Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Friday, November 22, 2019

New Footage Friday: Survivor Series Showdown 1992

ER: I have a feeling Phil might sit this one out, but these kind of drops are the kind of thing I adore. Obviously there should have been a Berzerker match on here somewhere (seriously why was he booked so strongly but rarely involved in PPVs or PPV build?), but this is an era that will always score major nostalgia points with me.

Big Boss Man vs. Nailz

MD: This was actually pretty good. Bossman had complete presence by this point. It's not hard to make the argument that he has a better WWF portfolio of matches than WWF Dibiase, but you watch this and wonder if he wasn't a better "ring general" too. They'd been working since July and it showed. Very smooth all around. The long goozle in the middle was a bit much but Bossman's comebacks were good and the finish, while cheap, more or less worked. Honestly, Nailz moved around a lot better than I remembered him.

ER: This is exciting because it's the first time we've ever written about Nailz on Segunda Caida. We wrote about him a lot on our proto-SC blog "Nailz in the Coffin" but not on here. This also feels like the best time - maybe the only time - to mention that a kid I went to school with thought Nailz was also Dauber on the TV show Coach. And this match rules because a ton of it is based around punches to the face. Nailz gets written about as a big lug, but he bumped around perfectly for Bossman, threw heavy punches back, and was right where he needed to be for everything. Bossman really came off like a force here, moving so quick, throwing the best right hands to punch Nailz into position (seriously there were at least two moments where he just threw right hands to move Nailz to where he needed him. Bossman takes a nice bump into the ring steps, sets up a fun slam dunk hot shot on Nailz, misses a big splash, gets a nice nearfall off a spinebuster slam, actually press slams Nailz off him on a kickout like Nailz was some cruiser, but you came for those big right hands and you left satisfied.

Jimmy Garvin interview:

MD: This is mildly historic, one of those things that always stood out when looking through the results, an oddball "did you know?" It was brutal. Garvin could work the crowd, but Gene kept wanting him to work the camera. He could get heat, but his means of doing so was taunting Gene's affinity for females. Add in the fact that he kept trying to get the last word in a way that killed the flow of things and that he refused to go into detail on any of his heel-specific predictions and it's no wonder (though likely a shame) that this didn't become an actual gig. The alternate reality where Garvin is an office guy twenty years later instead of Hayes is strange and confounding.

ER: I think Garvin got into the swing of the interview style pretty quickly. Early on he was definitely cutting Gene off in the wrong spots and not hitting his marks, but a couple minutes in he was picking up on camera changes and improvising his amusing support for every heel. I thought it was funny when he tossed out "Now I'm not a guy who respects many people, but..." and then of course talked up all the heels. I thought Garvin was getting smoother the longer he went, and this felt more successful than any of the sleek goofs they throw on TV today. I assume what did him in was throwing in two separate jokes about Gene hooking up with jailbait.

Bret Hart vs. The Mountie

MD: So, last month, we saw that 30 second Ron Garvin match that was absolute perfection. This isn't quite as good, but it's sure close. As I understand it, Rougeau walked out of the company after this match (in part because of it?). If he did, you'd never know it from watching. He was a consummate pro, completely into the moment and working with what they'd given him. Jimmy Hart's out with him and he does a perfect rendition of his chorus. Then, when Bret comes out, he points at him as the match is starting and says "This is going to be your shortest match in the history of the WWF because I'm the Mountie...", tries for a cheapshot a moment later, gets blocked and eats an immediate Bret German with a bridge for the three. After the match he complains about the bell not ringing yet. Perfect farewell. What a pro. This was absolutely nothing but it was probably the most special thing the fans saw that night.

ER: Big fan of every second of this. I'm also curious about the reasons behind Jacques walking out, since he was back the next year anyway with Pierre. How many guys walked out of WWF and then just came back 6 months later with a push? But we get a great Mountie sing-a-long, Rougeau hitting all the notes and really hamming up his greatest of all time theme song, tries to cheapshot Hart and gets immediately caught, eats a perfect German suplex for the pin, all of it so good. Rougeau is a guy I would have loved to see in an extended John Tatum role.

