The leaves have changed color, and the landscape in WWF is changing rapidly, and in big ways. Two new forces have arisen in WWF in recent months, and their impact will be factored heavily at Survivor Series.
WWF World Title
During his first interview after SummerSlam, Hulk Hogan was asked who his next opponent would likely be. Before The Hulkster could answer, Paul Bearer showed up, talking about a wave of destruction and pestilence which was sweeping WWF. He welcomed Hogan to be introduced to The Undertaker if he wasn’t afraid of crossing paths with The Grim Reaper. Faced just with Paul Bearer, there was no sign of worry within Hulk Hogan, but Mean Gene wanted no part of it. The following week when Hulk showed up at the Funeral Parlor setup on WWF Superstars, Paul Bearer was alone, with the urn, and plenty to say to the man called “The Immortal”. While Bearer was talking, a stand-up casket opened from behind Hogan and out stepped The Undertaker. The cold chill on Hulkster’s neck signaled for him to turn around, and he found himself face to face for the first time with the monster. There was no physical altercation at that point, just Paul Bearer planting the seed of fear inside Hulkster, warning that The Grim Reaper would be the ultimate cause for Hulkamania’s demise. In the coming weeks, Hogan found himself meeting up with Jimmy Snuka backstage, and then another week it was Jim Duggan, and both of them warned Hogan that The Undertaker was unlike anything they had witnessed before, and not to take him lightly. A couple weeks before Survivor Series, Hulkster had an exhibition match and The Undertaker suddenly appeared at ringside, and he revealed a special body bag with yellow lettering, all setup for Hulk Hogan. In the ring, Hogan was visibly spooked, but went on to win the exhibition anyway. When he looked back, The Undertaker was gone.
The Champions Summit
For the first couple weeks after SummerSlam, Bobby Heenan was talking about how The Real World’s Champion was coming to WWF, and how Hulk Hogan was a phony. Backstage, Heenan bumped into Bret Hart, and Bobby The Brain chided Bret Hart for calling himself a champion, and that he didn’t deserve the victory he got over Mr. Perfect, and that if Mr. Perfect wasn’t off filming a movie and solving a crisis in the Middle East, that he’d be back for his rematch. Hart laughed it off and told Heenan to focus on “whatever Real World’s Champion” he was bringing to WWF. The following week, Heenan got into the ring, called out Bret Hart, then talked about what a real World Champion was all about, and wanted The Intercontinental Champion to get the chance to learn something. At that point, The Theme From 2001: A Space Odyssey played and out walked Ric Flair with the giant gold belt he was bringing from WCW, having never lost it. Flair talked about how he is there in WWF to get the only other remaining gold championship belt in the world which means anything, and he laughed at the notion that it was the belt Bret Hart was currently holding. The Hitman said he would love to get into the ring to prove to Flair that it’s not always the belt that makes the man, but the man that makes the belt. Flair said he wasn’t going to defend the REAL World’s Championship against Bret Hart, and that he’d have to wait in line if he wanted a shot at something bigger than the Intercontinental Championship, but that if he wanted to give Flair a shot, he’d welcome it. Flair and Heenan walked off, claiming to have important plans elsewhere.
In the coming weeks, it was obvious that Hulk Hogan was going to have his hands full with The Undertaker at Survivor Series, and so Bret Hart set out a challenge to Ric Flair, telling him to assemble a team, and that they’d square off at the Thanksgiving Spectacular. The following week, Ric Flair got interviewed by Mean Gene about the challenge, and The Nature Boy was accepting the challenge. In fact, he introduced a new tag team to the WWF, one with as much style as he has… The Beverly Bros. Flair and Heenan said that they were still deciding on the fourth member of the team, but that the ball was now in Bret’s court to see if he could find enough people to back him up.
The following week, Sean Mooney got a word with Bret Hart backstage about whether he had started recruiting yet, and The Hitman indicated that the first member of his team was a guy he would be happy to team up with, his brother-in-law, The British Bulldog. They didn’t have any other team members yet, but he said that he was sure he could find some. Ric Flair and The Beverly Brothers hit the ring, with Bobby Heenan carrying the microphone, and they welcomed Bret Hart to show up and they’d compare teams. While Flair laughed at the notion that Bret even had a “team” yet, The Hitman and British Bulldog showed up, and Bret said that they had found their third and fourth team members, and they’d bring one of them out now. Marty Jannetty of The Rockers jogged to the ring and stood next to Bulldog, and they said that Shawn Michaels was still healing up, but that he was going to be ready to go in time for Survivor Series. Ric Flair then said that they had found their fourth member, and introduced Kerry Von Erich. The former fan favorite walked out to the ring and stood by while Flair talked about how they had done battle in the past, so he was well aware of how talented “The Tornado” could be.
