SURVIVOR SERIES SHOWDOWN
November 21, 1993
Virgil . . . outperforms half the wrestlers on this show, despite being more than a year past his point of usefulness.
Mike Rotundo . . . really puts everything into being IRS, including being about as interesting as your average member of the Internal Revenue Service.
Bret Hart . . . puts on a good main event performance, even with a fairly limited opponent.
BASTION BOOGER vs. DOINK THE CLOWN
I didn't expect anything from Doink other than comedy, and that's what he gave, besides the somewhat clever finish. Booger was beyond horrible here. Despite controlling the bulk of the match, he was dull as dishwater in every way possible. Instead of using his size to his advantage to literally squash Doink, he's content to use weak strikes and loose holds. Booger goes for the pin and Doink taps him on the shoulder and Booger thinks it’s the ref telling him that it’s over (this was before tapping out became popular in the U.S.) and Booger lets him up. Doink sneaks up and cradles him for the win. This certainly wasn't the ideal way to kick things off, but considering the time period, it's not a huge surprise either.
CRUSH vs. VIRGIL
This was fun, thanks to Virgil. Crush works this like a typical TV squash, doing little else other than throat thrusts and kicks, until it's time to end things with the head vice. Virgil busts out some good hope spots to keep you from writing him off completely, he surprises Crush with a sunset flip out of the corner (although it took him some time to get it right), an inside cradle, and he darts behind Crush and tries the Million Dollar Dream. Virgil even does a tope, and this was late 1993 when he was beyond a jobber! Virgil's selling is good, considering Crush isn't giving him much to work with, Heenan's comment that he's stumbling like he missed last call is dead on. If Crush had felt like working even half as hard as Virgil, then this could have been a real gem.
IRWIN R. SCHYSTER vs. MARTY JANNETTY
When you're getting out performed by Virgil, you're in trouble. Jannetty does a few things here to keep this from being a total bore, his leap frog to avoid Rotundo's corner charge was original, he acted groggy a few times to get over the shot to the steps, and he took a huge bump from the Write Off. But Marty's hope spots aren't anywhere close to Virgil's. Someone should have let Rotundo know that the IRS gimmick only meant that he had to wear goofy gear and accuse everyone of being tax cheats, he didn't actually have to become the most boring worker on the planet. He does little more than the bare basics, along with a couple of extended rest holds, before the Write Off. The few occasions that Jannetty gets in offense there's no exaggerated bumping or selling from him. Heenan's not on commentary for this match, so we don't even get the usual "He’s grabbing his tongue!" comment when Jannetty grabs him by the tie.
YOKOZUNA © vs. BRET HART (WWF World Heavyweight Title)
This was before Yoko's weight got out of control, so he still moved around really well, and it showed with his stooging and selling for Bret. There wasn't a whole lot of his offense that Bret could use on Yoko, but even when Bret was just throwing punches, Yoko's selling was good. Yoko wasn't nearly as good when he was on offense, but, it wasn't like he could throw his usual arsenal at Bret because this was supposed to be competitive, so he kills some time with a nerve hold. Once Bret drops Yoko with the lariat it's all good up until the finish. The really cool spot is Yoko getting Bret in a bear hug and Bret fighting a little dirty to get out of it by biting Yoko's ear, and then dropping him with a flying bulldog for a near fall.
The DQ finish is a bit of a copout, and even worse is that this was before the Bret/Owen issued even started, so it just looks all the more odd. Bret gets Yoko in the sharpshooter and Owen comes out to celebrate Bret regaining the title. The ref starts jawing with Owen and Fuji clocks Bret with the salt bucket to break the hold. Owen attacks Yoko in retaliation to get Bret DQ'd. It would have been more effective had there already been some dissension between Bret and Owen to keep that going and make people wonder if Owen was really defending him or purposely cost him the title.
Conclusion: Virgil is one of the top three performers on the card, which should be enough indication of the quality of this show, not even Bret/Yoko is worth the effort of hunting down.