WWF Survivor Series 1988
November 24, 1988
The current WWF Champs were as follows:
World Champion: Randy Savage (3/27/1988)
Intercontinental Champion: Ultimate Warrior (8/29/1988)
World Tag Team Champions: Demolition (3/27/1988)
Women’s Champion: Rockin’ Robin (10/7/1988)
A lot in American wrestling changed in 1988: the AWA had basically gone to being the WORST promotion in the world, media mogul Ted Turner buys a major portion of the NWA (Jim Crockett Promotions) and attempts to salvage the mess that Dusty had made throughout the year, and then you had wrestlers who were either jumping ships or abandoning the ship altogether. What makes 1988 even worse is that we’re given major shows like this where you’ve got maybe one or two things going on that are interesting, is that everything else is just plum whacko.
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura!
- The Powers of Pain, The Rockers, The British Bulldogs, The Hart Foundation & The Young Stallions vs. Demolition, The Brainbusters, The Bolsheviks, The Rougeau Brothers & The Conquistadors (w/Mr. Fuji, Bobby Heenan & Slick) – Tag Team Survivor Series Elimination Match
If you can’t already tell or just don’t know, this match is out of order with the rest of the card, which means I’ve got the Coliseum Home Video edition. At least we don’t miss anyone being eliminated this year. This match and the main event are the only two matches that are shown in its entirety, just so you know. This is our first example on this show of wrestlers who jumped ships. The Rockers re-debuted in the WWF in the early part of the summer (they were hired by the WWF in 1987, but was fired two weeks later for “partying too hard”) after having some success in the AWA. The other team I’m referring to would be the Brainbusters: Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard. The guys who made SO much money for the NWA during the ’80s had finally left for the WWF to show them how to do smart tag-team wrestling, which made certain dream matches possible with teams like the Hart Foundation and the Rockers. The big deal at the time would have been seeing the Powers of Pain (who also jumped ship from the NWA in ’88) squaring off against Demolition; a match to possibly determine who the better Road Warriors rip-offs were, I suppose. It was freaking difficult to try and transcribe this match from the previous year’s event, but this one is TWELVE MINUTES LONGER! All I can is, I’ll try my best. Davey Boy press slams Jacques on Raymond to start. He tags in Shawn, who gets owned by the Bolsheviks. Shawn COMPLETELY flips out of the corner and tags in Jannetty. Zhukov gets a blind tag out to Ax, but Jannetty escapes from the heel corner. Ax still takes over on him and pounds him to the mat. Arn Anderson tags in for the first time to a nice little reaction from the crowd. Jannetty breaks free of Anderson and connects with a dropkick. Blanchard tags in and gets an atomic drop and ping-ponged in the face corner. Jacques tags in and misses a crossbody out of the corner. He made that same mistake last year and got pinned for it. Jannetty covers for 1-2-NO! Dynamite Kid (complete with a ‘STACHE!) tags in and hits a SNAP SUPLEX for 1-2-NO! Raymond tags in, but misses a charge in the corner and screws up a Jack Brisco rollup by Dynamite for 1-2-NO! Zhukov tags in against Powers, but he’s got no chance and quickly tags in Smash. He buries a knee in Powers and tags in Jacques. Smash whips Powers into a Jacques dropkick for a one-count, as Powers pops up and tags in Bret to a nice face pop. Jacques delivers a nice reverse elbow off the ropes for one and tags in Raymond. The French-Canadian immediately ducks low off a whip and Bret capitalizes with a small package for 1-2-3! (5:37) Volkoff comes in and takes over on Roma, but Roma goes all Shelton Benjamin on us and lands a VERTICAL LEAP on the top rope and connects with a crossbody for two. Neidhart tags in and delivers a standing dropkick to Volkoff, but then Volkoff goes low and tags in Smash. By low, I just mean that he headbutts Anvil in the ribs. Smash ducks low and gets caught with a clothesline. That allows Anvil to bring Smash over to the faces and tags in Barbarian. Barbarian wins a slugfest, but then Smash brings him into the heel side of town and tags in a Conquistador. There’s no way of honestly telling these two apart, which is why they named them #1 and #2. Barbarian quickly comes back and lands the KICK OF FEAR. I guess you could call it the KICK OF PAIN at this point in his career. Warlord tags in for a moment and then tags in Bret. He headbutts the Conquistador to the other side of the ring, allowing Smash to tag. The heels control Bret for a bit until Blanchard gets nailed coming into the corner. Blanchard makes an easy tag to Ax while Bret tags in Shawn. Smash catches Shawn coming off the ropes and places him in the heel corner for an