Greetings all. Today we step away from the weekly magazine recaps to look back at Thanksgiving Day 1987 when two wrestling shows went head to head, courtesy of Scott Keith’s reviews and selected comments from others. We begin with Starrcade before moving on to Survivor Series.
The SmarK Rant for NWA Starrcade ’87: Chi-Town Heat: Glory Bound – 11.26.87
Live from Chicago, IL.
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Jim Ross
Eddie Gilbert, Larry Zbsyzko & Rick Steiner v. Sting, Jimmy Garvin & Michael Hayes
Sting was very young and fresh out of the UWF at this point, but rapidly gaining popularity. Ross immediately loses cred by declaring the arena to be “jam packed, standing room only” when the entire side of the arena opposite the hard camera is clearly empty to start the show. Steiner immediately starts throwing clotheslines on Sting, but he gets tossed and Sting follows with a dive and back in for a missile dropkick as the babyfaces clean house. There was actually various stuff going on storyline-wise, as Sting & Steiner were former UWF tag champions and had recently broken up, leaving Gilbert & Steiner as the team instead. Steiner gets worked over by the future Freebirds, so it’s over to Larry Z as I’m terrified of a sequence with Michael Hayes where they avoid touching each other for nine minutes. In fact, Hayes does come in and moonwalks and showboats after one elbow, so I was close. Gilbert bumps around and clowns for Sting, who is clearly the star of this match every time he gets involved. Garvin with a sunset flip on Steiner for two, but he gets caught in the corner and triple-teamed as the ring announcer calls out 7:00 and the finish becomes obvious. Gilbert with a backbreaker for two and Steiner pounds away in the corner. Rick was looking like a GI Joe figure come to life at that point and frankly I’m shocked that Vince never grabbed him around this time. Rick throws a nice powerslam for two misses a blind charge off that, but it’s time for Larry to stretch it to the time limit with the ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF DISCOMFORT. Nothing says excitement like Larry Zbyszko working a hold on Jimmy Garvin! Thankfully it’s hot tag Sting right away, but the heels quickly cut him off and Gilbert tosses him over the top behind the ref’s back. Steiner with a sleeper, but Sting runs him into the corner to break and it’s hot tag Hayes. It’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA and a donnybrook at the same time, a rare combination indeed. Hayes bulldogs Larry for two in the chaos and then everyone just kind of wanders back to their corners with 1:00 left as the heels cut off Hayes and casually work him over again. Steiner with an awesome belly to belly out of a bearhug, just powering him over, but Hayes cradles Gilbert for two and time expires at 15:00. This had moments and was hot for the first 5:00 or so, but that’s where they should have ended it because it meandered from there and the ending in particular was a mess. **
Hitman7204: I can’t believe they opened the show with a time limit draw in a random six man match.
Rock Star Gary: Exciting match that showcased everyone, but a Sting pin would have brought the house down.
DrawbridgeJones: There was this idea that having a draw in the opening match would make the finishes later in the card more meaningful. (They would even go on to have another draw in the opening match of the Bunkhouse Stampede.) But the idea was stupid.
Meanwhile, Missy Hyatt tells us about the great match we saw and then throws it back to the announcers again.
UWF World title: Steve Williams v. Barry Windham
Windham had been kind of transferred to the UWF following the Crockett buyout and this is the payoff of his involvement there, although it never led to anything afterwards. They do some mat wrestling to start and end up on the floor as the crowd is already losing patience. Back in, Doc with a backdrop suplex, but Barry powers him over with a gut wrench suplex. Doc grabs a headlock and Windham suplexes out, but Doc hangs on and the crowd is still bored. Ross is like “Gee, both men are cautious, wouldn’t you say?” So then they do a leapfrog spot and Windham accidentally headbutts him in the groin, but Windham is too much of a pussy to go in for the kill, and he lets Williams take a breather and disturbingly play with himself in the corner to recover. I know everyone was wondering just what was in those pictures of Baby Doll at that time, but there’s a time and place, Steve. So Williams tosses him and brings him back in with a side roll out of nowhere for the pin to retain at 6:50. What a bad match that was with a stupid finish to boot. ½*
JackMan: This only caused the Chicago crowd to grow more restless.
Rock Star Gary: That accident to Williams must have caused them to go home early. That wasn’t enough for two wrestlers who can go thirty minutes easily.
TooDarkmark: I’ve always said that Barry Windham should have been the temporary NWA champion that year instead of Ron Garvin. Instead, Windham went from 60 minute classics with Flair to jobbing to Steve Williams in six.
