Survivor Series ’88


Survivor Match #1: Ultimate Warrior, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, Sam Houston, The Blue Blazer, Jim Brunzell vs. Honky Tonk Man, Danny Davis, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, “Outlaw” Ron Bass, Bad News Brown


Immediately, I’m surprised at one thing in this match, namely that Sam Houston is still around.  How was he in this many Pay Per Views?  Did he work for nickles?  This whole grouping is pretty strange; lets see what he can do with it.

The match kicks off with Valentine against Beefcake.  This is fantastic!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen them wrestle before.  Sadly, neither of them are really that dynamic and they just exchange some blows before tagging out.  Danny Davis comes in, another guy I’m stunned got in this many PPVs.   His kicks land with all the gentle force of a history major complaining about the job market.  He is eliminated in no time flat.   Like in literal seconds by the worst sleeper of all time.

Blue Blazer kicks off the next round, which is kind of melancholy.  Owen Hart was awesome.   Another series of tags and Gorilla gets the chance to refer to Jim Brunzell as a youngster.  Brunzell was 40 when this PPV occurred.

I guess young is relative
I guess young is relative

Bad News Brown jumps into the action and hits just about the sloppiest Ghetto Blaster in history.  I hate that move.  Sam Houston runs in and Bad News just beats the ever-loving piss out of him for a couple of minutes, to the point where I feel a little bad.  Valentine accidentally nails Bad News Brown after a tag, so Bad News says “screw this” and quits.  Ron Bass takes over the vicious, never ending beating of Sam Houston.

The only other notable matchup in this one is the Blue Blazer – he has a fantastic, high energy run against Valentine before submitting.  The whole thing ends with Warrior going insane against Outlaw and Valentine for the win.

Overall: Except for the Blue Blazer, an uneven start to the event


Survivor Match #2: Demolition, Los Conquistadores, The Brain Busters, The Rougeau Brothers, The Bolsheviks vs. Powers of Pain, The Rockers, The British Bulldogs, The Hart Foundation, The Cock-Hungry Young Stallions


Davey Boy Smith starts off the event doing what he does best – Body Press Slams – this time taking one of the Rougeaus and throwing him into the other.  He’s pretty tired from that so quickly tags out to the Heart Break Kid, before he was the Heart Break Kid, Shawn Michaels.  He quickly displays some nice athleticism and performs a quick flip off the top turnbuckle in the corner before tagging out to Marty Jannetty.

Marty Jannetty doesn’t really get the praise he truly deserves.  This guy was talented and controlled matches really well.  In fact at this part of their careers, I would actually prefer to watch him more than Shawn Michaels.  He’s quick and explosive like Southern BBQ Chili and at one point does this crazy horizontal spin move that doesn’t even have a name yet – like a sideways corkscrew Gorilla even calls out that he’s literally never seen that move before

What the flipping fuck was that????
What the flipping fuck was that????

Jannetty does get a large amount of ring time in this one whether that was intentional or not but takes his lumps and keeps on going.  The action overall in this one is great, quick tags – no submissions hold (at least not early on) and a bunch of classic suplexs, body slams, elbows you name it.

After what seems like forever, Bret Hart is finally tagged in.  I’m not quite sure what they were saving him for – maybe they just didn’t want to win?  Anyways, Bret comes in and goes to work beating up Jacques Rougeau who tags out to his brother Ramone.  Bret wastes no time, goes for a quick rollup and finally we have the first elimination.

Some surprises in the match include the beating that Michaels endured at the hands of Volkoff and Zukoff.  Actually what kind of impressed me was Volkoff doing a Body Press Slam of Michaels (didn’t think he could pull that off).

Okay, there is a ton of filler in this match, with not a whole lot of excitement from the wrestlers.  Let’s skip ahead.

 

Bret Hart finally gets back in there and gets to the cusp of eliminating Tony Blanchard (who???) with a nice back suplex bridge pin but Tony get’s his shoulder up at the last second so Bret Hart basically pins himself and really that was the only way he would ever get eliminated in this match.