all-you-can-beat buffet. Nikolai tags in and hits his guerilla press backbreaker and then tags in Blanchard. Anderson gets a quick tag and delivers the coolest Spinebuster of all-time on Michaels for 1-2-NO! The crowd thought it was over. One of the Conquistadors, like an idiot, slams Michaels near the face corner for an easy tag-out to Jannetty. The Conquistadors switch and Jannetty SPINS out of a hiptoss and hits a slam for two. Volkoff comes back in and misses a clothesline before going down to a dropkick for two. Volkoff PRESSES out of the pin! Davey Boy hits a stalling slam for two, but Volkoff presses clean out of that pin attempt as well. What’s with the Bulldogs wearing the Tito Santana mullet during this period? Once Volkoff takes over on Davey Boy, Blanchard tags in and goes a little too elbow drop crazy and misses one. Davey Boy sends Blanchard over to the heel corner with a headbutt, and then tags in Warlord as does one of the Conquistadors. Warlord no-sells some blows and press slams the masked Mexican into a tag from Ax. The crowd gets totally pumped for this pairing. Demolition takes over until Warlord catches a kick from Smash and tags in Barbarian. He uses all his energy for a running knee to the gut on Smash, which turns into another slugfest between the two. Blanchard gets a tag, but immediately takes a hotshot from Barbarian. Anvil tags in and delivers his standing powerslam for 1-2-NO! Dynamite tags in and hits the double-arm clothesline, but then gets dumped out to the floor by Blanchard. Dynamite crawls back in and gets controlled by Anderson for a while. Zhukov tags in and misses a knee drop to set up a tag to Jimmy Powers. Powers hits a bunch of clotheslines and connects with a crossbody out of the corner, but Zhukov rolls through it and gets the 1-2-3 on the Stallions. (15:36) Michaels comes in and goes crazy on Zhukov. He connects with a middle-rope fist drop for two. Barbarian tags in and hits a running shoulderblock into a Blanchard tag. Haha, Tully decides he doesn’t want to mess with the PoP and creeps across and tags in Volkoff. The big Russian takes control of Barbarian, but he quickly fires back and tags in Michaels. Zhukov tags in and gets caught by a blind tag sunset flip from Jannetty for 1-2-3! (18:20) Jannetty gets a quick rollup out of a backdrop on one of the Conquistadors for two. The Conquistadors switch and take control of Jannetty for a bit. Anderson comes in and ducks low off a whip, which leads to Davey Boy getting a tag. Blanchard gets tagged again, but is all reluctant to lock up just like before. That’s all mind games though. Davey Boy does this insane flip dive into the corner. Blanchard tries to get a little cheating going on, but all the WWF seems to know how to do when it comes to cheating in a tag match is just a short choke. Smash tags in and puts on a chinlock, which is almost unnecessary in this match. One of the Conquistadors tags in and eats a boot out of the corner and allows Davey Boy to tag in Neidhart. The Hart Foundation delivers a Demolition Decapitation for 1-2-NO! Oh man. The Rockers get a chance to double-team a Conquistador, but can’t put him away either. Dynamite tags in and hits a SNAP SUPLEX followed by a middle-rope knee drop for 1-2-NO! Dynamite even gives him a backbreaker, but only gets two. Barbarian tags in and hits a powerslam, but then sends him back into the heel corner for a tag to Blanchard. Barbarian gets outsmarted by Blanchard for the heels to take control. Anderson makes the mistake of ducking low off a whip and causes Barbarian to catch him in the face and tag in Jannetty. He gets in some stuff on Anderson and tags in Neidhart, who makes the same mistake Anderson just made no more than thirty seconds ago. Blanchard tags and hits a crossbody off the top for two. Bret gets a tag and delivers a nice backbreaker on Blanchard, but then gets his shoulders pinned off a German suplex bridge. (27:09) The crowd and Bret both think the Brainbusters are gone, but they’re sadly mistaken. That was lame. The teams are even now with the Bulldogs/PoP/Rockers vs. Demos/’Busters/Conquistadors. Oh man, Dynamite runs in and gives Blanchard a TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER for 1-2-NO! The crowd seems STILL pissed off about the Harts decision. Michaels tags in and gets double-teamed by the Brainbusters, which causes a big brawl with those two teams. Since they don’t calm the heck down, Hebner DQ’s both teams and we’re down to essentially an 8-man tag match. (28:47) We’ve got another FIFTEEN minutes to go, and with only one of these teams really being any fun, (take a wild guess) this is going to start sucking. But then again, the real important part of this match is within this next fifteen minutes. Both teams trade control of the match for a bit with nothing really of note happening. Davey Boy gets a CLOSE near-fall with a crucifix on