Virgil vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

MD: This was Bam Bam's first match back and he got a nice enough welcome. It was what I was looking forward to the most from the listings, and it came off as a little disappointing accordingly. It wasn't due to Virgil, who was doing next to nothing at this point, one year removed from his big Million Dollar Belt push, and primarily just killing jobbers on Superstars and Challenge. Go back and watch some of those from this era. That meant I wasn't surprised at all when he kept laying shots into Bam Bam during the arm control that was the brunt of the match. Unfortunately, the second Bam Bam took over, there was a weird ref touch and an immediate DQ, because if this thing was an actual match, it could have been pretty good. I did like Bam Bam on the way out complaining that "it was in the heat of the moment" in his over the top Jersey accent.

ER: This really was shaping up to being a cool match before the DQ which nobody could have even seen happen. Most people probably thought it was the quickest count out ever, just a confusing and messy way to end a match. Up and until the sudden and disappointing finish we had the start of something special. Virgil was really relentless and had to of bruised up Bam Bam's shoulder the way he was striking it. Virgil would wrap Bigelow's arm around the ropes, swing hard at it, get pinballed away, and come back gunning for that arm. The shots were tough and both guys were working kind of off rhythm so you saw them swinging at the same time, not really a style in WWF at the time. Virgil took a huge flapjack and Bigelow threw a dropkick right into his gut (intentionally, it wasn't just Bigelow not getting up for it), but that DQ was a bummer.

Razor Ramon vs. Randy Savage

MD: This is probably the best match I've seen between the two and the sort of thing that could have made a WWF 1992 permanent tape back in the day. The brunt of this was Ramon working over the leg, after earning it, with Macho selling huge, even in his comebacks, and Ramon utilizing some great, targeted cutoffs. The finish was novel as Ramon rolls out to avoid the elbow only for Savage, bad leg and all, to leap off the top rope after him on the floor. We miss that due to the stationary nature of the camera, but it made for a believable finish where Ramon could beat the count but Savage couldn't. The post-match assault was maybe unnecessary but they were putting heat on Ramon before Survivor Series.

ER: I really dug this too, and am only annoyed that our camera operator was asleep at the wheel, making us miss Savage's (presumed) axe handle to the floor and their earlier floor brawling. He moved the camera around the catch all of the Bossman/Nailz floor fighting, but was dozing for much of this. This was a really cool version of the "Savage gets no offense until the last move" formula Savage match, as it actually has substance to lead to Savage's one move. That's usually just about my least favorite formula out of the established big star formulas, as Savage would take a 5 minute beating and then basically get a bodyslam and big elbow to win. Here Ramon punches him around the ring and starts working that leg, and let me tell you that Razor had one of the absolute BEST, SMOOTHEST, and downright vicious leg attacks: He hits a drop toehold and all in one motion rolls through it, locks calves with Savage, and snaps it off. I don't know if I've ever seen that sequence pulled off smoother, even by someone like Eddie. Savage really sells that legwork, limping around like a lady with a broken high heel, Razor sweeping his leg in the ring, Savage chasing him on one leg around the ring, all of it great. I wish the camera had panned back a couple of times, but other than that this was house show style gold.

Bret Hart vs. Papa Shango

MD: This was during that first month of Bret's run where they put him over a bunch of guys (Kamala, Virgil, etc.). This was not the Charles Wright you remember. He started the match with a leap over the top rope to the apron and a sneak attack on Hart as he was giving the glasses away and he didn't look back. Yeah, there was the shoulder nerve hold, but he was eating back body drops and the big transition spot was him missing an elbow drop off the top. I don't ever remember seeing him so mobile. Bret came off like a champ (though maybe an IC champ?), constantly fighting back and ultimately taking it clean with a submission. I get why they'd think that someone as outlandish and monstrous as Shango submitting would be a big deal to get Bret over, but it just felt weird and out of place. Unbelievable. He just got his hat back on and did his funny walk to the back afterwards as Bret celebrated.

