It was probably the wrong time to attempt this with business starting to tank, but WWF tried a non-holiday midweek PPV with This Tuesday in Texas, aired on December 3, 1991 (25 years ago as this is posted!) only 6 days after Survivor Series. While it did 400,000 buys which doesn’t seem bad on its face, the result was disappointing since the show only cost $14.99 so the dollar take wasn’t that good.
However, the reduced price meant it was an easy sell to my parents. The shame is that my original VHS of the show is long lost. This was a somewhat mysterious show over the years because the show was not released on a standalone tape, instead crammed onto Coliseum Video’s WWF Supertape ’92. Then again, all the matches from the PPV (except Hogan-Undertaker) aired on Prime Time Wrestling in late 91/early 92 so whatever.
There were a ton of dark matches including Ric Flair beating Roddy Piper because God forbid you put that on PPV. Piper didn’t job to ANYBODY and he put over Flair left and right after the Nature Boy’s arrival. (Unofficial list of WWF Piper pinfall losses: Jimmy Snuka in a Fijian strap match in 1984, Adrian Adonis in 1987 on a house show with some Andre the Giant ref shenanigans, Mr. Perfect, Rick Rude, Bret Hart, and Flair. Oh and I guess Mr. America but who gives a shit about that?)
Also taped at the arena that night was the infamous Barber Shop split of the Rockers, which didn’t air for another 6 weeks.
Our hosts are Gorilla and the Brain and they put over the Jake-Savage showdown hard in such a way that today’s WWE product learn a thing from because nothing truly matters now.
Bret “The Hitman” Hart (C) vs. Skinner for IC Title
Gorilla says that Skinner is “for all intents and purposes undefeated”. Well Geno, either he is, or he isn’t. That would probably be a surprise to those in the New York metro area who saw Skinner job cleanly to Virgil three nights earlier.
Bret gives his glasses to a teenage girl in the front row and Heenan says “That bimbo’s gonna faint!” Early on, Bret works on the arm as Brain concedes Hart is “ahead on points”. Brain talks about how Skinner lives outside, but Monsoon just thinks he’s too cheap to buy a place.
When Skinner gets control with an abdominal stretch, Gorilla gripes that he doesn’t have the hold fully applied. Heenan helpfully explains why grabbing the rope during that move helps: it’s for balance! Skinner grabs his claw from the corner and whacks Hart with it, and I don’t know why the ref had his back turned.
Skinner goes after the leg, then hits his finisher, which is basically the Scorpion Death Drop, but it only gets two. Wow, kicking out of finishers in 1991! Skinner goes to the 2nd rope, but Bret gets a boot up and then he goes to work: leg sweep, suplex, backbreaker, 2nd rope elbow but that only gets two. As Bret complains, Skinner rolls him up but is kicked off and out of the ring. Skinner goes up top again, but is caught with a slam then the Sharpshooter and it’s good night. Pretty good opener, and probably the best Skinner match in WWF.
Jake Roberts is with Sean Mooney and he is about to go to some dark places. Reptiles are banned from ringside, but he says he enjoys Elizabeth’s eyes and can’t wait for her to see what he’ll do. Trust me. Savage is with Gene Okerlund and does his crazy intense promo and we start to hear Jake’s music, at which point Savage takes off to attack him in the aisle.
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
This might be the most intense match in the history of WWF/E given everything, the guys involved, the angle leading up, etc. Savage somehow manages to keep his hat on with the two feathers as he’s pounding Jake early. There’s something about Jake and hats, because I recall back in 1987 he DDT’d Mr. Fuji whose hat stayed on then too.
Double axe handle and Jake tries to leave, but no dice as Savage drags him back. The ref gets in the way a bit and Jake takes advantage and throws Savage out, and slings him into the post, going to work on the same arm that was bit by the cobra. The referee comes out to check on Savage, and Macho takes a swing at him!
People in the crowd are screaming as Jake maintains control. Savage’s kicks and punches aren’t working, and there’s a near ref bump on a double reverse whip to the corner. Pretty impressive shoulder roll by Earl Hebner there, like he’s ready to be on a SWAT team or something.