Eagle eyed readers will remember this exact same move from WM IV
Eagle eyed readers will remember this exact same move from WM IV with Warrior and Hercules

The Rockers manage to get themselves DQ’d with the Brain Busters (Art Anderson and Tony Blanchard) when after executing an awesome double sweet chin music, the fatal 4 way that ensues is enough for the ref to toss both teams.  So down to 4 teams now and Davey Boy Smith does another crazy/strange move by jumping on the back of Smash and putting on a move known as a crucifix – simulating how a wrestler sometimes gets tied up on the top rope – anyways it’s weird and makes me uncomfortable.

Somehow after 35 minutes of this match still going on, Davey Boy Smith still has enough strength to pull off another Body Press Slam of the conquistadors (no idea which is which).  Alright this is taking way too long to review so let’s wrap this one up.  Dynamite kid gets pinned after missing a headbutt from the top rope and Mr. Fuji turns on his own team when he pulls the rope down as Smash is running towards it leading to him falling to the outside.  Mr. Fuji then hits Axe a few times with his cane for dramatic effect and essentially tells them see ya all while Demolition is getting counted out.

With them eliminated, he switches over to manage the Powers of Pain in a weird and wonderful twist of events and helps them win by tripping up one of the Conquistadors as he’s running off the ropes leading to an easy pin.

Overall: Long and fairly boring


Survivor Match #3: Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Ken Patera, “El Matador” Tito Santana, Scott Casey vs. Andre The Giant, Dino Bravo, “The King” Harley Race, Mr. Perfect, Ravishing Rick Rude


Tito Santana is announced as El Matador, which is essentially like taking a Canadian and calling him “The Hockey Player”.

Or the Mountie, I guess
Or the Mountie, I guess

I’m pretty pumped that Mr. Perfect has finally made an appearance in these PPV’s, but I’m confused when they announce Scott Casey, because who the frig is Scott Casey?

This guy
                                             This guy

Interestingly, he was a last minute fill for an injured B. Brian Blair.  This was his only PPV.  I’m going to bet he does spectacular and isn’t immediately eliminated.   Let’s see what happens – on to the match.

It’s great to see Tito and Perfect square off.  Tito is no longer part of Strike Force, but he still is wrestling with a miniature red “Strike Force” logo on his tights.  Awww… Tito can’t get over the breakup.  That’s touching.

Next group has Harley Race comes out to fight Casey whoever.  Jesus.  We need something to happen, this is pretty dull so far.  Aw fuck, they tagged in Hacksuck.  Well he’s brutal.  Tito hits Rude with the flying forearm and Rude kicks out.   That’s never a good sign for a wrestlers career when their finisher becomes a mere power move.

We’re like 10 minutes in with no pin so far.  Rude and Patera go at it for a bit and Rude hits a rude awakening out of nowhere.  I just realized the Rude Awakening was essentially the precursor to the RKO.

I can't tell the difference between Ken Patera and the Greatest American Hero. Maybe that's the point
I also just realized that Ken Patera looks like the                           Greatest American Hero.

Hacksuck comes out again and is terrible again.  Life starts to look up as he starts to get beaten on and my erection could break concrete.  Tito tags in and brings the quality of the match up like 10 notches.  He starts wrestling through Dino Bravo and Harley Race.  Tito hits him with the greatest move of all time, the flying forearm and gets the pin.

Interesting that I love this move, but hate the superman punch
Interesting that I love this move, but hate the superman punch

Next up is Andre / Tito.  This is a great pairing that I can’t ever recall seeing before.  Andre and Tito square off with expected results

Andre, showing off the technical, in-ring elegance he's known for
Andre, showing off the technical, in-ring elegance he’s known for

Not surprisingly, Andre gets the pin pretty quickly and now it’s 4 on 2.  There’s some quick excitement when Jake and Hacksuck get Andre off his feet, but the match quickly moves to the endless beating of Jake

Hacksuck eventually gets in, the crowd erupts, but this has to be close to the end of the match.  Hacksuck doesn’t have the talent or stamina for long matches.  And, yep.  He grabs the 2 by 4 and gets disqualified.  So now it’s just Jake against 4 guys.