ER: This was no different than any Bret Hart Coliseum Video matches from this era, which means it was a match that was totally up my alley. I really loved that Kamala match that Matt mentioned, and this one is probably even better. Shango leaps off the apron at Bret to start, boxing his ears while Bret was just trying to give his glasses to a(nother) kid, and I certainly can't recall a Shango match where he leapt off the apron at someone to start a match. And we get a few smart exchanges near the ropes, really well laid out stuff: I loved Hart hitting a big running crossbody for a pin, Shango presses Bret through the ropes to the floor on the kickout, but Hart rolls right back in to hit an atomic drop, giving Shango the perfect amount of time to to a full 360 while selling his balls while Bret is sprinting off the opposite ropes to clothesline Shango to the floor. That's a great sequence and Hart barreling into Shango with that clothesline felt like a huge moment. I dug how they integrated Hart running chest first into the buckles, Hart holding his chest throughout the rest of the match, and Shango doing simple things like throwing stomps right to the chest and dropping elbows. Another layer that made that so smart is it focused Shango's attack on Hart's chest, which lead him to go for the risk of a 2nd rope elbow that he missed, leading to Hart's big comeback. That simple kind of linear chapter 1 to 2 to 3 stuff seems like it should be easy, but it must not be because guys get lost within whatever story they're trying to tell all the time. But here's Hart setting up the chest injury, here's Shango taking the opportunity and focusing wholly on the chest, and here's that chest injury somehow working to Bret's advantage. I dug how they integrated all the turnbuckles into the action, playing to every side of the arena: Bret ran chest first into the upper left, Shango ran him into the lower left, Shango missed his big elbow off the lower right, Bret came off the upper right; it's a cool performance technic and it's a professional thing that Bret doesn't get enough credit for. Bret's attack was nice, and the backdrop was cool in that he just ducked his shoulder right into Shango's waist, sending him more over as a purposeful hockey trip than a showboat high backdrop.

And, I'm glad Matt also noticed the absolutely wonderful post match visual of Papa Shango just...gathering himself. Like a vaudeville team packing up their trunk, we get the gift of seeing Papa Shango collect his garments, in a too real agony of defeat moment. "Big chunky necklace goes on first, gotta put that on before my hat, make sure to grab my voodoo stick, get my strand of skulls..." It's one of the hazards of coming out with seven different accessories and seemingly no ring boy to run all your shit to the back. So here's a vanquished voodoo priest carrying his gimmick away, stopping once to point and shake his fist at Bret, then just walking away. It was a tremendous humanizing look at performers, your favorite guitarist putting his pedals away after the lights have come up.

Nailz vs. Ultimate Warrior

MD: This was disappointing in how short it was. I was expecting something all time bad and we got a blip. Nailz goozled. Warrior spasmed. The transition was a few kicks out of the corner and Warrior hit his clotheslines and the shoulder/splash. You get the feeling that they could have had something memorably terrible and that they couldn't have anything that was at all good, but this wasn't the former; it was only barely the latter. I do foresee a time in a year or two when WWF has exhausted a lot of the Georgia/AWA footage and most of what they have left for Gems are these taping dark matches. It's nice to have one of these now and again but I wouldn't want it every week.

ER: Yeah this was basically the Warrior/HHH Mania match, except there we at least got a press slam spot. This surely gave the fans at the taping something they wanted to see, which was Warrior running out to his music, shaking things, and eventually doing rope running into a couple of moves. I was excited to see what they could do in a 5 minute match - even moreso after seeing what Bossman did with 5 minutes of Nailz not one hour earlier - but this was a quick crowd pleasing Warrior match. Oh well.

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