From the nosebleeds to backstage: Recalling 1993 Survivor Series

By Todd Graham – Proving Ground Wrestling

This weekend, the 31st Survivor Series will emanate from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas and it will be headlined by some blockbuster inter-promotional matches.

For many reasons, I consider 1993 to be my favorite year in wrestling, but for today’s discussion, it’s because I was in attendance at the 1993 Survivor Series. Now, you are going to read a lot of articles about top ten lists, and best moments, and all of that, but what you won’t read a lot of is personal experiences from the eyes of a 7-year-old child when it comes to wrestling shows from over 20 years ago.

I was sitting in the nosebleeds of the original Boston Garden, when Todd Pettengill came walking up to our section to shoot footage for the countdown show that would lead into the PPV. Todd, at the time, was the lead on-air interviewer type person, who’s over-the-top performance always made him seem like a human cartoon. I remember when I was a kid, I thought he was a dork.

For those of you who thought crowd hijacking and inappropriate chants were born in the attitude era, than you are sorely mistaken. On this night, the chant of choice during the Pettengill segments was, “Todd is a Virgin.” At 7-years-old, I had no idea what a virgin was, but I do remember my father teasing me with the chant when I got home. He must have had a blast doing that, and then having me respond angrily, “No I’m not,” and then bursting into laughter. It would only be a viable joke for another 7 years.

Something people probably didn’t know about Todd Pettengill was that he was a fantastic improvisational actor. When he was doing the countdown, someone stood under the camera holding a cue card with what to talk about. Now, when you think “Cue Cards,” what’s the first thing you think of? I imagine a word for word script of what to say is usually what most people will see. Todd’s cue card looked like a scribbled notepad of disconnected thoughts. One note that I never forgot simply read, “Talk about Boston,” and he did for at least 2 minutes. When you take into account that he made his debut in 1993 and left the WWF in 1997, that’s 4 years of ad-libbing about the countless amount of towns that the WWF traveled to any given year. I guess what I am trying to say is, Todd was a dork, but a really talented one.

It should also be noted, I was seen in the background during this segment, and it is a cherished childhood memory.

Todd at Survivor Series

Now if I talked about each of the matches in the depth that I wrote my love letter to Todd Pettengill above, we would be here all day, so let’s just do a quick rundown of the card, along with interesting things to note about each.

The 1–2–3 Kid, Marty Jannetty, Randy Savage and Razor Ramon defeated Adam Bomb, Diesel, Irwin R. Schyster and Rick Martel (26:58)

  • At the time, the 1-2-3 Kid was my favorite wrestler. It made my night when he and Marty Jannetty were victorious

 

Bret Hart, Bruce Hart, Keith Hart and Owen Hart defeated Shawn Michaels and His Knights (30:57)

  • It is widely known that Stu Hart hated his Son Bruce
  • In a case of, what happens in 2017, also happens in 1993, Jerry Lawler was replaced by Shawn Michaels when Lawler was unable to compete due to an ongoing court case where he allegedly had sex with a minor. The charges were later dropped, after the girl admitted she fabricated some of the story.
  • This match would set the pick for one of the greatest wrestling feuds in WWF history between Bret and Owen Hart.
  • The Masked Knights were played by Jeff Gaylord (Black Knight), Greg Valentine (Blue Knight), and Barry Horowitz (Red Knight).

 

The Heavenly Bodies (Jimmy Del Ray and Tom Prichard with Jim Cornette) defeated The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson)(c) for the SMW Tag Team Championship (13:41)

  • I honestly forgot this match even happened…and I was there.

 

The Bushwhackers (Butch and Luke) and Men on a Mission (Mabel and Mo with Oscar) defeated Bam Bam Bigelow, Bastion Booger, and The Headshrinkers (Fatu and Samu with Afa and Luna Vachon) (10:58)

  • The match was billed as Four Doinks vs the Bam Bam Bigelow lead team, but the Bushwhackers and Men On a Mission all came out painted up like Doink.
  • Doink appeared on the video screen after the match to taunt Bigelow. At the time, Doink was played by Matt Osborne. Osborne would be gone from the WWF by December.

 

The All-Americans (Lex Luger, The Steiner Brothers (Rick Steiner and Scott Steiner) and The Undertaker with Paul Bearer) defeated The Foreign Fanatics (Crush, Jacques, Ludvig Borga and Yokozuna with Jim Cornette, Johnny Polo and Mr. Fuji) (27:59)

  • If you thought the Lawler replacement was bad in the Harts vs Knights match, take into consideration that this match was originally Yokozuna, Ludwig Borga, and the Quebecers vs Lex Lugar, Tatanka, and the Steiner brothers.

It would appear that the 2017 edition of the Survivor Series is very much borrowing elements from the 1993 edition, with all the last second swap outs for the matches. Brock vs Jinder became Brock vs AJ. Jason Jordan just got switched out of the main event with Triple H. In fact, when you really look at it, Survivor Series is known for this sort of booking, so it should be no surprise at all at this point.

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After the show was over, I was backstage, as my father’s friend, who got us the tickets, was a security guard for the Boston Garden. As I stood by the door, hoping to get a glimpse of the wrestlers as they came by, I looked to my right and saw the 1-2-3 Kid. I was too shy to say anything and he looked like he was in a hurry, but I noticed something.

The 1-2-3 Kid was 6’0″ tall at the time…

On TV, they talked about him like he was a runt, a child, literally, a Kid… but he was 6’0″ tall. It was at that moment I realized how big these people actually were, and it was mind blowing. Years later, I remember taking a picture with Prince Albert, and I remember feeling like a child, and I was 6’1″ at the time. However, the world of wrestling has changed since then. Some of the biggest stars are under 6-feet and will blow away after a strong wind, but damn are they entertaining to watch.

Todd meets Jason Albert

In the end, after all this reading, I really hope you were able to get the hidden message I was lacing throughout. . . and that is simply. . .

Words can’t describe how much I Hate Bruce Hart…Fuck that guy.

Enjoy the Survivor Series.

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