundation on their separate ways...by keeping them both in the same gear with the same music. Allrighty. Then again, Bret stayed the same for the the rest of his career, so what do I know?
It seems we've documented Andre's decline over the course of these reviews. From main eventing Mania 3, to being hidden in tag matches, and now, in this match, he's out by countout in 27 seconds. I don't know what he does at the Rumble but I know, at Mania 6, he and Haku lose the belts without Andre tagging in at all.
This match is really "fuck those fans," part 3. You thought you were getting an epic Warrior/Andre confrontation? You'll get a midcarder, a tag wrestler, and a manager in the main event and you'll like it.
Haku superkicks Neidhart in the back of the head and they totally miss it.
Warrior is a really aimless third wheel in this. There's a spot where Michaels keeps Haku & Arn from double suplexing Jannetty by catching him, and Warrior comes in on the run-in with Michaels but then just kinda stands there. Later, he kind of assists on top rope moves, giving Michaels a pushoff, whatever, just doing anything to stay relevant in the bulk of the match, which is essentially the Rockers vs Haku & Arn show. There are spots where Warrior is pacing the apron to look active and I'm really worrying about someone running into him as they run the ropes.
All that being said, Warrior and Michaels do a sweet Midnight Express "Rocket Launcher" at one point.
Heenan pins Jannetty in a weird spot. Haku superkicks Jannetty and can't get the pin. Heenan tags in, hits a stomp and a kneedrop, and pins him clean. Monsoon tries to sell it like Heenan picked the bones but it definitely looked like Bobby finished him fairly, as he did kick out of Haku's finish. The way to properly tell that story is having Haku hit Marty with his finish, then tag Bobby in so he can get the pin right away. The way they did it, it came off like Haku couldn't beat Marty, but Heenan could.
Watch this match just for the Anderson/Michaels stuff, which is all very good.
Don't listen to the old guys shitting on today's wrestling, part 10,231: Arn slaps his thigh during a collision with Michaels.
Fun bit as Heenan twice sells coming off the top to the floor, thinking better of it both times.
Warrior is limited as fuck here, all bearhugs and shoulderblocks. I guess he should have just worked Rude the rest of his career and it's no wonder Rude was his first real challenger for the world title.
Arn hits a MASSIVE spinebuster on Michaels to put him out. It sure looked like Shawn hit his head pretty good on the mat there. But nobody knew anything about concussions in 1989, of course.
Warrior beats Arn and ends up alone with Bobby for a quick win. I was worried about Heenan but nothing really happened. Heenan didn't go up for the press slam this time. That's why they call him The Brain. He does an awesome spinning bump off a flying shoulder, though. Warrior gets the pin and is the sole survivor.
The match was good in spots, but was a real bait and switch with the absence of both Tully and Andre. Warrior regressed after his impressive SummerSlam match with Rude and was pretty much a non-factor until the finish. Weird match but watch it for the good parts.
No Holds Barred: The Match (Hogan & Beefcake vs Savage and Zeus in a cage)
This was taped during a Wrestling Challenge taping on December 12 and aired on PPV December 27 as part of a package deal with No Holds Barred: The Movie (written by McMahon, Bollea, and Cocaine).
Sloppy 80s WWF production: they couldn't take down the very conspicuous Wrestling Challenge banners first?
LOOOOOOOOL these carny fuckers promoted this PPV as a Christmas present you could give to the Sports Entertainment enthusiast in your household.
I absolutely swear I remember hearing, at various times, that this match was taped at a few different TV tapings and they used the best version of it on the show OR Frankensteined the cuts into one good match. Nothing about that on Wikipedia, though, so maybe that's just some wrestling apocrypha.
On Peacock, this is on WWF Supertape 1 (thanks, all!). I FFWD'd the show to get to this and got so far, I was worried the match wasn't actually on the show. With 14 minutes left on the tape, Mooney finally throws it to this match, calling it THE TAG TEAM EVENT OF THE DECADE! Didn't the 80s have Slaughter/Kernodle vs Steamboat/Youngblood? Wasn't Mania 1 headlined by a pretty notable tag match?
Speaking of FFWD'ing through Supertape 1, there's a feature on the Bushwackers and THREE BUSHWACKER MATCHES IN A ROW and holy fuck that's got to be one of the circles of hell.
It's a fun match and they were right to only give it maybe 11 minutes. It doesn't overstay its welcome.
Heels on top at first as Sherri grabs a chain that Hogan had brought, and locks Beefcake in there with the heels. The obvious flaw in the plan is that a) Hebner has the key! and b) there's no roof on the cage, so Hogan just climbs on in.
It's cage escape rules (please remember this!) and Jesse, always excellent on commentary, puts over the importance of timing since the first man to escape would leave his partner at a disadvantage.
The match is Texas Tornado style, which adds a lot to it since they can just have a fun little brawl.
At some point in here, Vince references fans possibly missing out on seeing the Rumble and Mania but doesn't elaborate and I have no idea what the fuck he's on about.
Heels go back on top for a bit when Sherri interferes. Quadruple down as Hogan hits a scary backdrop suplex to take Zeus off the second turnbuckle -- Zeus reached back to break his fall and all I could think of was Rey Fenix dislocating his elbow that way. Savage and Beefcake comically ram each other's faces into the cage at the same time.
Beefcake gets out first. I overestimate Hogan's ego, assuming he'd then dominate both the heels. But no. Beefcake drags Savage out of the cage, a move both smart and dumb at the same time. Savage is bleeding and I have no idea when he bladed or why.
Hogan hits three legdrops on Zeus and the Hebner runs in to count the pin. WUT. This was Zeus' last match so of course Hogan had to get the final, decisive win. But the possibility of a pin was never mentioned and it was weird.
Jesse elaborates somewhat on Vince's earlier tirade...apparently there's some disagreement with a cable company somewhere and fans need to contact their local provider, lest they miss out on the upcoming shows. Okay.
Like I said, fun, simple, short match to blow off the Zeus program and, in fact, end the 1980s!
Aw shit, guys, on to the 1990s! The Rumble is next.