Scaffold match: The Midnight Express v. The Rock N Roll Express
Big Bubba wisely waits until Robert climbs and then lays out Ricky with the Bubba slam (to the man who was born to take it!) and the Midnights beat on Robert up top. Luckily, Morton steals the tennis racket and climbs up to save his partner, who is somehow already bleeding. Eaton uses “salt” and the Midnights take over on Gibson for a bit as these poor guys try to navigate a narrow scaffold and still do spots. Stan Lane ends up climbing down for some reason and Morton slugs away until he falls. So Bobby goes it alone with his tennis racket, but the RNR push him over and he falls off at 10:25. They tried hard, I’ll give them that, but I just hate this stipulation match in any form. **1/2 Afterwards, Cornette sends Bubba up there to take care of Morton, but Ricky actually goes “Hey, what’s that over there?” and then punches Bubba in the nuts to make his escape.
Rock Star Gary: Not much can come from this type of match other than serious injury upon falling.
JWBraun: I’m not a fan of scaffold matches, but some of the photos from these kind of matches did look amazing in the magazines, so there was that.
Jim Cornette: Me and the Midnights were disappointed because we wanted to work with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express at Starrcade 87 but not on the scaffold. We were fine with doing the scaffold matches against the Road Warriors in Georgia and against the Rock ‘n’ Rolls in Louisiana because those sold tickets based on that match, and we made more money for it. At Starrcade 87, it wasn’t really called for, and any other match with The Rock ‘n’ Rolls would have sold the same number of tickets and would have been more fun for us and more fun for the fans. Worse yet, the scaffold match cost us Big Bubba, because he only got half the money of everyone else even though he had to climb the scaffold and get hit too. So he got mad and left to work for Vince where he made a lot more money.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Garvin and Michael Hayes recap the events of the evening, and Hayes waits patiently while Garvin goes on a motor-mouthed rampage of a promo, and Hayes is literally unable to get a word in. How is Garvin able to go without oxygen for that length of time?
World TV title: Nikita Koloff v. Terry Taylor
This is to unify the NWA and UWF versions of the title. Taylor is immediately overpowered by Koloff and he’s got no idea what to do with him. So he tries a wristlock and Nikita casually reverses out and goes to work on the arm while Eddie Gilbert critiques the refereeing job of Earl Hebner from ringside. Taylor finally tries punching his way out and that doesn’t work either, and finally Taylor bails for advice from Eddie Gilbert. Back in, Koloff pounds away and tosses Taylor again, but he misses a blind charge and Taylor rolls him up for two. Koloff goes back to the arm, but finally Taylor just pokes him in the eyes, only to get armbarred again. Apparently steroids can strengthen your corneas as well. Who knew? Nikita takes him down with the Russian Hammer choke, but the Sickle misses and now Taylor finally goes on offense at 12:00 in. So now Taylor and Gilbert take shots at the injured arm on the floor and Taylor drops a knee for two. The announcers question why Taylor is working the left arm when Nikita uses the right one for the Sickle, which is a nice touch. Nikita fights back with a suplex and pounds away in the corner, but Taylor takes him down with an atomic drop for two. Koloff rolls him up for two but Taylor runs away, like a CHICKEN you might say, and that allows Gilbert to clip Nikita from behind with a chair. This gives us the classic sequence of Taylor using a figure-four and cheating ludicrously with the help of Gilbert until Hebner catches them. It just never doesn’t work! Finally Koloff goes after Gilbert, and Taylor charges in, collides with his manager, and Koloff finishes him with the Sickle at 18:56 to unify the belts. Very good stuff, building and building as Taylor had to figure out what the hell to do with the guy, and the announcers foreshadowed the finish as well, noting over and over that Nikita only needed one Sickle to put him down and that Taylor didn’t hurt the correct arm to stop it. ***
Flash man: Terry Taylor is the Milhous van Houten of pro wrestling.
TheMagnumDA: Really? If Terry Taylor reminded me of anyone in the Simpsons Universe, I’d have to say Roger Clemens.
Rock Star Gary: Predictable finish for a match that I expected to be shorter.
Paul Matthews: This match started slow, with all of the endless hammerlocks, but it picked up towards the end. I would even say that it turned into a pretty decent match. The ending was pretty good, which helped elevate it even more.
NWA World tag titles: Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson v. The Road Warriors
So this is the match that killed Chicago for about a decade afterwards. Arn immediately goes up and Hawk just casually presses him off the top rope and dumps him on the floor. That’s a great spot. Arn tries to overpower Hawk and gets nowhere, so it’s over to Tully. He too gets mauled and press-slammed, and Hawk dropkicks him for two. Tully goes up and Animal catches him with a powerslam for two. The Warriors double-team Tully and batter him in the corner, and finally Arn comes back in to try with Animal. Hawk comes in and tries another press-slam on Tully, but this time Arn takes out his knee and the champs take over. Hawk gets trapped in the corner while the Horsemen work the knee, and Tully gets a figure-four. Arn comes in and works a knucklelock on the mat, but Hawk gets his knees up and makes the hot tag to Animal. It’s BONZO GONZO and Tommy Young gets taken out by Hawk accidentally, and then they hit the Doomsday Device on Arn for the pin and the titles at 13:25 with Hebner counting. BUT WAIT! Young recovers and declares that Arn got tossed over the top, so it’s a DQ and the Horsemen retain. It’s like, Dusty couldn’t even just have the Warriors win by DQ or something, they had to screw the fans out of the title change they’d waited years to see. **3/4
Rock Star Gary: Seriously, Big Dust, you couldn’t let the Road Warriors win the belts in their home town?
