Wednesday, November 1, 2023

The History of WWE Survivor Series (1993)

After three pretty bad editions of the Thanksgiving Night/Eve Spectacular, the show returned to its roots in 1993...

Survivor Series 1993 - Boston Garden - 11/24/93

Well that's more like it.  The '93 Series PPV was something of a return to form after the format had been watered down and then abandoned completely over the three previous years.  This show marks the first time a wrestling PPV had ever been held in Boston, so it has some sentimental value for me.  I was tempted to buy a ticket, but since it was Thanksgiving Eve and I'd have to travel home to the 'burbs anyway, I opted to watch on the tube.

This show not only put the focus back on the elimination matches, but for the first time since 1990 the main event was one of them.  The company made the most of a terribly depleted roster and put on a pretty damn good show, all things considered.  This would sadly be Bobby Heenan's final WWF PPV, as he would soon leave the company and wind up in WCW.
The show kicked off with a bang as the Razor Ramon-led team of Marty Janetty, 1-2-3 Kid, and Randy Savage (subbing for Mr. Perfect) faced IRS, Rick Martel, Adam Bomb, and Diesel.  The midcard crew brought their working shoes and set the bar fairly high.  This match benefited from some unpredictable eliminations, as neither team captain was among the final four participants.  It eventually came down to Janetty/Kid vs. Diesel/Adam Bomb, and the underdog babyfaces pulled out the surprise win to a huge pop.  Helluva nice opening match.

Next up was a bizarre but unexpectedly well-worked match between four Hart Brothers (Bret, Owen, Keith and Bruce) and a team of masked Knights that was supposed to have been led by Jerry Lawler but due to allegations of sexual assault against "The King", Shawn Michaels took his place.  While from a storyline perspective this made zero sense, Michaels' involvement in the match instantly added to its "star rating."  This was a wild, fast-paced match with some great mat wrestling and some spectacular bumping by Shawn, and eventually Michaels ended up alone against all four Harts.  Then suddenly Owen was eliminated after an accidental ring apron collision with Bret, planting the seeds for the wonderful Bret-Owen feud of 1994.  Shawn took a powder a few minutes later, and the remaining three Harts won the match.  I've read a lot of reviews that slag this match off as pointless and boring, but despite only featuring three full-time WWF guys I still thought this was the best match on the card.  I suppose it's kinda hard to go wrong when you have Bret, Shawn and Owen in the same match.

Only three full-time WWF roster members in this match.

The one non-Survivor Series match on the card was a Smoky Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Title match, as the Rock & Roll Express took on the Heavenly Bodies.  Seeing Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson in a WWF ring was pretty surreal, but the match was quite good.  I don't think Boston was the right city for this, as probably few fans in the building knew who these guys were.  Regardless I have no complaints about the match itself.

The one stinker on this card was next, as Team Doink (featuring Men on a Mission and The Bushwhackers in Doink makeup, but no Doink himself) took on Bam Bam Bigelow, Bastion Booger, and the Headshrinkers.  This was purely a comedy match and went mercifully fast.  The Doink team swept, largely using nefarious means which I found irksome.  Pretty superfluous stuff.

The main event had a nice epic feel to it, as The All-Americans - Lex Luger, The Steiner Brothers, and The Undertaker (subbing for an "injured" Tatanka) faced The Foreign Fanatics - Yokozuna, Ludvig Borga, Quebecer Jacques Rougeau, and Crush (subbing for an "injured" Quebecer Pierre).  In the same vein as the late 80s Survivor Series main events, this bout featured hard-hitting power wrestling and some nice strategy (saving Taker and Yokozuna for the later stages of the match for example).  Eventually Taker and Yoko eliminated each other, sparking a new feud between them, and Luger vanquished Borga to become the sole survivor.  Not a technical masterpiece by any means, but this was a worthy Series main event and a lot of fun.

Jacques Rougeau is sadly the only surviving member of his 1993 team.

For the first time since 1989 it seemed like the company was taking the Survivor Series concept seriously again.  Four of the five matches were traditional elimination matches, and three of them were quite good.  There were multiple substitutions, but they pretty much all improved the quality of the matches and a couple of them were clearly planned.  For one year at least, Survivor Series was somewhat back to its old self.

Best Match: Harts vs. Michaels' Knights
Worst Match: Four Doinks vs. Team Bam Bam
What I'd Change: I'd have actually put Doink in the Four Doinks match!
Most Disappointing Match: Nothing really disappointed me as I wasn't expecting to like the Doink-Bigelow match anyway.
Most Pleasant Surprise: Shawn taking Lawler's place.  The addition of Michaels clearly made this match better than it would've otherwise been.
Overall Rating: 7.5/10
Better than WrestleMania IX and/or SummerSlam '93? - Yes on both.

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