We’re back for the final PPV of 1988 and it’s a Survivor Series 1988 review. Now I love a Survivor Series as seen last year when it was ranked as WWE’s #1 PPV up to that point in my eyes. This year is much the same with four Survivor Series matches including one big twenty man tag team match. So fifty of WWE’s top superstars are in action and this year there is no womens match.
Macho Man Randy Savage is still World Heavyweight champion and much like Summerslam, he won’t be defending the gold at this PPV. He’s spent most of the year feuding with The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase although more recently The Big Boss Man and Akeem have had their problems with the Mega Powers. Hercules has turned face after being sold to Ted Dibiase whilst Andre seems more concerned with Jake Roberts these days, taking a step down from the main event scene.
The Ultimate Warrior is the Intercontinental champion and is still feuding with ex champion Honky Tonk Man. Brutus Beefcake and Ron Bass also continue their feud after The Outlaw took out Beefcake just before Summerslam. Demolition are still the tag champs but the Powers of Pain have them in their sights so that should be one to watch in the tag match. Old schoolers Brian Blair, Junkyard Dog and Don Muraco have all left the WWF in recent months so it’ll be up to newer guys like The Blue Blazer, Scott Casey and Sam Houston to step up. It’s showtime.
The show opens with a brand new steel WWF logo with the familiar brown Survivor Series logo. We’ve got the familiar team of Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura on commentary.
Demolition (Ax & Smash), The Conquistadors, The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff & Boris Zhukov), The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard) & The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques & Raymond) vs. The Powers Of Pain (The Barbarian & Warlord), The Young Stallions (Paul Roma & Jim Powers), The Hart Foundation (Bret “Hitman” Hart & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart), The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) & The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid).
Well tonight the show kicks off with a big 10 vs 10 Survivor Series tag team match. It’s similar to last year where when one member of a team gets eliminated his tag team partner goes too. The face team looks a lot stronger on paper with two set of former tag team champions in the Hart Foundation and The British Bulldogs. The Young Stallions won the match last year whilst The Powers Of Pain are the team in form. The heel team only bring experience in Demolition, The Fabulous Rougeaus and The Bolsheviks. The Brain Busters and The Rockers are new tag teams and are making their PPV debut in the WWF along with the mysterious Conquistadors.
Mr Fuji, Bobby Heenan and Jimmy Hart are in the corner of the heels as a Conquistador and Davey Boy Smith start off the match. There were three tag team matchs outside of the main event at Summerslam and all six of those teams are in this match. Boris Zhukov and Marty Jannetty are now the legal men. I think the Bolsheviks have already lasted longer than last year. Jannetty and now Dynamite dominate the heels for a good while. im Powers gets the tag as does Smash. The heel make quick tags now and in comes Jacques with a big dropkick. The crowd then go nuts as Bret Hart gets tagged in.
I like the quick tags in this match, it keeps it fresh. Jacques tags in Raymond and Bret Hart quickly rolls him up for the three count! The Fabulous Rougeaus are the first team eliminated. Smash back in and going back and forth with Neidhart. Another huge reaction as Jim tags in The Barbarian. The crowd wanted to see Demolition and the Powers of Pain go at it. Smash tags in a Conquistador who takes a beating off the Powers of Pain and then Bret Hart. I think everybody has been in the ring at one point or another. I’m pretty sure The Rougeaus haven’t won on PPV in over two years. Arn Anderson in now and delivering a huge spinebuster to Shawn Michaels. A near fall though. Arn tags in a Conquistador who have been in there way too long whilst One Rocker tags the other.
I love a strong tag division and the fact there are ten proper tag teams in this match just goes to show how strong the division is. The crowd go nuts for The Warlord and Ax. Demolition and the Powers of Pain both seem designed on the Road Warriors model. Still only one team eliminated as The Anvil nails a big slam on Tully Blanchard. It’s Boris Zhukov now who uses Jim Powers own momentum to reverse a high cross body into a pin. The Young Stallions won’t win it this year as they are eliminated. I don’t think I’ve seen Slick yet and he’s supposed to be the manager of The Bolsheviks. A clever blind tag is made from Shawn to Marty that allows Marty to sunset flip and pin Boris Zhukov, eliminating The Bolsheviks. It’s four teams against three now. Tully Blanchard plays the cowardly heel in this one, quickly tagging out to avoid bigger opponents.