This really starts to drag now.  It’s Jake just wrestling extremely cautious as Dino, Perfect and Rude tag in and out.  Eventually Rude gets the upper hand and it looks like curtains for Jake.  As Rude is sex-dancing over his fallen body (which is an odd sentence to type), Jake pulls his pants down (sure) and slaps on the DDT and gets the pin.

Next out comes Andre who proceeds to choke Jake to unconsciousness.  He doesn’t break for the five count, so he gets disqualified.   Mr. Perfect immediately gets the pin.  Why even have Andre get disqualified then?  Why not just have him win?

Overall: Weird finish, but not a bad match


Survivor Match #4: Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Koko B. Ware, Hercules, Hillbilly Jim vs. Big Boss Man, Akeem, Ted Dibiase, King Haku, The Red Rooster


Alright with that out of the way, the final Match of the PPV seems a little one sided with Hogan and Savage vs basically everyone else that is just filler.

Macho Man starts the match off against Dibiase in what feels like a bit of a rematch of their final tournament match a few PPVs ago.  I never really did like these two squaring off as I feel like they never really get into a good flow.  There is one move where both guys do an Irish Whip reversal on each other and it’s just plain sloppy which helps to solidify my point.  Thankfully after a nice clothesline from Macho Man he heads over to the corner to tag in Hercules who apparently had some really bad beef with Dibiase at this time.  Unfortunately the build up to this isn’t realized yet as Dibiase quickly gets out of there and tags in the Red Rooster.  Who came up with that stupid name?

They didn't want to infringe on the Gay, Flying Chicken
Maybe they didn’t want to infringe on the Yellow, Flying Chicken?

Speaking of the Red Rooster, much like the Red Shirt guys in Star Trek he’s the first one marked for elimination and I must say I actually enjoyed it.   Koko B Ware was working over Red Rooster when he tags in Hogan who body slams him, then tags out to Macho Man who goes up to the top rope and lands a flying elbow smash – easy pin and he’s outta there.  The entire team Mega Powers gets into the ring and starts celebrating like it’s over while the other guys try and regroup.

King Haku who obviously beat the crap outta Harley Race and stole his crown faces off against Hogan and to his credit holds his own in there by knocking Hogan down with a nice dropkick.  They go back and forth a bit without much really happening.  Eventually Akeen gets in and quite easily eliminates Hillbilly Jim and no one really cares.  Koko B Ware jumps in and between him, Hogan, Macho Man and Hercules everyone gets a turn beating down Akeen.  Akeen finally gets outta there and tags in Big Boss Man who does his own version of a Rock Bottom on Koko B Ware which leads to his (and his WWF tights) elimination.

The next part of the match I probably enjoyed more than I should as Hogan took on Boss Man and managed to pull off an Atomic Drop and Body Slam – something you didn’t see too often on Boss Man.  Boss Man does recover from both and catches Hogan running towards him and does this modified Power Slam to Hogan. (Essentially he just caught him, flipped him and sat down).  Hogan gets beat on a bit and at one point Boss Man has him leaning on the second rope.  He goes to the other rope and holy shit we’re gonna see a 619 from the Big Boss Man… this is AWESOME!

Rey Mysterio who?
Rey Mysterio who?

So Boss Man actually chickened out at the last minute and just jumped on his back – wasted opportunity if you tell me.  No elimination here so we move forward to Hercules finally getting another shot at Dibiase.  Hercules as expected controls most of this matchup getting his much needed ‘revenge’ on Dibiase for being his slave or something and apparently according to Monsoon he is having a lot of fun.  Naturally Virgil gets involved and trips up Hercules when he’s bouncing off the ropes and as Hercules turns to put his hands on him, Dibiase comes from behind, rolls him up and gets the elimination.

Hercules leaves the ring but goes right after Virgil and everyone on Team Dibiase is now just watching this in awe, Dibiase still in the ring looking over at Virgil getting beat down by Hercules when Macho Man slips in and rolls him up the very same way that Dibiase rolled up Hercules and Dibiase is eliminated.