Basscase: Chalk it up to Dusty’s senility.
JWBraun: This was like 1983 Hulk Hogan having to return the AWA belt to Nick Bockwinkel all over again.
US title: Lex Luger v. Dusty Rhodes
If Dusty loses, he’s out of wrestling for 90 days. Yes, 90 WHOLE days. Like seriously, Dusty could have lost this one and done his stupid Midnight Rider thing for three months and then returned without having to put himself over the guy they were grooming to be the big star for the next decade. Even at the time I never got why this needed to be a cage match. Aside from Dusty loving to book cage matches on every show. We get some stalling to start and Dusty slugs away before trying for the dreaded WEAVERLOCK, but Luger makes the ropes. Lex misses an elbow and Dusty goes to the armbar as the announcers point out that Luger issued this challenge because Dusty is a LEGEND and the onus is on Luger to beat him. And they keep saying “Dusty’s career is on the line” but it’s only 90 days. Dusty works an armbar in dull fashion until Luger finally rams him into the cage to escape the offensive onslaught and gets two off that. Luger tries to power Dusty into the torture rack, but some things are beyond even the greatest in the sport, and he has to awkwardly dump Dusty into the corner instead for two. And then we get an endless armbar until Dusty makes the comeback with the WEAVERLOCK. “The physical punishment here has been horrendous!” JR notes. I’ll say. JJ Dillon takes out key-keeper Johnny Weaver and tosses a chair into the ring, which Lex slowly goes to pick up, allowing Dusty to belly flop in with a DDT of sorts onto the chair to win the title and save his career at 16:30. DUD
Basscase: I don’t know how the same mind that gave us WarGames came up with…..that.
TheMagnumDA: Dusty reminds me of Vince here…he doesn’t want Luger to be World Champion, and when the groundswell comes for Luger to finally become champion, Dusty doubles down and tries to make Luger an even bigger choke artist.
Constitutions Weed: Early teenage me was a much bigger fan of that Dusty/Lex match, although I had no clue what was so damn special about the Weaverlock, and why they just weren’t calling it a damn sleeper.
Michael Weyer: Dusty gyps the Warriors out of tag titles in their home town while winning the US belt over a much younger and more over champion. And people wonder why Crockett went out of business.
NWA World title: Ronnie Garvin v. Ric Flair
I’ve become much more open-minded to Garvin in recent years, so I’m willing to give him a chance here. The crowd is not, as they chant “Garvin Sucks” while he throws chops on Flair to start. Garvin works the arm and pounds away in the corner, setting up the GARVIN STOMP for two, but Flair takes over with a cheapshot and JR diplomatically notes that you can’t train against a shot to the junk. Flair drops a knee for two and goes to work on the leg, and then goes to the figure-four. Garvin fights out of that, but Flair tries to send him into the cage a few times, unsuccessfully. And of course Garvin is able to do it and Flair is bleeding. They fight to the top in a callback to Garvin winning the title in Detroit, but Flair has learned this time and stays away. Flair goes up this time and gets slammed off, and now Garvin gets a figure-four as they’re working a really weirdly paced and awkward match here. Garvin releases for some reason and works on the knee for a bit, then goes up with a flying bodypress that gets two. Backslide gets two. Flair gets run into the cage again and Garvin just batters him with stiff chops, goes up again, but this time the sunset flip gets blocked by Flair for two. Hands of Stone gets two, but Flair finally runs Garvin into the cage and pins him to regain the title at 17:40 as the crowd goes NUTS. I dunno what was with Flair tonight, but it was slowly paced and meandering, although the chops were great. **1/2
Rinehart: Starrcade ’87 should have had Flair vs. Dr. Death to unify the NWA & UWF titles.
Scott Keith: Put the UWF title on Windham two months prior and THERES your unification match.
MagnumDA: Haters are going to hate on Ronnie Garvin, but for what it’s worth, I’ll take Ron Garvin as NWA Champion at Starrcade 1987 over The Butcher as #1 Contender to the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Starrcade 1994.
Ron Garvin: If that match had been in Greensboro, it would have been different, but Dusty wanted to go to Chicago, Detroit, and all these big towns.
Ric Flair: Ronnie was a good, solid performer, but he just wasn’t perceived as a huge star, and he came across as too southern for the Chicago crowd. I still enjoyed the match. We really pounded the life out of each other.