The Conquistadors in there now and double teamed by The Hart Foundation but somehow they survive. Michaels with a nice dropkick to the gold suited man. By my math The Bulldogs haven’t actually won a match on PPV since Wrestlemania II back in 86 when they won the tag straps. Plenty of near falls in this match as it continues on. Neidhart hits a big suplex on Blanchard and then tags in Bret. Bret hits a big belly to back suplex and seems to have pinned Tully but the decision is given the other way as Tully got his shoulder up. The Hart Foundation are out! It’s down to The Powers of Pain, The British Bulldogs and The Rockers against Demolition, The Brain Busters and the Conquistadors. All hell breaks lose now with The Rockers and The Brain Busters with all four men in the ring. Arn and Shawn shove referees out of the way and they all get disqualified! It’s down to Demolition and The Conquistadors against The British Bulldogs and The Powers Of Pain.
You’ve got to fancy this one coming down to the Powers of Pain and Demolition but the Bulldogs sure could do with the win. How the Conquistadors are still in there I don’t know. Davey Boy with a near fall on Ax. And then he hits his running powerslam on a Conquistador. Why didn’t he cover him indeed Jesse. Dynamite misses a headbutt off the top rope which allows Smash to nail a clothesline and pin him for the three. Demolition and Conquistadors against The Powers of Pain now. Fuji is left in the heels corner whilst there is no Baron tonight with the Powers of Pain because he’s gone from the WWF. It’s nice to see the two main teams at the end of this match as opposed to last year when Strike Force and The Hart Foundation who were feuding over the belts at the time were eliminated mid-match.
Fuji is up on the apron now waving his can around. Smash goes to finish off the Warlord and runs off the ropes but Fuji opens them up and smash goes right through them. He falls to the outside and the referee counts him out. The tag champs are eliminated! And Demolition are angry with Fuji, taking him out on the outside. It’s the Powers of Pain that go out and help Fuji up! It looks like we’ve had a face/heel swap here with Demolition and the Powers of Pain. Back in the ring a Conquistador runs off the rope and Fuji grabs his leg. Barbarian then runs off the rope and hits him with a headbutt for the win! The crowd cheers for the win but the Powers then celebrate with Mr Fuji. Demolition run out and take out the Barbarian and Warlord and the crowd boo. I don’t think the crowd know who to cheer for! It’s the Powers of Pain with the big win tonight in good match booking. They’re bound to get a title shot down the line.
Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, The Blue Blazer, Sam Houston, “Jumping” Jim Brunzell & The Ultimate Warrior vs. The Honky Tonk Man, “Dangerous” Danny Davis, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, “The Outlaw” Ron Boss & Bad News Brown.
Well if last years show is anything to go by then this is The Intercontinental match. The Warrior is the champion having beat Honky Tonk Man in record breaking time at Summerslam. He of course replaced his co-captain in this one Brutus Beefcake who was taken out by Ron Bass. Bad News Brown is a hot commodity at the moment having won matches at Wrestlemania and Summerslam whilst former Intercontinental champion Greg Valentine and Danny Davis make up the team. Warrior and Beefcake are joined by three guys with high energy. Sam Houston and The Blue Blazer (Owen Hart) will fly from one side of the ring to the other whilst Jim Brunzell who is also quick replaces Don Muraco who left the WWF before the PPV.
It’s former tag team champions and members of The Dream Team, Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake. Not for long though as Valentine tags in Danny Davis. And straight away Brutus locks in a sleeper and Davis is out! Very quick elimination there. Bad News Brown in there now with Jim Brunzell. Brunzell is no longer in his Killer Bees yellow and black trunks but white and red signifying that the Bees are over. And so is Jim as Brown hits him with the Ghetto Blaster, pinning him for the three. Sam Houston in there now as Brown holds him for Valentine. Sam ducks though and Greg hits Brown! Bad News doesn’t like that and leaves the match, getting counted out!
Ron Bass and Sam Houston in there now. Both men looking for their first ever PPV victory. Honky, Bass and Davis were on the same team last year. And it’s Bass that eliminates Houston after a big slam. The Blue Blazer taking it to Valentine now. He goes up top but Honky shoves him off. The Hammer then locks in the figure four leg lock! The Blazer taps and we’re down to three on two. Brutus with an atomic drop on Honky Tonk. And then he locks in a sleeper but Honky falls to the outside taking Brutus with him. The two men scrap on the outside and both men get counted out! We’re down to Ron Bass and Greg Valentine against The Ultimate Warrior. You’ve got to fancy the Intercontinental champion in this one. After some double teaming The Warrior comes back and pins Ron Bass.
It’s down to Valentine and The Ultimate Warrior. The Warrior smashes him with a double axe handle and it’s over! The Ultimate Warrior is the sole survivor in this one and the crowd go bananas!
Backstage to Bad News Brown who admits to being a loner. He calls Greg Valentine and stupid idiot for hitting him. Brown is from Harlem and he wants the World Champion Randy Savage. May as well aim high eh but there’s probably a good reason he’s not in the main event tonight.