Down to the Mega Powers and Big Boss Man, Akeen and King Haku.  Haku gets in the ring against Hogan and puts on a modified version of the Vulcan death grip to essentially put Hogan down on the mat.  Now as past reviews have told you – YOU NEVER PUT HOGAN IN A CHOKE HOLD.  Hogan starts to hulk up a bit but not enough to actually run wild on him, but enough to get out of the hold.  Boss Man comes in and goes to work on Hogan, manages to get him down on the mat and goes up to the top rope again.  I seriously do not know why he keeps trying this move, I have never seen it executed correctly once.  Of course he misses and Hogan tags in Savage.

This is where the match gets really entertaining, for some reason the Slickster goes over and grabs Elizabeth to essentially take her against her will and Hogan goes to her defense.  Big Boss Man comes out to take on Hogan with Haku and they manage to handcuff him to the bottom rope and then proceed to beat him down with a night stick – the whole time he is doing this he is being counted and that results in a count out for Big Boss Man and he’s eliminated.  Akeen is in the ring now with Macho Man and Big Boss Man, comes back in and beats Macho Man with the night stick resulting in a DQ on Akeen.  So we are down to just King Haku vs the Mega Powers.

Still with me?  Haku and Savage are going at it and the Slickster manages to get involved again holding Savage against the ropes.  Haku comes in with a big kick and Savage moves out of the way and clocks the Slickster.  Heenan comes to the aid of Slickster and Hogan manages to knock him down with a big boot.  Elizabeth seeing both guys out cold proceeds to fumble through the pockets of the Slickster and find those handcuff keys.  She unlocks Hogan and puts the handcuffs in her purse for use later in the post celebration activities.

Savage, exhausted now tags in a fresh(er) Hogan who just lays out Haku quite easily.  Off the ropes, does his big leg drop and ladies and gentlemen this one is over as Hogan eliminates Haku for the overall win.

Overall: I really enjoyed this one

Royal Rumble ’88


1. Ravishing Rick Rude vs. Ricky The Dragon Steamboat


Alright, here we go with the first Royal Rumble!  Starting off the action is Steamboat vs. Rude in what is billed as a grudge match.  I’m not at all clear why they have a grudge – maybe something to do with the unsatisfied ghost of a murdered child at the hands of the Rude Awakening?

I'm pretty sure Rick Rude is in this movie
I’m pretty sure Rick Rude is in this movie

We start off with a test of strength.  Yes!  Why is this the first time we’re seeing this in any PPV?  This should be a staple of every match, used as frequently as a headlock.  Steamboat eventually powers out of it and does some crazy move that I can’t explain but it’s fantastic.

Something something weird takedown Steamboat is awesome
Something something weird takedown Steamboat is awesome

Steamboat keeps the match going with some arm stuff.  At one point Jesse advocates for the ole “thumb in the eye”, to which Vince McMahon responds “Jesse come on, we have youngsters watching this program”.

I'm just going to leave this here
I’m just going to leave this here

The action continues back and forth and I’m losing interest in the match.  I may not have the patience for the longer fights.  At around the 18 minute mark, they kick it up a notch by going for 8 pins in a row.   Eventually the match comes to kind of a strange end – Steamboat goes for the flying body press off the top ropes, but Rude pulls the ref in the way.  As Steamboat is checking on the ref, Rude slaps on some submission hold and Steamboat… submits?  Rude starts celebrating and leaves the ring.  But surprise, it turns out Steamboat won by disqualification.

What an odd end.

Overall: Great kick off to the event, Steamboat.  You’re the best!   The match was too long


2. Dino Bravo vs. a 700-pound bench press


Wow, I totally forgot about this.  Dino Bravo, in an effort to establish himself as the strongest man in wrestling, decides to bench 700 pounds with the help of Jesse Ventura.

As they are introducing the match, Bravo’s manager “Frenchie Martin” provides some mic work for Mean Gene – in french.  Just an FYI, this match takes place in Hamilton, Ontario.  For people unfamiliar with Canada, speaking French in Hamilton would be like speaking Hindi in Mississippi.   It… doesn’t go over well

Anyway, Dino does a bunch of bench pressing.  It’s actually pretty impressive.  All I remembered about this was him barely doing 700.  I completely forgot where he did 4 sets of 400 – 600 pounds, pretty effortlessly.

Wrestling!
Wrestling!