Bad show, actually, especially considering that Crockett’s back was against the wall with the Survivor Series in direct competition.
Basscake: Man, 1987 NWA wrestling was awesome, but this show was the curdled tres leches cake to a satisfying meal.
Michael Weyer: Moving Starrcade to Chicago was one of Crockett’s biggest mistakes. The show was great in the Carolinas, the crowds there felt loyal to it and pissed when Crockett went to Chicago instead, which hurt buys. Also, the South was easier on pay, Chicago is a union town so Crockett had the costs of everything from arena fees to setting up the ring going up higher, putting him even more in the hole after getting suckered into buying the UWF.
Knuckleberry Pinn: All NWA shows from the 80s look like the basement of my childhood home before my dad did up the rec room: a cold, dark concrete room filled with smoke.
The SmarK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 1987
Live from Richfield, OH.
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura. Kind of funny to see all the downtime at the start of the show, with Gorilla & Jesse yakking about the rules and making their entrances, given the fast pace of shows today.
The Honky Tonk Man, Hercules, Ron Bass, King Harley Race & Danny Davis v. Randy Savage, Jake Roberts, Ricky Steamboat, Brutus Beefcake & Hacksaw Duggan
That’s quite the babyface team, actually, compared to the relative team of mutts making up the heel side. Also kind of neat that everyone on the face side, save Duggan, drew some pretty significant money against Honky Tonk Man in the 18 months comprising his title reign. It’s also really weird seeing Savage & Steamboat teaming up just a few months after, you know, trying to kill each other and all. Back when that was something weird to see, you understand.
Beefcake starts with Hercules and gets pounded down, but a criss-cross leads to a quick sleeper for Brutus. Herc breaks, but Beefcake hiptosses all the heels in turn and we start over. Davis comes in and gets beat up by the Snake, as Jake works on the arm and Savage rams him into Beefcake’s foot. Steamboat comes in with the flying chop and a back kick, but a blind charge misses and Danny lets Race have a go. Shoulderbreaker on Steamboat, but he springs out of the corner with a flying chop and they slug it out. Race tosses him and Ricky skins the cat back in, so Race tosses him again and Steamboat is right back in. Race hits him with a belly to belly for two, however. Duggan gets the tag and dumps Race with a clothesline, and they brawl to the floor for a double-countout to eliminate both of them at 4:30.
So next Jake slugs it out with Ron Bass and then turns it over to Savage, who knees him into the corner and follows him with a back elbow. Kneedrop gets two, and really does anyone in the business do that move any better? Savage goes after Honky and walks into a clothesline as a result, and that allows Honk to come in and pound away. Savage gets caught in the heel corner and Bass elbows him down again for two, but Savage fires back with his own and adds a backdrop to escape a Pedigree attempt. Beefcake comes in with the high knee to eliminate Bass at 6:59.
Hercules pounds on Beefcake’s arm and Honky continues with an armbar, then it’s over to Hercules for more of the same. And back to Honky to really drag this down a few notches. It works way better with quick tags and fast action. Beefcake finally comes back after 3:00 of armbar and slugs Honky down, but he walks into a cheapshot from Danny Davis and gets Shaken, Rattled & Rolled out at 10:50.
Savage comes in and goes after Honky again, allowing Hercules to jump him from behind and pound away in the corner, but Savage elbows Honky down and brings Jake in. He goes for the DDT, but the hair is too greasy and Honk slips out. Jake charges and hits knee, and Jesse points out again how lucky Honky is. That’s actually an interesting bit of ring psychology that you don’t see so much — the guy who is portrayed as a bad wrestler but has boatloads of dumb luck. It’s usually the underdog babyface like Mikey Whipwreck who gets that character. The heels switch off and beat on Roberts, but they make the fatal error of letting Danny Davis into the match. Short clothesline, DDT, good night at 15:07.
Herc DIVES in with a clothesline and drops an elbow for two, and the heels take turns on him as Savage keeps getting sucked in by Honky Tonk. Fistdrop gets two for Honky. He goes to the chinlock, but Jake escapes with the kneelift before Hercules cuts off the tag and pounds him down again. And it’s another chinlock. That drags on until Jake escapes with a jawbreaker, and it’s HOT tag Steamboat. He fires away with chops on everyone, and heads up with the flying chop. That sets up the Macho Elbow, and he’s done at 21:00. So it’s Honky Tonk Man v. Savage, Steamboat and Roberts, and to his credit he actually gives it a go. Savage misses a blind charge and hurts the knee, but comes back with a back elbow and brings Steamboat in for more abuse. The faces just pound the living shit out of Honky at their leisure and get all their revenge, but Honky takes a bump to the floor and calls it a night at 23:38. Really, it’s non-title, and Honky should have gone down to a flying chop into a DDT into the flying elbow. It’s not like you need to keep him strong since everyone considered him a joke and coward anyway. Super fun introduction to the format, although the extended armbars and chinlocks kept it from greatness. ***1/2 Survivors: Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, Jake Roberts
James Fabiano: I love how having Savage, Steamboat and Roberts on the same team actually made so much sense here. They hated Honky Tonk Man THAT much they’d get along for the sake of getting his sleazy ass at last.
