The SmarK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 1987
By Scott Keith on 16th October 2023
– This was of course the first non-Wrestlemania addition to the WWF’s PPV lineup, and an attempt to put the screws to Jim Crockett at that. And it sure as hell worked.
– 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. Finkel’s overdubbed announcement of the faces (thanks to the editing of the entrance music) makes it sound like a video game.
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, 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. Survivors: Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, Jake Roberts
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. Good, her name was hard to type anyway. 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. Survivors: The Jumping Bomb Angels
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. Survivors: The Killer Bees and the Young Stallions.
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.
The Bottom Line:
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.