3. The Glamour Girls vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels


Eat shit, Tom
Ugh

Didn’t I already watch this match during the Survivor Series?  Why look at that, I sure did!

The most fantastic part of this match is Jesse and McMahon openly admitting they have no idea what the names of the individual bomb angels are.  McMahon admits he “doesn’t speak Japanese” and kind of verbally shrugs “well what are you going to do” before starting to call them “pink” and “red” after the colors of their tights.

Orndorff, pictured here in a rare instance of racial insensitivity in the WWE
Paul Orndorff doesn’t see a problem with this

Their names are Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki.

Overall:  I’m not watching this twice!

 


4. The Royal Rumble


The first 10 minutes: 1. Bret Hart / 2. Tito Santana / 3. Butch Reed / 4. Jim Neidhart / 5. Jake Roberts / 6. Harley Race / 7. Jumping Jim Brunzel / 8. Sam Houston

The WWE was finding their footing with this first Royal Rumble.  It takes a while to get going as McMahon is explaining all the rules and stipulations of the match, it drags on so long that they camera guy actually zooms in on a kid who gives a “I can’t hear what the fuck is going on, what the hell is taking so long, let’s get this started” kind of look.  When it does finally get going, we have Bret and Tito starting off in the ring together, as opposed to the more familiar method of coming in one at a time.  Bret gets some decent cheers from the local Canadian crowd in Hamilton while him and Tito keep the action level high.  Let me clarify though, there is very little wrestling moves going on at this time, mainly punches, leg stomps and moving around the ring to get a feel for each other – obviously.  Hart manages to find the top rope and drop an Elbow on Tito to get things rolling when all of a sudden….

Butch Reed draws the #3 spot and comes in to a tepid reaction.  The extent of this interaction between Hart, Tito and Butch consists of Reed working over Santana while Hart looks for his contact lens on the mat.  Reed manages to get Santana over to the ropes and Bret Hart decides that he’ll just wrestle the match with one good eye and tries to help.  Santana of course counters and smashes the skulls of Reed and Hart together.  As the action continues, Jesse Ventura tries to do his standard shtick with McMahon that he used to do with Gorilla where he would chastise Gorilla for opening calling the match more favorably for the “face”.  McMahon is having none of it and essentially ignores every time Jesse tries to get into that interplay.  As an example:

Jesse: You know, I like this, because this allows for double teaming, and you can’t complain about it.

Vince: .  Look at this… there’s a double team effort!

Jesse: And it’s legal!

Vince: ..yes.

Jesse: And you can’t complain!

Vince: Santana might be complaining now!

Butch Reed has ruined so many relationships
Butch Reed has ruined so many relationships

Neidhart comes to the ring next and now it’s a triple-team against Tito.  It looks like it’s all over when Jake the Snake comes out, quickly eliminates Butch Reed (who sucks) and beats up the Hart Foundation.  The elimination itself was poor, just a flip over the top rope, almost like Reed made his $50 and decided to go hit the local bar.  The crows loses their collective mind and immediately start asking for the DDT because it’s the greatest finisher in time.  They really need to find a better wrestler to get behind, this is worse than the love the current fans give to Bryant, imagine if Hogan learned how to do the DDT – He would have never dropped his belt – ever!

The King Harley Race is next and action slows down because now there is a senior citizen in the ring.  They all take it easy, but Roberts takes the brunt of it as apparently Harley Race hates Jake the Snake Roberts more than Damian (his snake).  The next two in are Jumping Jim Brunzel of the Killer Bees, followed by… Sam Houston?

Sam Houston: Here's my shtick Mr. McMahon. I'll wear a red bandanna around my neck. In no time, I'll be the next Hulk Hogan! Vince: Fine. I don't care, we just need a body. Try not to die.
Sam Houston: Here’s my shtick Mr. McMahon. I’ll wear a red bandanna around my neck. In no time, I’ll be the next Hulk Hogan!
Vince: Fine. I don’t care, we just need a body. Try not to die.

The Highlight of this matchup so far has to be when Roberts does the devastating “beard pull” on Neihart, which is far better than the DDT he was actually going to do.

