WWE Survivor Series 1991 Review
The fifth edition of the Survivor Series saw a small change in the format. Instead of having only elimination matches for the whole show, they had four elimination matches plus a WWE (WWF back then) Title match between Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker.
The change was likely done because the shows felt a bit too repetitive in the previous years and by adding a title match, it made Survivor Series feel like a big deal again.
It was also a historic event because it was the last time Hulk Hogan worked a Survivor Series. He was a part-timer over the next couple of years and then left the WWF for WCW in 1994.
Another note about this show is they moved it to a Wednesday night after putting it on Thursdays as part of Thanksgiving in the United States. They also had a PPV called “This Tuesday in Texas” that aired the following Tuesday, so there were parts of this show that was promoting that one too. Two PPVs within one week of eachother? It didn’t work, which is why it was a rare thing.
WWE Survivor Series
Joe Louis Arena Detroit, Michigan
November 27, 1991
We were welcomed to the show by Gorilla Monsoon and then we got a clip of a big angle from Superstars.
Randy Savage was looking for reinstatement after he lost a retirement match at WrestleMania 7 earlier in the year. Savage was trapped in the ring against his rival Jake Roberts, who tied Savage up in the ropes. Roberts took out his snake, which led to the snake biting the arm of Savage. People in the crowd were SCREAMING at the sight of this. You could see blood marks on the arm of Savage. People like Roddy Piper and others went down to ringside to try to help Savage. Elizabeth was at ringside screaming about it. Savage’s arm was bloody. Vince McMahon was on commentary wondering if the snake was de-venomized. Vince: “For God’s sake get Randy Savage out of there!” There was a shot of some kid in the crowd crying about it. Eventually, Savage was wheeled away.
Analysis: This scared me so much when I was 11 years old. Macho Man was my favorite guy. Seeing that snake bite him like that freaked me out. Looking back on it all these years later, it was a brilliant angle that drew massive heat. I wish today’s wrestling could have heels as great as Jake Roberts was in that feud.
A clip aired of WWF President Jack Tunney talking about how he can’t clear Randy Savage for Survivor Series after what happened with Roberts. He barred the king cobra and all reptiles from ringside. He said that he will re-instate Savage for a match against Roberts at This Tuesday in Texas. He took Roberts out of the Survivor Series, so the main event is a six-man tag instead of an eight-man tag.
Analysis: Good explanation of why Savage and Roberts were not going to be a part of this show. It was a way to sell This Tuesday in Texas with a big grudge match on that show as well as Savage’s first televised match in about eight months.
The announce team was Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan. In my opinion, they’re the second-best WWE announce team ever after Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.
Survivor Series Elimination Match: Ric Flair, The Mountie, Ted Dibiase & The Warlord (w/Mr. Perfect, Jimmy Hart, Sensational Sherri & Harvey Wippleman) vs. Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Virgil & Davey Boy Smith
Pre-match notes: No team names this year. Flair is the captain of the heel team and Piper is the captain of the face team. Flair debuted in WWE a couple of months before this, so it’s his first Survivor Series. Bret Hart was the Intercontinental Champion at the time. Another change this year was that no managers were allowed to stay at ringside although Sherri was still there for Dibiase.
Piper crotched Dibiase on the top rope early on. Big ovation for that. Piper pulled Sherri in the ring, she jumped on his back and he kissed her. She was sent to the back, so I guess they just kept her out to pop the crowd early with that spot. Hart received a good ovation as he worked on Dibiase. Good pinfall exchange spot by Hart and Dibiase while the faces continued to keep Dibiase from his partners. Shoulder tackle by Hart, but then Dibiase nailed a hip toss. Flair tags in, takes a headbutt from Hart and does his flop bump. Bulldog slingshot sent Flair to the turnbuckle leading to another Flair face first bump. Bulldog with a gorilla press slam on Flair. Hard chops by Piper on Flair as the crowd went wild. Flair bailed to the floor and did a face bump outside the ring. Flair got back in the ring and tagged in Warlord. Bulldog faced off with Warlord with Bulldog hitting dropkick. Warlord stopped him with a boot to the face. Mountie hit a flying back elbow, Hart tagged in and Mountie bailed. Hart with a backbreaker on Dibiase followed by the elbow off the middle rope. Hart and Dibiase collided after bouncing off the ropes. Press slam by Bulldog on Mountie. The heels went after Bulldog, but he overpowered everybody. Bulldog hit a running powerslam on Mountie and he covered, but the other heels went into the ring. Flair jumped off the top and elbowed Bulldog in the back of the head. Flair pinned him to eliminate him.