OSBL: Some real “enemy of my enemy is my friend” vibes here.
MyronB: Honky Tonk Man taking the countout loss was the right booking move for the character. That really cemented HTM as someone who takes advantage of the rules to maintain his Intercontinental Champion in a way that him getting pinned wouldn’t. Jesse Ventura sold that story perfectly on commentary.
Jeff Gorman: I was there! When Honky Tonk Man ran away from Savage, Steamboat and Roberts, only to cut a promo challenging Hogan for the WWF title, I was right near the interview platform, but we were all distracted by a huge fight in the upper deck that the cops could not control.
Leilani Kai, Judy Martin, Dawn Marie, Donna Christanello & Sherri Martell v. Fabulous Moolah, Velvet McIntyre, Rockin’ Robin & The Jumping Bomb Angels
Somehow losing the title has turned Moolah into a babyface. Sherri lays out Velvet and gets a clothesline, but Velvet comes back with a bodypress for two. Over to Moolah, and she pounds Sherri down. Christanello (who looks like she’s older than Moolah here) comes in and gets slammed by Velvet for two, and a victory roll gets the pin at 1:56. Kai lays out Velvet from behind, but gets taken down by a flying headscissors and a dropkick, and it’s over to Robin. Dawn Marie (not that one) works her over in the heel corner, but Robin gets a sloppy bodypress on Martin for two. Over to Sherri, who gets a nice dropkick. Robin comes back with a clothesline on Marie and a bodypress for the pin at 4:11.
It’s Angel time, as Yamazaki comes in with a crazy bridge off a bodypress attempt and a rolling cradle into a bodypress for two. Sherri comes in and Tateno gets a huge flying armdrag, but Robin comes in and kills the momentum for her team by being herself. The Glamour Girls work her over in the corner and Sherri adds a slam, and a suplex gets the pin at 6:50. Who gets pinned with a suplex? Yamazaki is right back in with a pair of a dropkicks on Sherri, and she dodges a charging Martin before falling victim to a hairtoss. Over to Velvet, who gets a spinning bodypress for two and then brings Kai in for a catapult, and Moolah pounds on her into a dropkick. She brings Martin in, but runs into a back elbow that gets two. Moolah comes back with a cradle for two and brings Yamazaki in, but she misses a dropkick and gets worked over in the heel corner. Faceplant gets two for Sherri. Martin tosses her back to the face corner and brings Moolah in, and Moolah gets a pair of snapmares into a headlock. The Glamour Girls double-team her with a clothesline, however, and Moolah is pinned at 11:00.
Martin goes with Tateno and the Jumping Bomb Angels start double-teaming the leg now, with Velvet adding a Boston crab. She turns it into a bow-and-arrow, but Sherri comes back in and takes over, dropping a leg and adding a bad looking gutwrench suplex. She tags out to Tateno and Kai hits a butterfly suplex for two (which the timekeeper mistakes for a pin) and Velvet comes back in with a GIANT SWING~! on Sherri. She finishes Sherri with a victory roll at 14:57. Huh. Martin lays her out immediately and Tateno comes back in with a sunset flip off the middle rope for two. Yamazaki follows with a butterfly suplex for two. Kai comes in and tackles her, but Yamazaki hooks her in a bodyscissors and then brings Velvet back in, and another victory roll gets two. She tries yet again and this time Kai drops her with an electric chair for the pin at 17:19. So it’s Glamour Girls v. Angels, and the Angels slam the Glamour Girls and slingshot Martin onto Kai. Yamazaki gets caught with a cheapshot, however, and Kai goes up and misses a flying splash. Tateno finishes her with a flying bodypress at 18:37, and it’s 2-on-1. Martin attacks Tateno and drops her with a faceplant off a fireman’s carry, and that gets two. Tateno comes back with an atomic drop, and Yamazaki comes off the top with a flying knee, and the Angels add a double dropkick. Flying clothesline finishes at 20:18. Very entertaining for the time period, but kind of jumpy and sloppy at times. Still, the stuff with the Angels and Glamour Girls was revolutionary for the time and well worth checking out. **1/2 Survivors: The Jumping Bomb Angels
JWBraun: With just a few moves, the Jumping Bomb Angels stole the show.
Rock Star Gary: The live crowd had no clue who most of these women were, but the Jumping Bomb Angels were WAY ahead of their time and brought women’s wrestling up several notches here.