Short arm clothesline by Jake and he gets on the 2nd rope to signal for the DDT and Heenan says Liz should have married Jake. Uh, she probably would have died a lot sooner in that case, Brain. Savage counters by driving Jake into the corner while in the front facelock and this hurts Jake’s ribs. As Roberts is writhing in pain on the mat, Savage goes up top and hits the elbow for 1-2-3 for a real sudden ending to the match. But it really did work.
But it is AFTER the match where business picks up. Savage isn’t done so he goes for a chair to do more damage but is held up by Tony Garea. Savage gets the ring bell in a callback to the Steamboat angle in 86/87 but when he gets into the ring, Hebner tears it away from him. Jake is up now and hits a DDT out of nowhere.
After a while, he gets up and hits a 2nd DDT on Macho. Jake decides to leave, but stops in the aisle and has the most sadistic smile on his face as he turns around. He goes under the ring for a small black bag that presumably contains the cobra and the crowd is losing their shit.
Liz runs to the ring and covers up Randy, begging Jake to stop. What’s notable about this is just how well WWF had the ring area wired for sound that was a huge key to this being as dramatic as it was. You could hear Jake, Liz, and Hebner all clearly. No commentary, no JBL telling us that this is “vintage Jake”.
Jake picks Savage up and tells Liz to look into his eyes as he DDT’s Savage again. Roberts then opens the bag, but only pulls out the glove, then slaps the fallen Savage with it. Roberts asks Liz to beg and Hebner is trying to reason with Jake as well. Jake says Macho makes him sick then grabs Liz by the hair and slaps her. Meanwhile I’m wondering why Hebner doesn’t put himself on the line to defend a woman in that spot, but whatever.
A 2nd ref comes down (little late, huh?) and Tunney is there. Jake wants a handshake like the Hansons being sprung from the jail in the movie Slap Shot. Gorilla reminds us that Savage did not see what happened to Liz, setting up the reaction when he eventually finds out.
Okerlund is with Jake Roberts who cuts the heel promo of a lifetime. He asks for congratulations for what he did, saying he wouldn’t want a woman to beg, he wants a woman who will stand up. He begs Savage to bring Liz next time saying, “I could cultivate her into something even I would want!” as Okerlund gets all pissy. Bottom line is that no wrestler in history was more evil than late 1991 Jake Roberts. Kevin Sullivan doing the satanic stuff wishes he was on this level.
British Bulldog vs. The Warlord
Poor Warlord…never a good worker but he has to follow THAT? Not his worst effort since he’s against real life friend the British Bulldog, who is pretty jacked at this point. Bulldog still has a weird hybrid offense of power moves and junior heavyweight offense dating to the 1980s. If only they had a Best of the Super J for 280 lb guys, he’d be onto something.
He hits a missile dropkick and wins with a crucifix, not moves you would expect from that body type. This match had one of the longest full nelson spots of all time which may or may not have been 28 minutes long. I didn’t get out the stopwatch.
Sean Mooney gets to talk to Randy Savage and is told to shut up. As Macho wanders all over, he says stuff like “Snake degraded her” and “it’s the worst day of my life” and “it’s my fault”. The emotion Savage conveyed here is an absolute clinic in storytelling.
“Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and Repo Man vs. El Matador and Virgil
I will forever be fascinated by Ted DiBiase’s alliances over the years. He’s been aligned with Andre, Heenan, worked with Slick at the 89 Rumble, Savage the next year at the Rumble and with the Sapphire stuff. He gets Sherri to replace Virgil, but here is also with Repo Man which might be a natural alliance but Ted wasn’t selling anything in particular so he didn’t need a repo guy. I’ve wasted so much time thinking about this.
The heels are chased out immediately then it takes a while for this to get moving. Heenan says “Repo took a car from a couple that was unemployed for six months” prompting a “Will you stop?” from Gorilla. “He also repossessed the Lone Ranger’s mask,” adds Brain.
Tito works over Repo’s arm and tosses him over the top. When DiBiase tags in, Virgil wants in and Santana obliges. Sherri is screaming on the floor, and she isn’t long for DiBiase since she would transfer over to Shawn Michaels. Ted deserves credit for allowing Sherri the opportunity to chase her Boy Toy, without prejudice.