Davey Boy Smith eliminated by Ric Flair
Piper fought against the four heels in their corner, but he was punched repeatedly by The Mountie. Flair knee drop on Piper. Then he missed a knee drop, so Piper put the Figure Four Leglock on Flair. Dibiase freed Flair with a stomp to the head. Piper got an inside cradle on Dibiase. The heels worked on Piper with Mountie applying the Boston Crab. Piper tagged in Virgil, Mountie wanted out and Flair tagged in. Punches by Virgil on Flair followed by a back body drop. Dibiase faced off with his rival Virgil leading to Dibiase hitting a powerslam. Warlord dumped Virgil out of the ring. Warlord applied the full nelson on Virgil. Everybody went into the ring and Hart hit a double ax to the back of Warlord. Piper pinned Warlord even though Virgil was still the legal man.
Warlord eliminated by Roddy Piper
Dibiase with a back elbow on Piper. Piper came back with a suplex. Virgil with two clotheslines and then he applied the Million Dollar Dream submission. Dibiase broke free by sending Virgil face first into the top turnbuckle. Back suplex by Flair and then he tagged in Mountie as the heels worked on Virgil for a bit. “I’m The Mountie!” What a great trash talker. Gutwrench suplex by Dibiase on Virgil followed by a clothesline. Neckbreaker by Virgil gets a big reaction. Piper hot tag against Flair with Piper doing the dreaded eye poke a couple of times. All of the heels went into the ring, so the faces went after them. Piper slammed Flair off the top rope. Piper sent Flair into the corner leading to Flair bumping over the top to the floor. Five of the guys were brawling while Flair was outside the ring. The ref called for the bell.
The announcement is that every participant that was battling in the ring is disqualified except for one man…Ric Flair.
Roddy Piper, Virgil, Bret Hart, Ted Dibiase & The Mountie eliminated by disqualification
Survivor: Ric Flair
Post match, the faces cleared the heels from the ring. The faces celebrated in the ring as Piper’s music played even though they lost. Heenan celebrated the win by Flair.
Analysis: ***1/4 Good match thanks to the likes of Flair, Hart and Dibiase playing major roles. They were among the best wrestlers in the company at the time, so when you have them in there to carry things the match is going to be better. The pace of the match was a lot faster than what we usually get. Since they took ten minutes for the first elimination, it also allowed them to tell a better story. The finish wasn’t great with five guys getting disqualified, but the rest of the match was well done.
The great Randy Savage was interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund on the platform by the entrance area. Huge ovation for him. Savage said he was delirious and was hallucinating after the snake bite, but he could hear Elizabeth crying. That hurt him worse than anything Jake Roberts could ever do to him. Savage talked about his match against Roberts at This Tuesday in Texas. Elizabeth walked out to join Savage on the stage. She thanked people for supporting Savage in his reinstatement. She ended it with a familiar “oh yeah” of her own.
Analysis: More promotion for This Tuesday in Texas, which is something that happened a lot during this show. Savage was one of the best promo guys from this era.
Survivor Series Elimination Match: Col. Mustafa, The Berzerker, Skinner and Hercules (w/Mr. Fuji and General Adnan) vs. Sgt. Slaughter, Jim Duggan, The Texas Tornado and Tito Santana
Pre-match notes: Colonel Mustafa was really The Iron Sheik with a different name. I remember being a kid watching this and wondering why they would change the name of a guy that was a World Champion. He was the captain of the heel team while Slaughter was the captain of the face team. Slaughter was the biggest heel in WWE and the World Champion earlier in the year, but he went back to being a proud American by the end of the year. The heel team is awful.