Ax, but then he’s quickly pounded back down. The faces come back as Davey Boy hits a press slam and the RUNNING POWERSLAM on a Conquistador, but then he doesn’t make a cover. More pedestrian stuff happens until Dynamite hits a SNAP SUPLEX on Smash, but then he misses a SWANDIVE HEADBUTT for the 1-2-3. (36:19) After some PoP dominating, Fuji gets up on the apron to possibly whack Warlord with his cane. As Smash comes off the ropes, Fuji pulls the middle rope down for Smash to fall out to the floor to get the Demos counted out. (39:48) Ax confront Fuji about what happened, so Fuji hits him with the cane! He seems to forget that Smash is behind him and gets slammed on the floor. After Demolition leave ringside, the Powers of Pain go and dust off Fuji. The lowly jobber Conquistadors try their hardest to get rid of the Powers of Pain, but one of them gets pinned by Barbarian after a diving headbutt. (42:25) Survivors: Powers of Pain. Man that was a whole lot of typing. The PoP celebrate with Fuji and the crowd has NO idea how to react to this until Demolition runs down and clears the bad guys out of the ring to complete the double-turn. I’m still not sure why Fuji would dump the tag team champions for these guys, but he did. This feud would continue to build all the way to WrestleMania V. On a sidenote, this would be the last match for the British Bulldogs as a team in the WWF ever, and Davey Boy Smith’s last WWF match until late 1990. The Young Stallions were quietly broken up as well within the next few weeks. Powers would go back to being a jobber for the rest of his career, and Roma would later find equal success but as a heel tag team with Hercules for basically the same amount of time that the Stallions existed: one year. With all that happening and the Killer Bees broken up as well, we’re left with only THREE face tag teams. The match, however, was solid non-stop action up until around the last fifteen minutes. It wasn’t quite as good as last year’s because the match itself didn’t really tell a story, but the double-turn makes this match memorable and different from its predecessor. ***½
- Ultimate Warrior, Brutus Beefcake, Jim Brunzell, Sam Houston & Blue Blazer vs. Honky Tonk Man, Ron Bass, Danny Davis, Greg Valentine & Bad News Brown (w/Jimmy Hart) – 5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match
This was the original opener for the pay-per-view. When I first heard of Sam Houston about ten years ago, I thought he would be this big fat Texan like Ron Bass. But no, he’s a skinny little cowboy. Honky Tonk Man is still on his quest to reclaim the IC title that he lost in a matter of seconds at SummerSlam to the Ultimate Warrior, but that guy is not going to be stopped. Also, Beefcake has a beef with Ron Bass as well. B. Brian Blair quit the company prior to Survivor Series, leaving Brunzell with nothing to do but finish up his WWF career by subbing for Don Muraco, who had also recently quit the company. Beefcake hangs with his old pal Valentine to start, but then he gets nailed from behind by Davis on the apron. Davis tags in and puts the boots to Beefcake, but then he runs into a SLEEPER for our first submission elimination of the night. They clip to Bad News Brown, who sticks out like a sore thumb on his team, beating the crap out of Brunzell. Bad News puts him out quickly with the GHETTO BLASTER to even out the teams. We get more clippage, as we check out Valentine leveling Houston with a running forearm. Bad News tags in for some heel miscommunication, which causes him to FLIP OUT on Valentine! Honky and Bass try to calm things down, but Bad News is from Harlem and he don’t put up with dat, so he leaves and gets counted out. Meanwhile in the ring, Houston nails Bass with a flying crossbody for two. Houston doesn’t bother tagging anyone and tries a monkey flip out of the corner, but Bass catches him and drills Houston with a running slam to make it 3-on-3. They clip again to Owen-I mean, Blue Blazer delivering a gutwrench suplex to Valentine for a near-fall. Blazer tries for a knee drop off the top, but Honky shoves him off onto the canvas. Valentine smells blood and immediately slaps on the FIGURE-FOUR for our next elimination. Our next clip finds Beefcake firing away on Honky Tonk before giving him a big Stalling Atomic Drop. Beefcake follows that up with a clothesline and then the SLEEPER, but they both fall out to the floor for a lame double-countout. It’s come down to Warrior vs. Bass & Valentine. Tons of double-teaming goes down until Warrior hits a double-clothesline. Warrior runs Bass down with a double-sledge and gets a quick pin, and finishes Valentine with the same for the win. (8:10 shown) Survivors: Ultimate Warrior. There’s no way I can rate it since half the match is missing. Warrior would continue feuding with Honky Tonk until the end of the year before beginning his feud with the Ravishing One.