Backstage again, this time to the Ultimate Warrior. Warrior has some strange yellow pain peeling off his face. Apparently Warriors team went without food and sleep in preparation for his match. He then speaks his usual garbage but thanks his team.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Ken Patera, Tito Santana, Scott Casey & “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan vs. Dino Bravo, Harley Race, Mr Perfect, “Ravishing” Rick Rude & Andre The Giant.
Two interesting teams here. Roberts stands out on his team as someone who will go the whole way and Tito and Duggan may do ok but I don’t rate the other two guys. Casey actually replaces Brian Blair who replaced JYD as both guys left the WWF. The heel team seems stronger with Andre dropping down from the main event picture. Rude continues his feud with Roberts, hopefully we’ll get the blow off to that one on pay per view. Bravo and Race are solid mid carders who make up the team whilst Perfect is the wild card. Patera and Rude start the match off. Rude nails the Rude Awakening early on and unsuprisingly Patera is out. Scott Casey in now with Harley Race. I have no idea who this Scott Casey is but he’s out next courtesy of Dino Bravo. Santana in now and he almost pins Dino.
Five on three as Harley Race comes back in. Race hits a piledriver on Santana and the former tag team and Intercontinental champion kicks out! Santana is wearing his Strike Force ring gear but there’s no sign of Martel. Tito hits the flying forearm and eliminates Race! Andre in now to kick some ass. He was the sole survivor in the main event of last years Survivor Series. He’s had his problems with both Jim Duggan and Jake Roberts. Bravo has been feuding with Duggan too. Tito goes for a sunset flip and Andre just sits on him for the three count. Santan’s out. The crowd go mad for Duggan coming out and then even madder for Roberts!
It’s Duggan and Roberts against Andre, Rude, Perfect and Bravo. Rude gets the tag and we’ve got Jake and Rick going at it. Frenchy Martin is at ringside representing Bravo whilst Heenan manages the rest of the heel team/ Duggan in with Dino now and as he goes for a three point stance Frenchy grabs his leg. It’s enough of a distraction for Bravo to chuck him out of the ring and powerslam him. Duggan grabs his two by four and smashes Bravo with it! The crowd love it, Hoooooooooooo! Duggan is of course disqualified leaving Roberts on his own. I did call it. Roberts and Rude now. Rude goes up top and lands a big punch on Jake. Rick goes to make a tag but Roberts pulls his trunks down, spins him round and nails a DDT. And he is eliminated! It’s three on one now. Andre in and choking the life out of the Snake! The referee can’t get him off, it’s another disqualification!
Down to Roberts against Perfect and Bravo! Roberts is down on the desk and Perfect climbs in and pins him! It’s over, Bravo and Perfect win the match. Roberts grabs his snake though causing the heels to run from the ring. A great PPV debut for Perfect and good for Bravo too who has now won on back to back PPVs. Roberts was very close to becoming the first man to win on both Survivor Series PPVs.
Backstage to Andre now who is very happy for eliminated Jake Roberts. He’s asked if he’s afraid of snakes and he says no! He’s not afraid of anything or anyone, especially not you Jake Roberts or you Feeto Santana. Feeto, brilliant. Andre has a great voice now he’s got more confident with promoing and not mumbling so much.
Now backstage to Jake Roberts who is stood in exactly the same spot Andre was two minutes ago. Roberts is happy he fought back after it was four on one. He promises in the next year he’ll take revenge on them all.
Akeem, King Haku, “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase, “The Red Rooster” Terry Taylor & The Big Boss Man vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Koko B. Ware, Hillbilly Jim, Hercules & Hulk Hogan.
You can’t help but like Akeems theme music, sung by Slick himself. He comes out dancing and it makes me want to cheer for him. This match doesn’t necessarily scream main event to me. I mean Savage, Hogan and Dibiase are the top three guys at the moment. Akeem (a rebranded One Man Gang) and The Big Boss Man seem to be riding a big push at the moment and are co-captains of their team. Haku formerly of The Islanders has gone solo and is now “King Haku” despite not winning a King Of The Ring Tournament. It was actually Dibiase that won it the month prior. Hercules has now turned face, and is getting a slight push after being unhappy at being sold to Ted Dibiase. I didn’t even realise Hillbilly Jim was still employed so fair play to him for getting in the main event. Koko is a midcarder who has found himself in this match and The Red Rooster is Heenans new man that is lucky to be in the match too.
Savage and Dibiase start the match off in a rematch from Wrestlemania. Randy dressed in his yellow and red trunks as a member of the Mega Powers with Hogan. Hercules in now with The Red Rooster. Not for long though, Akeem and Koko get the tags. And now Haku. Quick tags. And Hogan finally gets the tag which receives screams from the crowd. Hillbilly Jim with the tag and he’s the last man off the face team to come in. This is the first time since Wrestlemania III that Hillbilly Jim is in a match that isn’t a battle royal/Royal Rumble. Koko in there with a big dropkick off the top rope to the Rooster. And then he tags in Hogan. He hits a big boot and powerslam to Rooster then tags in Savage who hits the big elbow and gets the first elimination of the match. Heenan looks very unhappy with the Rooster, shouting at him as he walks to the back.