Santana nailed a flying forearm on Skinner early on, but Skinner landed outside the ring. Santana wasn’t able to capitalize with a pin. Berzerker missed a leaping attack off the middle rope, so Tornado tagged in. The heels worked on Tornado a bit, but then he broke free. Hercules looked like he was using more steroids here than any of the other years and he was big in those years too. Berzerker nailed Duggan in the back as the heels worked on Duggan in their corner. Back elbow by Berzerker. Mustafa tagged in with a chinlock. Shoulder tackle by Duggan on Mustafa. Duggan ran the ropes and Mustafa slowed him down with a double thrust to the neck. Duggan with a vertical suplex on Mustafa. Slaughter tagged in, atomic drop and a short clothesline eliminates Mustafa.
Col. Mustafa eliminated by Sgt. Slaughter
Analysis: That helped put that storyline to bed.
Berzerker worked on Slaughter for a bit including a big boot to the face. Berzerker wasn’t doing the “HUSS” thing very much at this point in his run. Slaughter crotched Berzerker on the top rope followed by a kick to the leg. Duggan clothesline on Berzerker sent him over the top to the floor. Tornado was in there with a spin punch to Berzerker. Sloppy move by Tornado as he avoided an attack by Hercules. Santana tagged in with a flying forearm to Hercules to eliminate him.
Hercules eliminated by Tito Santana
Skinner attacked Santana as it’s four on two for the faces. Clothesline by Berzerker on Santana. Slaughter tagged in for his team, did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Skinner and eliminated him.
Skinner eliminated by Sgt. Slaughter
Duggan tagged in, hit his running clothesline on Berzerker and pinned him at 14:19.
The Berzerker eliminated by Jim Duggan
Survivors: Sgt. Slaughter, Jim Duggan, The Texas Tornado and Tito Santana
Analysis: DUD It was so bad that it gets the DUD rating. I almost went into the negatives here. What a terrible match. The moves sucked, the eliminations were poorly done and there was very little drama or excitement in the match. My favorite part about it was when it was over.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts was interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund on the stage. Nice sweater. That’s sarcasm. He was there to promote This Tuesday in Texas against Randy Savage. When Gene told him he was a sick man, Roberts said “thank you very much.” Roberts said he’s always been the snake you should be worried about.
Analysis: Jake was one of the best heels during this period. I wish he had a bigger role because he was never able to break through to the main event level. Perhaps it was a trust thing since he had a drinking problem for most of his career.
The announcers talked about how This Tuesday in Texas will be a pay-per-view event.
They aired clips that set up Hulk Hogan’s WWE Title defense against The Undertaker. It started with Ric Flair doing a promo during Paul Bearer’s talk show segment. Undertaker attacked Hogan in the back with the urn. Roddy Piper and Randy Savage showed up to save Hogan. Undertaker ripped off Hogan’s chain and dropped it on his chest.
Analysis: It was a pretty good angle. Undertaker debuted a year earlier, was booked as an unstoppable monster and finally got his shot at the title.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Hulk Hogan vs. The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer)
Pre-match notes: The crowd went wild for Hogan during his entrance. Undertaker was mostly booed, but there was a lot of silence for him too.
Hogan tossed over the casket that was at ringside. Punches from Undertaker early on followed by some choking. That was a lot of his offense in the early years. I’m glad that he improved significantly as he got more experience. Hogan avoided an elbow drop, hit a clothesline, Taker didn’t go down and Hogan tried a running forearm yet was still unable to knock him down. Hogan with a clothesline that sent Undertaker over the top to the floor with Undertaker landing on his feet. Undertaker sent Hogan face first into the steel steps. Undertaker choked Hogan with some cable that was ringside. Heenan insulted some fat woman at ringside because he liked to say mean things. Claw hold by Undertaker wore down Hogan some more. This lasted for about two minutes and nearly put me to sleep. Hogan came back with shoulder tackles, but then Taker came back with a leaping clothesline. Undertaker picked up Hogan and hit a Tombstone. He didn’t cover him, so Hogan popped right up. Huge ovation as Hogan did his Hulking Up routine with the punches to the head.