Virgil sends Ted over the top with an atomic drop then does it against with a clothesline. “DiBiase went bust” says Monsoon to which Heenan replies “You talking about Sherri?” The heels get control over Virgil, choking him with the tag rope. Danny Davis keeps Tito at bay, because he won’t stop screwing over Santana after all these years.
As DiBiase hits a gut wrench suplex, Heenan urges Virgil to give up saying that’s what everyone expects Virgil to do anyway. Virgil gets a neckbreaker off a back drop try and makes a tag to Tito who nails Repo with the Flying Forearm but is tripped by Sherri going for “El Passo De Salsa” as Heenan calls it.
Virgil and Ted are in to start the finish as Sherri goes to hit Virgil with her high heel but hits DiBiase instead. Repo comes across and hits a rather non-descript knee to the back on Virgil and DiBiase scores the winning fall. Strange finish to a pretty fun match that marked the end of stardom for “Wrestling Superstar Virgil”. One day you’re beating “undefeated” Skinner, and another you’re losing to a weak knee to the back.
Okerlund is with Hogan, whose eyebrows are way darker than usual and he looks like ’95 WCW Hogan. He said he is the designated hitman for his Hulkamaniacs, and use of that “H” word probably upset Bret Hart. He ends the promo going “yar yar yar” like he’s riding a horse totally out of nowhere. Par for the course for strange Hogan promos.
Hulk Hogan vs. Undertaker (C) (w/Paul Bearer) for the WWF World Title
The Undertaker and Paul Bearer come out first for the match against Hogan, who rips off the shirt on his way down and gets in early offense after getting the boots from Taker and Bearer. Meanwhile, Jack Tunney is ringside as promised in the Bray Wyatt rocking chair position but with a crummy folding chair. You’re the WWF President, can’t you do better than a metal folding chair?
Undertaker takes back control outside the ring with some long choke holds as Bearer distracts. Back inside Taker goes Old School or as it was known then, “that thing the Spoiler used to do”. You can’t say Hogan didn’t give him enough offense or sell enough in this series.
Taker gets a claw, as legally required because this is Texas. When Hogan gets his comeback, Undertaker actually falls coming off the ropes in a blooper reel moment. Taker gets a boot up on Hogan in the corner to take command. Flying clothesline off a whip gets the lazy Hogan kickout at 2. The Deadman goes for Old School 2: The Sequel, but Hulk tosses him off the ropes and starts the final comeback.
But here comes Ric Flair in his blue “Nature Boy” robe. Ric hadn’t done anything yet, but Hogan comes outside and hits Flair from behind with the Tunney chair, knocking Flair into Tunney. That was kind of a dick move since he snuck up on him without any regard for collateral damage. Tunny takes the rare bump for a WWF President; only others I can think of are when Bad News Brown abused him on the Brother Love Show in 1988 and Gorilla Monsoon getting Vader Bombed in 1996.
Up on the apron, Flair holds up the chair as a target for Hogan’s head but Hulk throws Taker into it. Hogan with a big boot, but the Deadman gets a throat shot. Bearer goes to hit Hogan with the urn but hits Undertaker. Hulk, being sportsmanlike and respectful, grabs a handful of ashes and tosses them in his opponent’s face because that’s the 5th Demandment of Hulkamania: cheat to win.
Flair props up Tunney so he can see this happening, and Hogan rolls Taker up for one of the cheapest three counts of all time. Not satisfied, Hogan hits Undertaker with the belt and leaves time for the express version of the posedown. I can’t even imagine how apoplectic Jesse Ventura would have been with this finish, he might have actually rushed the ring.
This finish seemed incredibly rushed, and 12 year old me watching as it happened was confused by Hogan just cheating like crazy to win when he stressed fair play. But his expiration date for his legendary run was coming up.
Summary: This is kind of like a Hogan era WCW PPV, a lousy main event but with two good undercard matches, and Savage-Jake is a “see this before you die” match based on pre-match promo, the match, and the after match angle. This gets my highest recommendation just based on that fact alone. They cultivated this show into something that even I would want!