Referee Jimmy Korderas: I thought the women’s match went fairly well except for two small hiccups. The first faux-pas occurred when timekeeper Mel Phillips prematurely rang the bell during a pin attempt. I stood up and waved it off and the match continued without an elimination. The second occurred when Velvet McIntyre accidentally hit her head on the canvas and hurt herself. She was in pain but she continued until she was eliminated.
Brian Bayless: When the Jumping Bomb Angels and McIntyre were on offense this was quite good. The real story here was the Jumping Bomb Angels, but on a lesser note, this made Velvet McIntyre the #1 Contender to Sherri’s title as she pinned her in the match. As far as babyface Moolah, the crowd still booed her and this was her last match until 1999 when she teamed with Mae Young.
The Hart Foundation, The Islanders, The Dream Team, Demolition and The Bolsheviks v. Strike Force, The Young Stallions, The British Bulldogs, The Rougeaus and the Killer Bees
Talk about your Who’s Who of 80s tag teams. Demolition’s theme song is of course so bad-ass that they use it for the entire heel side. Martel starts out with Volkoff and gets a quick rollup for two, but Volkoff boots him down and brings Zhukov in. Martel immediately dropkicks him down and follows with a bodypress for two, and it’s over to Tito, who gets headbutted. Flying forearm finishes Boris at 1:42, however. Ax immediately pounds Tito into taco meat, but misses an elbow and it’s over to Jacques. He hits a back elbow on Ax and then dropkicks Bravo, and we get some double-teaming from the Killer Bees. Davey Boy comes in and Bravo tags out to Smash, who gets triple-teamed in the face corner. Over to Dynamite for a chop exchange with Haku (now there’s an intriguing match we never really saw outside of their goofy tag matches) and the Stallions double-team Jim Neidhart. Demolition responds with double-teaming of Paul Roma and Haku adds a clothesline. Over to Powers and he gets beat up by the Demos as well, but Jacques makes the comeback before missing a bodypress and getting pinned by Ax at 5:50.
Dynamite charges in and gets worked over by Tama, and then Powers gets more of the same. Neidhart and Haku double-team Powers with a body vice into a flying chop, and that gets two for Haku. Roma comes in and he also gets dominated by the heels, running into Ax’s knee. Valentine with a shoulderbreaker for two, and a suplex gets two. Bravo hits the gutwrench suplex for two, and Roma finally tags out to Blair. Smash beats on him, but misses a charge, and the Kid comes back for the faces with a clothesline for two. Now Dynamite gets stomped in the heel corner, but Demolition gets too feisty and shoves the ref for the DQ at 9:19. Bret Hart hits the Kid with the most BAD-ASS piledriver you’ll ever see, and that gets two. Bret charges and hits the post, however, and Powers comes in and pounds on Tama before walking into a clothesline. Tama misses a pump splash and Martel comes in with a backdrop and dropkick, but the boston crab is too close to the heels and Neidhart breaks it up with a clothesline to the back. That gets two. Anvil misses a charge and hits knee, and Tito comes in with the flying forearm for two, as Bret saves. Neidhart hits Tito with the megaphone and he’s gone at 12:10.
Powers comes in and immediately gets pounded by the heels, and Valentine blocks a sunset flip with a shot to the head and follows by dropping the hammer for two. Anvil drops him on the top rope and Haku adds the superkick into the backbreaker for two. Anvil and Haku double-team him with an elbow for two. Powers reverses a suplex, but Hammer leverages him back into the heel corner and Bret gets a backbreaker into a Tama flying knee. There’s some crazy double-teaming here. Snap suplex gets two, and Powers finally crawls over and tags Roma. That of course does nothing, and the Harts continue the beating unabated. Valentine slams him and goes up, adding a forearm shot from the top for two. Back to Powers, which was a dumb tag, but Bret misses a dropkick and this time Dynamite gets in there. He whips Bret into the corner for two and adds a backdrop suplex for two. Back to Roma, and he’s still useless and misses an elbow. So it’s up to Blair, and he backdrops Tama and then brings Davey in for a double-elbow. He tries headbutts and it’s a draw, but Powers tags back in and gets killed by the heels again. The Harts work him over until he tags Davey back in again, and Bret takes a press slam for two. Davey hauls Haku in and powerslams him for two. Suplex into the Kid’s diving headbutt, but Kid gets the worst of that. Haku fires back with the thrust kick and pins the Kid at 19:59. That was a SWEET finish.