Hogan staggered Undertaker, knocked him down to one knee and he gave Undertaker a body slam. Ric Flair walked down to ringside with his robe on. Paul Bearer distracted Hogan. Hogan left the ring to punch Flair. Hogan hit the big boot on Undertaker. Bearer grabbed the leg of Hogan right in front of the referee. The referee yelled at Bearer. Undertaker scooped up Hogan, Flair held a chair near the ropes and Undertaker hit a Tombstone on Hogan on the chair. You could see it didn’t come close to touching anything. I’m not saying he should have hit the chair. It just didn’t look good. Undertaker covered for the win at the 12:45 mark.
Winner and New WWE Champion: The Undertaker
Flair left immediately while Undertaker was given the WWE Title. Heenan yelled about how Hulkamania was dead.
Analysis: * One star. That’s it and I may be too nice about it. Bad match, but historically important because it was a major title change with a young star like Undertaker beating Hogan. If it was a clean finish it would have been even better. Hogan rarely lost clean, though. Plus, they wanted to use this to set up the rematch at This Tuesday in Texas. The finish definitely made people think that it would be Hogan vs. Flair at WrestleMania 8, but they went in another direction because their matches weren’t at a standard that WWE liked apparently. Undertaker was just 25 years old when he won this World Title. I believe that he was the third-youngest ever WWE World Champion after Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar.
After the match was over, agents like Pat Patterson and Tony Garea and officials checked on Hogan. Heenan loved it as he said Hulkamania has been buried and is dead.
Analysis: Good sell job by Hogan after the match. It put over the seriousness of the finish.
Roddy Piper was interviewed by Gene Okerlund. He ripped on Ric Flair. It felt like a waste of time more than anything.
Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect were interviewed by Sean Mooney in the locker room. Flair said he’s the one real World Champion. Flair said that Hogan is on his way to the hospital and it’s all over for Hogan.
Analysis: Heels lie because it wasn’t over for Hogan, brother.
The heel team of Earthquake, Typhoon and Irwin R. Schyster with Jimmy Hart were interviewed by Mean Gene. They’re in the main event tag match later.
The face team of Legion of Doom and Big Boss Man were interviewed by Sean Mooney as they did their promo for the main event.
Analysis: A lot of yelling in both promos.
The WWF President Jack Tunney was interviewed by Gene Okerlund about what happened in The Gravest Challenge. Tunney said the referee’s ruling is final. Tunney set up Undertaker vs. Hogan for the WWE Title at This Tuesday in Texas and he will be at ringside to ensure a fair and just outcome.
Analysis: They used this show to promote This Tuesday in Texas a lot and there’s another example of it.
Survivor Series Elimination Match: The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags) and The Beverly Brothers (Beau and Blake) vs. The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) and The Bushwhackers (Luke and Butch)
Pre-match notes: The Rockers team are the faces while The Nasty Boys are on the heel team. The tag division was a bit weaker than in previous years, but there were still a lot of teams. I’m not enthusiastic about watching the Nasty Boys or Bushwhackers. There are a lot of mullets on the heel team.
Running knee lift by Butch to Knobbs and then a double clothesline with Luke. Bushwhackers cleared house as all four heels escaped to the floor and then The Rockers each hit dropkicks on the Nasty Boys. Michaels nailed a neckbreaker, but then took a backbreaker. Knobbs battled Luke and hit a sloppy clothesline off the middle ropes to eliminate him.
Luke eliminated by Brian Knobbs
Analysis: That clothesline looked terrible, which reminded me of how awful Knobbs was in the ring.
Sags worked over Michaels a bit, but Michaels came back with a cross body block off the top rope. Jannetty did a splash on the arm of Sags leading to him working on the arm. Jannetty hit arm drags on Sags while the announcers were arguing about Hogan stuff. Jannetty with a kick on Beau for a two count. Beau used his size advantage to hit a double ax to the back and a gutwrench suplex on Jannetty. They did a collision spot where both guys crashed and went down. Blake tagged in against Butch, who nailed both Beverly Bros with clotheslines. Double team move by the Beverly Brothers was like a double flapjack and that’s it for Butch.
Butch eliminated by Beau Beverly
It’s two Rockers left against four heels. Jannetty with a hurricanrana on Beau got a two count. Kick by Jannetty blocked, so he kicked Beau down with the other leg. Michaels tagged in, but the heels quickly took control and worked him over in their corner. Knobbs drove Michaels back first into the side of the ring apron. Beau with a back elbow on Michaels. Backbreaker by Beau on Michaels. After a lot of taunting by Beau, Michaels avoided a move and did a backslide pin to eliminate Beau.
