Thursday, November 14, 2013
From The Musty Yellowed Pages--Survivor Series 1991 Program
The program for the 1991 Survivor Series follows a trend that didn't last very long: using pages from the basic WWF event programs of the time to "beef up" the content inside. There's nothing wrong with it, but it is different from other years. Even the 1991 merchandise catalog is present. Gone are the days of young Shane and Stephanie McMahon modeling the merchandise, and beginning to be included are items that were already available outside of the WWF directly such as Tonka's Wrestling Buddies.
As with most of the early Survivor Series events, substitutions were made for certain team members as the weeks went on. In 1991, there were storyline excuses for some of the changes. The first six-man tag team elimination match took place this year, although it is not reflected in the program. Sid Justice, who was legitimately injured, and Jake Roberts, who had attacked Randy Savage with his cobra, were pulled from their respective teams with no replacements made. The latter angle enabled Savage to be "reinstated" following his retirement at WrestleMania VII in order to avenge his wife Elizabeth from the terrorizing antics of Roberts. It always struck me a bit odd that Roberts was going to have Earthquake, who had "squashed" Damien just a few months earlier, on his team, but I guess "baddies" stick together...
Another match full of replacements was the mid and undercarder battle that was set to include The Dragon, Texas Tornado, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and Jim Neidhart against The Berzerker, Skinner, Big Bully Busick, and Colonel Mustafa. Ricky Steamboat, in his brief 1991 run that produced more merchandise than memorable matches, left before the event and was replaced by the newly minted "El Matador," Tito Santana. Neidhart was injured in an angle and replaced by Sgt. Slaughter, while Busick, who had also departed the company, was replaced by Hercules.
The program ends with the "Keep An Eye On" feature that concluded the regular WWF programs of the time. Savage is the only name featured that did much of note in the months following the publication. And of course, no program of the era would be complete without an ad and order information for the Survivor Series 1991 Coliseum Video.
Though I'm usually partial to anything from this era or before, the fifth annual Survivor Series has never been one of my favorites. Nearly everything is geared towards urging the viewer to purchase "Tuesday In Texas" the following Tuesday, and the content that isn't is ignored for more shameless promotion. It was an experiment on many levels, and one that the consumer public didn't care for. The following year, the event would take yet another turn and leave but one "traditional" Survivor Series match on the card. The use of those matches has varied in years since, but with the deep WWE roster of today, there's certainly plenty of room to make a full elimination match card once again. If you ask me...it's best for business.