- Andre the Giant, Rick Rude, Dino Bravo, Mr. Perfect & Harley Race (w/Frenchy Martin & Bobby Heenan) vs. Jake Roberts, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Ken Patera, Scott Casey & Tito Santana – 5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match
Roberts is in a feud with Andre to play off Andre’s fear of snakes, and Roberts still doesn’t seem finished with his feud with Rude yet either. Duggan and Patera had been feuding with Bravo. Santana couldn’t get along with Race. Perfect was still too new to really have anything going on, but he’s just too great to not have on your pay-per-view. As far as Casey goes, he’s just a jobber replacing Brian Blair who was replacing Junkyard Dog because they both had left the company. There’s so much clipping here, we don’t even get a bell! CHV clips ahead to Rude putting Patera away with the RUDE AWAKENING. Next up, we watch Casey get stuck in the heel corner and then run into a SIDE SUPLEX from Bravo to give the heels a comfy lead; 5-on-3. They clip again to see Santana get a near-fall on Bravo with a Jack Brisco rollup. Race comes in and delivers a nice piledriver for two, but then Santana comes back and hits the FLYING JALAPENO to send Race back to the showers. Andre grabs Tito immediately and VIOLENTLY chokes him on the ropes before sitting on him off a sunset flip attempt for a three-count. It’s now 4-on-2! Duggan charges in and causes Andre to get tied up in the ropes. He tags in Roberts so he can get some free shots. Once Andre breaks free, he fires back and tags in Rude for a little bit of hip-swiveling, pillar-to-post action. We clip again to Duggan connecting with a clothesline on Bravo to set up the THREE POINT STANCE. Frenchy grabs Duggan’s leg for the distraction so Bravo can knock him out to the floor. After he gets slammed on the floor by Bravo, Duggan comes back in and brings his 2×4 in the ring with him. He nails Bravo with it and gets DQ’ed. Way to go there, Duggan. It’s now FOUR on one. Why? Because you’re an idiot. We clip to Rude setting Roberts up for the top-rope fist drop. Rude swivels his hips a little more and then turns around into a DDT from Roberts to make it three-on-one. Andre comes in and starts choking Roberts so much, he gets DQ’ed for it. Roberts falls to the mat, making him easy pickings for Perfect for the win. (9:23 shown) Survivors: Dino Bravo & Mr. Perfect. Post-match, Jake whips out Damien to scare Andre away. We only got a third of this one, so I can’t possibly rate it either. Considering the three or four good workers in there, the full version I assume has got to be better than the match prior (or the opener).
- Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Hillbilly Jim, Hercules & Koko B. Ware (w/Elizabeth) vs. Big Bossman, Akeem, Haku, Ted DiBiase & Red Rooster (w/Slick, Bobby Heenan & Virgil) – 5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match
This one is all about The Mega Powers vs. The Twin Towers. Hillbilly Jim apparently had been feuding with Haku. Hercules had recently turned face after he found out that Heenan was trying to sell him to DiBiase to be his personal slave, which is kind of weird if you ask me. Also for some reason, the Birdman and the Red Rooster can’t get along. I don’t know what that’s about, but this is NOT your star-studded pay-per-view main event. Wait a minute, HOGAN GETS AN ENTRANCE ALL BY HIMSELF?! Who does this guy think he is? I could understand if he was making a big return or something, but he wasn’t. It would also be amiss to not mention that Hulk is NOT wearing his Mega Powers tights, while Savage on the other hand is. Savage goes crazy on DiBiase to start and then tags in Hercules. DiBiase tags Rooster blindly and slides out to the floor to bring Hercules around the ring and get him nailed on his way back in the ring. Taylor goes for the COCK OF THE WALK, but Herc punches out and levels Rooster with a clothesline. Koko comes in and runs into a boot to start the heel domination. We get some back and forth action for the next several minutes with Haku being the victim for the heel team. Hillbilly Jim and Hogan deliver a double-big boot on Haku for 1-2-NO! Monsoon ~ “Hillbilly Jim is a guy that Hogan started out in the world of professional wrestling!” Ventura ~ “Unfortunately for all of us.” I love it when Jesse tells it like it truly is. Koko and Taylor go at it for a bit, with Koko delivering a Missile Dropkick for 1-2-NO! Hogan gets a tag and hits a Big Boot to set up the MACHO ELBOW DROP for 1-2-3! (6:13) The faces all celebrate like they just accomplished world peace or something. Heenan shows a little disgust with Taylor, which leads their breakup, Rooster’s face turn and a 30-second WrestleMania match. Once things settle, Hogan concentrates on Haku for a while. Herc comes in, but he gets nailed with a back suplex for Haku to escape and tag in Akeem. Hillbilly gets a tag after Akeem misses a splash on Hercules. Hillbilly connects with a big boot, but then Akeem comes back and 747 SPLASHES Jim to even the teams. (9:56) Koko runs in and dropkicks Akeem from behind to regain control of the big guy. The faces take turns trying to get Akeem off his feet, but nobody seems to be able to get it done. Akeem tags Bossman after Koko misses a charge in the corner. Bossman comes in and drills Koko with the BOSSMAN SLAM to make it 4-on-3, heels advantage. (11:47) We get Hogan vs. Bossman for a bit. Hogan slams him down, but Bossman gets back up and delivers a spinebuster on the Hulkster. Bossman hits the Bossman Straddle before tagging out to DiBiase. DiBiase delivers some of his famous fist drops for 1-2-NO! Hogan no-sells and gives DiBiase an atomic drop before tagging in Hercules. He hits his usual on DiBiase. Then Virgil gets involved and Hercules has no choice BUT to grab at Virgil only to get himself rolled up by DiBiase for the 1-2-3. (16:39) On his way to the back, Hercules decks Virgil. That gets DiBiase distracted long enough for Savage to run in for a quick rollup to eliminate DiBiase. (17:00) We’re down to the Twin Towers & Haku vs. The Mega Powers. The heels control Hulk for a bit. We even see a nerve hold from Haku! Hogan fights out, but then Bossman tags in and hits the BOSSMAN SLAM! He doesn’t go for the pin and instead poses and goes up for a splash, but he all he lands on is the canvas. HOT TAG TO SAVAGE! Well, he was hot until Slick hit him coming off the ropes with his pimp cane. Bossman applies a bearhug while Slick grabs Elizabeth. Hogan comes over to save her, but that leads to a Twin Towers double-team. Bossman handcuffs Hogan to the bottom rope while in the meantime, gets counted out. (23:31) Bossman doesn’t really care though, because now he can beat on Hulk with the nightstick with no consequences! After he gets tired of doing that, Bossman hops in the ring and starts beating on Savage with the nightstick. When Hebner tries to put a stop to it, Akeem shoves him down and Akeem gets DQ’ed. (25:03) It’s now down the Mega Powers vs. Haku. Even though Slick’s guys have gone to the back, he still hangs around ringside to mess with Hulk because he’s got the keys to the handcuffs. Meanwhile in the ring, Haku is taking care of Savage with no problem until Slick hops up on the apron and gets nailed after some heel miscommunication. Heenan gets nailed, so now it’s safe for Elizabeth to grab the keys and give them to Hogan so they finish off Haku and win this thing. Once Hogan gets over to his corner, Haku hits a top-rope splash that looks to end it for Savage, but he kicks out at two. Haku kicks Savage back into Hogan for the tag. Big Boot, LEG DROP, it’s over. (29:12) Survivors: Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage. The Mega Powers celebrate and everything is wonderful until Hogan picks up Elizabeth for a big hug. Savage gives him the look of death. I’m guessing that means a threesome was out of the question here. After an on-and-off again relationship for the past year, we have just witnessed the beginning of the end of the Mega Powers. Match was nothing special, but the look Savage gives Hogan at the end was pretty cool; especially if you’re a fan of the Hogan/Savage feud. *½
Final Thoughts: The 20-man tag match was really something cool to witness. You’ve got the double-turn, the Bulldogs last WWF match, and the Brainbusters outshining the entire tag division. The show as a whole is a huge step down from 1987, but it’s still not a terrible show by any means. I’ll go with thumbs in the middle for Survivor Series ’88.