The Warrior and The Snake
Try as they might, WWF interviewers couldn’t get an interview with Jake The Snake Roberts following the events at SummerSlam. When Jack Tunney said that Jake The Snake would either give an interview or be suspended, it was announced that Jake would appear in The Funeral Parlor to be interviewed by Paul Bearer. During that very eerie interview, Jake The Snake laughed at the horror he had caused Miss Elizabeth, and relished in the fact that Macho Man Randy Savage hadn’t been heard from in weeks, apparently suffering some emotional trauma. The Ultimate Warrior showed up and talked about how he never saw eye to eye with Savage, but that he respected him as a great warrior. He said that the evil in this world must be banished. Jake The Snake countered, espousing the notion that the “good” in this world wouldn’t be appreciated without the “evil”, and so the world should be thanking him; but they’re not thanking him because of their misguided notion that “good” should always triumph over “evil”. He then mentioned that he had formed something of an evil alliance that people wouldn’t understand, and that he was growing ever stronger through this alliance. When The Warrior got in Jake’s face, Roberts signaled to Paul Bearer, who lifted the urn which summoned The Undertaker to step forth from an upright casket. The Grim Reaper then started choking The Ultimate Warrior after clubbing him from behind. The Undertaker and Jake The Snake then put The Ultimate Warrior into the casket, closed the door and clasped it shut. Jake The Snake walked off, laughing an eerie laugh and The Undertaker went into something of a trance. Several WWF Officials showed up to try to get The Ultimate Warrior out, but when they were unsuccessful, Hulk Hogan showed up and kicked the lock, breaking it apart. They opened the door and The Ultimate Warrior had vanished, replaced by smoke. The week before Survivor Series, a tag match occurred where Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior teamed up against The Undertaker and Jake The Snake. The good guys won by disqualification when Jake The Snake hit The Ultimate Warrior with the urn.
Team USA vs Anti-USA
Fuming from their loss to Hulk Hogan, Sgt. Slaughter and The Iron Sheik showed up with an axe to grind a couple weeks after SummerSlam. While they were being interviewed and talking about how Slaughter hated seeing the American flag waved around just so that the fans had something to cheer for. Jim Duggan showed up, taking offense at what Slaughter was saying. When Slaughter then reminded Duggan that there were two of them (Slaughter and The Iron Sheik) and that Duggan was out there alone, that’s when The Big Boss Man showed up and evened the odds. The following week, there was a tag match setup, and during the match, The Mountie interfered, taking Jim Duggan out of the equation and leaving his old rival, The Big Boss Man, to take the brunt of the attack. The following week, Duggan and Boss Man had an interview where they said that if team warfare was what Slaughter wanted, that they were more than happy to have a match at Survivor Series. On the next show, Sgt. Slaughter showed up with The Iron Sheik and The Mountie and said they had their team assembled, then they called out Nikolai Volkoff. When the member of The Bolsheviks showed up, he told Sgt. Slaughter that sometimes people change their tone on a country, and he had changed his tone on The USA. After living here long enough, he was enjoying the country and respecting the fans, so he wanted to side with Duggan and Boss Man. At that point, Slaughter ordered The Iron Sheik and The Mountie to attack Nikolai Volkoff, and then Duggan and Big Boss Man showed up for the save. The following week, Sgt. Slaughter said it was a shame that Volkoff had been brainwashed, but that he found a mercenary who was happy to fight with them, introducing the wild Berzerker. When asked how they were going to respond to Slaughter’s team being assembled, Jim Duggan introduced “El Matador” Tito Santana as the final member of their squad.
Money vs Blue Collars
The first week after SummerSlam, “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase showed up and called out The Warlord, who showed up, took money from DiBiase, then laid down in the ring to allow DiBiase to pin him for the Million Dollar Championship. DiBiase claimed to have learned his lesson from trying to “buy” championships in the past, and now he just buys opportunities. The Warlord looked more than happy to accept the money, but Virgil showed up and wasn’t entertained at all, talking about how DiBiase was a crook. At that point, Irwin R. Sheyster showed up and claimed that it might actually be the case that Virgil is the crook, if he didn’t pay property taxes on the Million Dollar Championship while he had it, claiming that The Warlord and DiBiase had it on record that they paid their property taxes. At that point, Virgil had heard enough, and he attacked DiBiase, but was beaten down by The Warlord and I.R.S. until the bagpipes started playing and Rowdy Roddy Piper showed up, clearing the ring. The next time we saw DiBiase, he was back to true form, wearing his tuxedo with the Million Dollar Championship over his shoulder. He claimed to not be actively defending the belt for now, since there were some legal issues to work out with the championship committee… who he claimed were busy dealing with the issue that Ric Flair brought about. Virgil then showed up and said he didn’t need the belt, but that he wanted to get his hands on DiBiase again. Roddy Piper showed up to have Virgil’s back, and DiBiase said that they could set something up for Survivor Series if Virgil wanted to find a couple of bums to be on his team (even mentioning The Brooklyn Brawler). Virgil said he would find a team, if DiBiase could find enough money to hire a fourth guy for his team. A couple weeks later, Million Dollar Man introduced Skinner as one of the toughest guys he had ever met, coming from Florida by way of New Orleans. When asked if he had the second half of his team, Virgil said that Roddy Piper had helped him get in touch with some wild men of his own, The Bushwackers!
Tag Team Showdown
Jack Tunney announced that the WWF Tag Team Championships would not be on the line at Survivor Series, but that instead, he was having four of the top teams in the business get together for a Survivor Series match of their own, which should provide good teamwork from some… and sparks of friction elsewhere. The Legion Of Doom were going to be teaming up with The Faces of Fear, and on the other side of the ring, it was going to be The Natural Disasters teaming up with The Nasty Boys.
Now that you’ve seen the bookings… check out the Survivor Series 1991 results how it all went down!