Beau Beverly eliminated by Shawn Michaels
Analysis: Great build up to that elimination with Michaels taking a beating and then hitting a backslide to eliminate Beau.
Blake nailed a powerslam on Michaels. Sunset flip by Michaels on Knobbs, who was the legal man. Michaels hit a dropkick to the back of Sags to send him to the floor. Michaels ran across the apron and hit a flying clothesline on Sags. Superkick by Michaels on Knobbs. He’s the man. Back in the ring, Michaels jumped off the top and Sags punched him in the mouth. Blake sent Michaels across the top rope throat first. Monsoon was wondering why Michaels didn’t tag out, then he tagged Jannetty and Monsoon said “it’s about time.” Jannetty worked on Knobbs a bit until Knobbs did an eye rake. Jannetty got a two count on Blake, so Knobbs tagged in for the heels. Knobbs whipped Jannetty into the corner and hit a crappy looking slam. Pumphandle slam by Sags on Jannetty. Back suplex by Sags on Jannetty. Knobbs tagged in and missed an attack off the middle rope. Michaels tagged in with a running clothesline on Knobbs. All five guys were in the ring with the faces throwing the Nasty Boys into Blake. Michaels knocked down Knobbs, Jannetty picked up Sags and the feet of Sags knocked down Michaels, which led to Knobbs pinning Michaels.
Shawn Michaels eliminated by Brian Knobbs
After the elimination, Michaels was mad about it. He yelled at Marty with Marty shrugging his shoulders about it. Shawn shoved him away. After a long pause, Shawn just chose to leave.
Analysis: This was one of the Rockers last matches together because shortly after this they did the split on the Barber Shop talk show segment with Michaels throwing Jannetty through the glass window. One year later, Michaels main evented Survivor Series.
Jannetty was left alone against three heels. He got his feet up to block a corner attack from Knobbs and hit a bulldog, but Sags kicked him to break up a pin. Sags dumped Jannetty over the top to the floor. Back in the ring, Blake hit Jannetty with a powerslam and picked him up instead of covering him. Jannetty slammed Knobbs head into the apron and then a superkick for Sags. Jannetty went up top and hit a cross body block on the Nasty Boys outside the ring. Jannetty took down Blake with a hair whip. Cradle by Jannetty on Sags, but the ref was checking on Blake for some reason. Knobbs turned Sags on top and the ref counted the pin to end the match at 23:06.
Survivors: Brian Knobbs, Jerry Sags & Blake Beverly
Post match, the replays focused on the problems between Shawn and Marty.
Analysis: **1/2 The match was okay at times because it was carried by the Rockers, who were so great at selling everything and had awesome offensive moves. The offense of the Nasty Boys was so bad. I forgot how bad it looked at times, but then you watch a match like this and remember it. They were good at brawls. Anything other than that just didn’t come across well.
The heel team entered for the main event with Irwin R. Schyster deciding to talk before the match. IRS called Boss Man a tax cheat that is going to pay.
Survivor Series Elimination Match: The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon) and Irwin R. Schyster (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) and Big Boss Man
Pre-match notes: Legion of Doom’s team were the faces. LOD were the Tag Team Champions at the time. Natural Disasters and IRS were the heels. As mentioned earlier, it’s 3 on 3 because no Savage or Roberts on the show.
Loud “LOD” chant to start the match. Good speed shown by Boss Man in tripping up Schyster followed by a hard whip into the ropes. Boot to the face by Boss Man to Schyster. Earthquake faced off with Boss Man, but he said he wanted Animal. Here comes Animal since they had a feud with the Natural Disasters. Backbreaker by Earthquake on Animal, but then he missed a splash. Dropkick by Animal followed by a shoulder tackle. Hawk was in there with Schyster for a bit. Typhoon tagged in and took a beating from the faces. Hawk dropped Schyster with a back suplex. Boss Man nailed a running splash to the back of Schyster against the ropes. The LOD guys were arguing with Earthquake, the ref was over there, Typhoon slid a briefcase to Schyster and Schyster hit Boss Man in the head with it. Schyster covered Boss Man to eliminate him.