Minutes 10 – 20: 9. Danny Davis / 10. Boris Zhukov / 11. Don Moraco / 12. Nikolai Volkhoff / 13. Hacksaw Jim Duggan / 14. Ron Bass

Sam Houston runs in to the collective apathy of 17,000 fans wondering why bass player for Dexy’s Midnight Runners is now a wrestler.  As Tito is distracted trying to remember any other song of theirs outside of “Come On Eileen”, the Hart Foundation capitalizes and tosses him over the top.

It's a trick question! They had no other hits and aahhhhhhh!
It’s a trick question! They had no other hits and aahhhhhhh!

Danny Davis is announced next and for some reason a woman in the front row mistakes cheering with having a seizure.  So far, this Royal Rumble is chalk full of surprises

This is fantastic! Please get me some phenobarbital!
This is fantastic! Please get me some phenobarbital!

Boris Zhukov is in next.  Don Moraco and Nikolai Volkhoff come out at the same time and Nikolai just… waits outside the ring for his turn to enter.  There seems to be no point to this – due perhaps to genuine language and cultural barriers, Nikolai honestly misunderstood the entrance pattern and fucked up.

Somewhere along the way Boris Zhukov and the King Harley Race are both eliminated by the Rock to help thin the crowd in the ring and make room for some more decent stars.

Let’s super quick check in our favorite ringside fan and how she is reacting to the action.  She’s yelling obscenities at Harley Race and WWE security is telling her to settle the fuck down.   At this point, I’m more entranced by the action outside

Who are you, lunatic Canadian woman?
Who are you, lunatic Canadian woman?

Next up is…. ah, Jesus Christ.  It’s goddamn Hacksaw.  Fine.  Let’s just get through this.  Maybe the next participant will bring it around and…. nope.  Outlaw Ron Bass.  Still better than Harley Race and Zukov.

Minutes 21 – 30: / 15. B. Brian Blair / 16. Hillbilly Jim / 17. Dino Bravo / 18.  Ultimate Warrior / 19. One Man Gang / 20. Junkyard Dog

Volkvoff eliminates one Killer Bee, only to have another take it’s place as that is the nature of killer bees.  Neidhart is then eliminated by Hillbilly Jim as that is the nature of Hillbillies.  Sam Houston demonstrates his in-ring savvy by getting up on Ron Bass’s shoulders for a quick ride.  The safest place to be in a Royal Rumble is precariously perched atop another man.  He is tossed out, absurd bandanna and all, by Hacksaw.

Look at me Vince! I'm a complete moron!
Look at me Vince! I’m a complete moron!

Dino Bravo runs in, followed by… the Ultimate Warrior?  I’m surprised, I thought he didn’t pop up until later.  During the mayhem, Bret Hart is unceremoniously eliminated by Don Moraco.  He lasted 25 minutes, a record that would stand until the next Royal Rumble in 1989.  Great work Bret!

The last two in the ring are One Man Gang and Junkyard Dog.  All the participants are in and we’re down to the end of the match.  One has to wonder how Danny Davis is still in this matchup and why they didn’t push Bret to go down to one of the last 4 or 5.  I guess they gave him enough of a push to get him away from just a tag run but not enough of a push to have him be “the man” yet.

Match Close

The next quick round of eliminations are B Brian Blair, Jake the Snake, Nikolai Volkvaff, Hillbilly Jim, Danny Davis, Ultimate Warrior, Junkyard Dog and Ron Bass.  Nothing notable about any of these eliminations except for the fact that Warrior was tossed so quickly.

The last four in the ring are Moraco, One Man Gang, Dino Bravo and Hacksuck Shit Fuckhead – HOOOOOO.  Moraco gets eliminated by One Man Gang, it what was a poor show.  He was tossed over and sat on the apron holding the ropes, could have climbed back in but decided that he didn’t want to spend another minute with the One Man Gang and just let go.  So now it’s 2 on 1 against Hacksuck.  They beat him up for awhile and I am solidly erect through the whole thing.  I watch the beating and drink it in like water.

There is a fetish for everything on the internet.
There is a fetish for everything on the internet.

Sadly, the match ends with Hacksuck as the victor and I fear I shall never be aroused again.

Overall: What a fun match and a great PPV.  I hate Hacksuck though.