WWE // 1992 // 800 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // January 28th, 2010
It's time to meet your maker.
Back in the days before World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly the WWF) started gouging wrestling fans with thirteen pay-per-views a year, they presented only the "Big Four." These included the Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summerslam, and the Survivor Series. Of these four, Survivor Series was the one that you didn't buy, because you were nearly guaranteed to get ripped off. Unlike the Royal Rumble match, which was a yearly gimmick that gave the winner a shot against the champion at Wrestlemania, the Survivor Series gimmick had no consequence. All these matches consisted of were teams of four or five wrestling each other in elimination style tag team matches. The teams always seemed chosen at random, the matches were consistently bad, and it was a boring show. By now, they have all but eliminated the match, making it just another PPV; but going back to watch these old shows, I can see that my young mind already knew what a bad show looked like. I was not wrong about the quality of these shows.
I'll never say that any or all of these events are universally bad, but they all carry the same burden of having matches that only marginally relate to the storylines at large. There are some very good matches here, but in general, Survivor Series is a forgettable line of pay-per-views. In any case, this is the second 5-disc set from WWE, spanning the middle '90s.
Ironically, 1992 was the first year that the WWF began to question their gimmick, turning this show into a standard pay-per-view format with a single traditional elimination tag match. While they were inevitably correct in their assessment of the match, which was lame, they would revert back to the old style for the next few years. Mostly, this is a show full of god-awful matches. Big Boss Man vs. Nailz in a "nightstick on a pole" match and Yokozuna vs. Virgil, Ted Dibiase's former valet, do not inspire confidence in a show. The match pitting Randy Savage and Mr. Perfect vs. Ric Flair and Razor Ramon and the main even featuring Bret Hart against Shawn Michaels (in an early match of their long standing rivalry) help make the whole picture better, but this is an event that, overall, is best forgotten.
If they learned their lesson with the previous year's show, it doesn't reflect in their 1993 entry in the Survivor Series. I've watched a lot of wrestling in my day, and this is very likely the worst pay-per-view wrestling has ever aired. This horror show revisits the old gimmick, but it works no better than it used to. The elimination match that pits The Four Doinks (a washed-up Bushwackers and a never-was Mo and Mabel, all in clown makeup) again Team Bam Bam (Bigelow, Samu, Fatu, and Bastion Booger, of all people) may be the worst match I've ever seen. Truly atrocious, the less said about this show the better. We can only go up from here.
While a year didn't cure them of the need for elimination matches, WWE's 1994 entry is considerably better than in 1993. I can't condone the Royal Family (Jerry Lawler with three little people) against Clowns R' Us (Doink with his own team of little people), but the Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund submission match is excellent and the Undertaker/Yokozuna casket match is a good main event. The late Yokozuna was quite good for his size, until that very thig got the better of him.
We keep getting better and better as the years pass. Aside from a Bill Clinton impersonator, which is in supremely bad taste, especially regarding his reaction to the pyrotechnics, there isn't a lot to complain about this time. Some of the matches work better than others, but it's generally quite good. For the first time ever, we even have a women's elimination match, featuring some the best Japanese female performers of the era, including Lioness Asuka, Aja Kong, and Sakie Hasegawa. The main event, a championship contest between Bret Hart and Diesel is better than any Diesel match has any right to be.
Our final event on this set is the best of the bunch, and the Survivor Series emergence of the attitude era. Here we have some of the first days of two long feuds. The first pitting Undertaker against Mankind, with Paul Bearer suspended in a cage above the ring. This match doesn't get nearly as wild as some of their matches would, but it's excellent stuff. The second, and the much better match, at least in this case, puts Bret Hart against Steve Austin; the very best of the past against the very best of the present. Austin and Hart were two guys who really didn't like each other, and this came out brilliantly in their matches. Hard-hitting and compelling, this is fantastic action. The one complaint, although it's sort of amusing, has to do with the inclusion of Diesel and Razor Ramon. Earlier in the year, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, jumped ship to WCW, a massive strike in the Wrestling Wars. Vince McMahon, however, too stubborn to just move on, decided to put other wrestlers into the roles. Obviously, it's completely awful, but Vince's arrogance is always pretty funny.
WWE's 5-disc set comes in its usual handsome fold-up packaging, though the discs do tend to slip out of their sleeves. The audio and video are fine, virtually identical to the original broadcasts, and they get better as the years progress.
It's good that the set ends on a high note, otherwise its score would be considerably lower. Still, because the elimination matches force a lot of wrestlers into the ring at once; it's fun to be able to see some of the low rent "superstars" Vince McMahon carted out during this period, people like Adam Bomb, Doink, and the aforementioned Bastion Booger. For wrestling fans, it's totally worth watching. For people who don't like wrestling, why are you reading this?
Not guilty, but only on the grounds of nostalgia.
Review content copyright © 2010 Daryl Loomis; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 800 Minutes
Release Year: 1992
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* IMDb: Survivor Series 1992
* IMDb: Survivor Series 1993
* IMDb: Survivor Series 1994
* IMDb: Survivor Series 1995
* IMDb: Survivor Series 1996