Roma comes in again and gets a bodypress on Haku for two, and Powers hammers on Bravo before walking into an atomic drop. The Dream Team works on Powers and Neidhart elbows him down for two. Bravo comes in with a backdrop and follows with the sideslam, but he brings in Hammer instead of going for the pin. Figure-four, but Powers kicks out of it and tags Roma in, and he comes off the top with a sunset flip to block a second figure-four attempt on Powers, for the pin at 23:39. That’s another awesome finish. Neidhart attacks the Bees and gets cradled for two by Blair, and Brunzell gets a crazy high knee for two. Neidhart actually powers out of an irish whip, which you never see, and brings Bret back in. Brunzell works on the leg and the Bees proceed to double-teaming, but again they tag Roma in and he gets the crap kicked out of him. The Islanders put him down with a double elbow, but Haku misses a legdrop and brings Brunzell back in. Jim with the legdrop for two and a hiptoss for two, but Haku tags Bret back in again. Roma pounds him down and comes off the top with a fistdrop for two, but Bret slickly takes him down and stomps him to take over again. Backdrop suplex gets two. The Islanders work him over in the corner, but Roma comes back with an armdrag on Haku. Really? An armdrag at 30:00 in? Haku is so insulted that he beats on Roma a little harder and adds a standing dropkick, followed by Anvil for two. Right after Gorilla said he wanted to see Anvil do a dropkick, too! Powerslam gets two. Bret pounds away, but Roma tags in Brunzell, and they criss-cross into a collision. Brunzell goes for a slam, but Tama dropkicks them over, and Brunzell rolls through for the pin at 30:27 to knock the Harts out.
Tama attacks Brunzell and chokes him down, then goes to a neck vice and elbows him down. Haku with a shoulderbreaker for two. He applies the nerve hold and Tama chops him down, then goes to his own nerve hold. Brunzell comes back with a sunset flip on Haku for two, but Haku gets a suplex for two. Brunzell finally tags Powers, and he comes in with a backdrop on Haku, into a Roma powerslam for two. The Islanders lay him out for that and double-team him, but Haku misses a blind charge and Blair is the last man left to tag. Haku immediately nails him and brings him into the heel corner for double-teaming, as the Islanders just aren’t going to die here. Tama gets the back elbow, but misses an elbowdrop and it’s back to Brunzell. Slam for Haku and the dropkick gets two on Tama, but the Bees don masks and switch off, as Blair sunset flips Tama to finish at 37:14. Gotta love that finish. This one doesn’t have quite the legendary pedigree of the ’88 tag match, but it’s filled with non-stop action and all sorts of crazy dream double-teaming goodness, plus several A-1 finishes and a great storyline. ****1/4 Survivors: The Killer Bees and the Young Stallions
Rock Star Gary: How in the world did the Young Stallions survive? I thought they’d be dog meat early on. Perhaps it was the slovenly referee’s fault, but I think the WWF blamed it on Johnny V as this was his last WWF TV appearance.
Michael Weyer: I loved all those tag teams going at it, awesome seeing them lining up the ring. And having Stallions and Bees the winner set the tone for Survivor Series that “anyone can win in the end.”
CDN: The 5 v 5 tag team match is straight spectacle. I mean, 10 legit tag teams on a roster all at once? I know, I know, some of those teams are jobbers & lower mid-card, but you know what I mean. Epic.
Brian Bayless: Bret Hart in particular really stood out here as he put on an amazing performance.
JWBraun: This was the one time I liked the Bees’ illegal “switch-off” gimmick with the masks. Usually, they took forever to do it and was very conspicuous, but it worked in this match because of all the distractions.
Meanwhile, Ted Dibiase gives us a speech about Thanksgiving from his limo, introducing a montage of clips of him abusing fans. Kicking the basketball away from the little kid is just awesome. Luckily, the poor kid who got to kiss Dibiase’s sweaty feet would recover and go on to be Rob Van Dam.
Honky Tonk Man comes out to cut another promo to really drag out the wait for the main event.
Hulk Hogan, Bam Bam Bigelow, Don Muraco, Paul Orndorff & Ken Patera v. Andre The Giant, One Man Gang, King Kong Bundy, Butch Reed & Rick Rude.
Muraco starts with Rude and they slug it out, which leads to Rude getting double-teamed in the face corner. Orndorff comes in and gets a kneelift, and it’s over to Hogan for the clothesline and elbows. Bam Bam adds a running splash and a press slam, and Patera comes in, which allows Rude to tag Reed in. Patera cradles for two and Muraco adds a dropkick, as does Orndorff. Reed misses a blind charge and Hogan drops the leg at 3:03. Now that’s a dominating performance. So Andre is in and Hogan conveniently tags out to Patera, then whines about it for 15 minutes. If you’re so hot for Andre, why not just tag back in again? Patera pounds on Bundy instead of Andre, and puts him down with a clothesline, but Gang comes in and gets into a slugfest with Orndorff. Paul runs into a knee, however, and Rude hammers him with forearms. Orndorff comes back with a clothesline and the Boogie Woogie Elbow for two, and it’s over to Muraco for a clubbing clothesline. Rude uses the old thumb to the eye and brings the Gang in, but he misses a splash in the corner and Muraco tags Patera. Patera with a nice bodypress for two and hits a high knee in the corner, but Gang goes to the eyes and Patera gets stuck in the heel corner. Gang holds a front facelock and pounds him on the ropes, then falls on top of him with a clothesline for the pin at 8:52.