Hercules still looking for his first PPV win and I’m pretty sure Koko is too. Koko had his problems with the Boss Man, losing to him at Summerslam. It’s Hercules and Akeem in there now. And now Hillbilly who takes it to Akeem. He was good buddied with Hogan back in the day which explains why he’s in this match. Well, not any more, Akeem hits the “747” which is a big splash on him and eliminates him from the match. Hogan in now who holds Akeem for Savage to hit him with a double axe handle. Quick tags from the faces and nobody can take Akeem down. He tags in the Boss Man who enters for the first time and much like Summerlsam he pins Koko B Ware.
And in comes Hogan. The crowd go nuts for Boss Man and Hogan going toe to toe. Boss Man looks like he’s lost a bit of weight and Hogan finally drops him to the mat with a powerslam. Boss Man returns the favour with a spinebuster though. 1987 may have been the year of Hogan and Andre but 1988 has been the year of Savage and Dibiase. It’s Hogan that the Million Dollar Man has to deal with now though. I’d say the first three guys eliminated in this match were the right three. If it continues then it should be Hercules and Haku next. Virgil distracts Hercules and Dibiase rolls him up. Dibiase is distracted by Hercules on the outside and Macho Man runs in and rolls him up for the three!
We’re down to Boss Man, Akeem and Haku against Savage and Hogan. Savage and Hogan go back and forth and Randy then tags in the Hulkster. The crowd are booing something but I’m not sure what. Boss Man back in and taking it to Hogan. All five of these guys won matches on the last PPV they were on. If we count Akeem as One Man Gang of course. Back in the ring Haku has a nerve hold locked in on Hogan. Eventually he Hulks up but not for long, Haku tags in Boss Man who hits the sidewalk slam. He doesn’t pin him though because he forgets he has to pin him. The big man goes up top, I can’t see this ending well. It doesn’t, he misses the big splash. And Hulk tags in Boss Man. Macho takes out everyone until Slick trips him up, sending him flying. Great sell.
On the outside Slick shouts at Elizabeth and then tries to drag her to the back. A bit rapey. Hulk saves her though and Akeem and the Boss Man take him out and then handcuff Hogan to the bottom rope. The Boss Man is counted out! The police enforcer grabs his nightstick and smashes Hulk with it. Not looking good for the former World champion. Boss Man then smashes Savage with the nightstick whilst Haku lays in the boots to Hogan on the outside. Akeem is then disqualified! I’m not sure why, it’s not his fault Big Boss Man got involved. So it’s Haku against the Mega Powers now. Well, Haku against Savage. Hulk is still handcuffed and Slick is taunting him with the keys. Elizabeth distracts the referee and Slick grabs Savage but Haku nails him with a thrust kick!
Hogan nails Heenan and Elizabeth finds the keys for the handcuffs and frees Hogan. Haku goes up top and lands a big splash but Randy kicks out. Hogan is back in his corner now and gets the tag! Things are not looking good for Haku now. Hogan hits a boot, a powerslam and then a big legdrop! The Mega Powers win the match! Savage is a wreck and Hulk looks quite fresh. Of course it had to be Hogan who got the winning pinfall. Hulk celebrates with Elizabeth and Savage looks pissed. Savage becomes the only man to win at both Survivor Series events.
Rating: 6.25/10* Match Of The Night
Jesse Ventura backstage with Savage now stirring the shit. Randy denies being angry, he just claims to be determined. Ventura isn’t having it though. Randy claims to be the sole survivor, he wsn’t. Ventura gives off an evil laugh, he thinks there’s more to it.
Well Survivor Series was another enjoyable feast. They managed to cram 50 men into the card although i’m sure the PPV would have survived without guys like Scott Casey, Jim Brunzell and The Conquistadors. There’s a face/heel swap with Demolition and The Powers Of Pain which was a big suprise. The Ultimate Warrior winning his match was less of a suprise. I wouldn’t have picked Mr Perfect and Dino Bravo to win their match but would have picked Hogan and Savage. It’s hard to look past Ted Dibiase as number one contender to Savage’s World Heavyweight title match but it’ll be interesting to see what happens at the Royal Rumble.
Overall it was a solid enough PPV. I wish I had a better version of the show which didn’t skip on the two mid card bouts pretty much just showing the highlights. The tag team Survivor Series match was a big improvement on last years. This show tends to be gimmicky and starts to sew the seeds for Wrestlemania. It was a fun show and an enjoyable watch. There wasn’t a terrible match on the card.
Overall Rating: 52/100 (Ranked #1 out of 10)