Big Boss Man eliminated by Irwin R. Schyster
Earthquake with a belly to belly on Animal gets two. Typhoon tagged in with a bearhug on Animal. Boot to the face by Animal broke free and then a clothesline. Hawk punched Typhoon and then hit a running shoulder tackle. Schyster had the briefcase again, but Hawk moved and it hit Typhoon. Hawk covered Typhoon to eliminate him.
Typhoon eliminated by Hawk
Earthquake was mad at Schyster about the elimination. They argued about it for a bit. Earthquake left with Typhoon, so Earthquake was counted out.
Earthquake eliminated by countout
Schyster was left alone against LOD. Hawk missed a corner charge, so Schyster elbowed him and sent him out of the ring. Schyster whipped Hawk into the steps and the fans chanted for LOD again. Back in the ring, back elbow by Schyster. They both ran the ropes and did a collision spot that looked bad. Hawk with a suplex leading to a hot tag to Animal. Animal hit a double axe, then a powerslam and LOD did a double clothesline. Schyster rolled out of the ring and walked away. Big Boss Man showed up in the aisle, so Schyster went back in the ring. It was much longer than ten seconds, so I guess the referee wasn’t counting. Animal with a suplex off the apron. Hawk went up top and hit a clothesline off the top to take down Schyster. Animal covered for the win to end the match at 15:21.
Irwin R. Schyster eliminated by Animal
Survivors: Hawk & Animal of Legion of Doom
Analysis: *1/4 A slow and plodding elimination match due to the presence of a lot of big guys. Boss Man and Schyster had some decent moments working well together. Most of the rest of it was bad. Legion of Doom had a lot of star power, but their matches were very average. This match just didn’t seem to get going and it would have been better if it were five minutes shorter.
There was a shot of Sean Mooney in the locker room saying that Hulk Hogan didn’t want to be on camera because he’ll do his talking in the ring at This Tuesday in Texas.
The announce team of Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan talked about This Tuesday in Texas.
The Undertaker with Paul Bearer were interviewed by Mean Gene in a darkened part of the arena. Bearer said that Hulkamania died earlier in the evening. Undertaker had a coffin, he said that Hulkamania died at Survivor Series and this Tuesday will be the burial. The show ended there.
Analysis: It was just a final promo by Undertaker to set up This Tuesday in Texas.
The show had a run time of 2 hours and 35 minutes.
– The match order may seem off because the WWE Title match didn’t end the night, but this was during the time when the company wanted to end the show on a happy note. Legion of Doom were the most popular guys on the show other than Hogan, so it made sense for them to be in that spot.
– It was good to watch the tease of the breakup of the Rockers again. I haven’t seen it in a while. It was well done with Shawn getting mad that Marty accidentally cost him the match. As I mentioned earlier, the split of the team took place shortly after this.
– Hulk Hogan’s match with Undertaker was awful although it’s still historically significant because Hogan rarely lost.
– I need to share my story about when I first saw The Undertaker live because it was shortly after this. The first live WWF event I ever attended took place on the weekend after this show. I saw The Undertaker during his six-day reign as WWE Champion. He faced Davey Boy Smith on that show. I was 11 years old and felt scared when Undertaker looked right at me because we were sitting in the second row. It scared the hell out of me, but at the same time, I thought it was the coolest thing ever.
Show rating (out of 10): 4
It was a bad show. I think WWE must have realized it because next year they cut back on the number of elimination matches they had and had more singles matches on there. Once again if you’re an Undertaker fan it’s cool to see his first WWE Title win from 25 years ago. Other than that, it was largely forgettable.
Best Match: Team Flair vs. Team Piper
Worst Match: Team Slaughter vs. Team Mustafa
Most Memorable Moment: Undertaker wins the WWE Title. It was a crappy match, but definitely the most memorable part of this show.
1. Ric Flair
2. Ted Dibiase
3. Bret Hart
4. Irwin R. Schyster
5. The Undertaker – The match sucked, but it was his first WWE Title win, so I figured he should be here.
That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.
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