Hogan comes in and gets a corner clothesline on Gang, and he and Bigelow add a double-boot. Gang and Bigelow collide, however, and Gang tags to Rude while Bam Bam tags Orndorff. Orndorff with the suplex and elbow on Rude, and a backdrop sets up the piledriver, but Bundy breaks it up and Rude pins Orndorff with a handful of tights at 10:25. Muraco immediately attacks while Rude is posing, and Bigelow suplexes him to set up a high knee from Hogan, and a Muraco powerslam puts Rude out of his misery at 11:13. They announcers were right, Rude was having a rough night. Bundy misses a kneedrop on Muraco and Don goes to work on the leg and tries to slam Gang, which results in Gang falling on top for two. Gang whips Muraco into Andre’s head, and the 747 splash finishes at 12:59. Hogan of course whines about that, too.
Bam Bam comes in and tries a sunset flip on Gang, but gets sat on. Bundy gets a clothesline which Bigelow sells like Marty Jannetty, and that gets two. Gang pounds on Bammer and chokes him out on the ropes, as does Bundy. Gang elbows him down and Bundy throws some mean forearms to put him down, and that gets two. Bam Bam tries to crawl for the tag, but Andre comes in, and that brings Hulk in. He fires away on Andre and they trade chops in the corner, but Hulk gets the advantage and rams Andre into the turnbuckles. Bundy trips him up, however, and Hulk gets preoccupied with Bundy and Gang and gets counted out at 18:11. It’s your own fault, Hulk. And of course he bitches and moans about that, too. So that leaves Bam Bam by himself against Andre, Bundy and Gang, which doesn’t seem like great odds. Bammer tries it anyway, clotheslining Bundy down and dropping an elbow for two. Headbutt gets two. Dropkick and he goes to work on the leg, then dodges the Avalanche and slingshots in for the pin at 20:46. Gang takes the next shot, choking Bigelow out on the ropes and pounding on the neck, and a clothesline gets two. Bigelow slugs back, but Gang runs him into Andre’s boot and goes up. Flying splash misses and Bam Bam gets the pin at 23:06. However, he’s done, and Andre casually comes in and beats him into silly putty and pins him with the suplex thing at 24:21. A valiant effort by Bam Bam Bigelow. I really dug this match and you could tell everyone was fired up for it. **** Dig the tag team continuity from the faces here and the super pace by the super-heavyweight standards. Survivor: Andre the Giant. Really, the babyfaces winning the other three matches should have foreshadowed that result. And of course, whiny baby Hulk Hogan won’t even let him have his moment of glory, as he runs in and attacks Andre after his totally clean win over Bigelow. Jesse tells it like it is, saying that Hogan should have taken his defeat like a man and just stayed in the back.
PremiumLiveJMan: What was Hogan celebrating anyway? Seriously, would it have killed Hogan to let somebody else have the spotlight for once?
Anonymous McMahon: Hogan must pose.
James Fabiano: I must add that Andre’s team is one of the best, just for the Hoss Murderer’s Row of Andre, OMG, and Bundy alone.
Jabroniville: And Bam Bam looked like a future megastar here fighting 1300 pounds of humanity and actually scoring two big ones before getting absolutely crushed.
JWBraun: Funny note about the commentary: Ventura speculates that DiBiase could try to pay off a referee like Dave Hebner. “Everyone has his price,” Ventura says. “I’m sure Hebner has his.” (RIP, Dave)
Actually much better than I remember it being, as it’s aged well as a show and features a strong one-two punch at the end that makes it a classic.
Starrcade92: They made a point to paper the crowd with giveaways to kids charities and community groups and the crowd was hot all night. The next year they didn’t and the place had to be darkened.
Brian Bayless: With all of the hype coming into the show, this certainly delivered. The Tag Team match stole the show and the main event was cleverly booked, as was the opener. Also, the women’s match, mainly the Jumping Bomb Angels, shocked everyone in the crowd with their stellar performance and it finally put some stock back into the WWF Women’s Division.
Jeff Gorman: It was great to be there and amazing to be on the ground floor for a totally new concept. I was thrilled that they came back to Richfield for Survivor Series 88 and 92.
Rock Star Gary: In spite of zero singles matches, this was a very entertaining three-hour show and set the table for a Hogan/Andre rematch.
NWA88: The WWF did everything right on this show. Just a lot of fun and good booking in the format.
That’s it for this week! Next week on Flashback Friday we’ll look at an issue of Inside Wrestling where the writers give their thoughts on Starrcade and Survivor Series, Eddie Ellner says Andre is dying, and we’re told Ric Flair’s fifth world title reign might be his shortest and last.