August 17, 2007
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero

Survivor Series
November 19, 1995
US Air Arena
Landover, Maryland
Attendance: 14,500
Buy Rate: .57
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Mr. Perfect

Fun Fact: This is the first Survivor Series to take place on a Sunday night instead of Thanksgiving eve or Thanksgiving night.

Dark Match

The Smoking Gunns defeated the Public Enemy

Actual Show

1) The Body Donnas: Skip (Chris Candido), Rad Radford (Louis Mucciolo Jr), Tom Pritchard & 1-2-3 Kid (Sean Waltman) defeat The Underdogs: Marty Jannetty (Marty Oaks), Hakushi (Jinsei Shinzaki), Barry Horowitz (James Horowitz) & Bob Holly (Robert Howard)

Eliminations:
Bob Holly pins Tom Pritchard with a body press in 5:39
Skip pins Bob Holly with a roll-up in 5:43
Rad Radford pins Hakushi after a kick at 8:31
Barry Horowitz pins Rad Radford with a roll-up at 11:47
1-2-3 Kid pins Barry Horowitz after a Snap Legdrop in 12:46
Marty Jannetty pins Skip with a Top Rope Powerbomb at 15:23
1-2-3 Kid pins Marty Jannetty after Sid interferes at 19:06

Sole Survivor:
1-2-3 Kid

Fun Fact: 1-2-3 Kid turned heel on Razor and joined the Million Dollar Corporation on Raw the week before this show. As special referee for a Ramon/Sid match on that show, he would help Sid win the match (by reversing the Razor’s Edge and executing a fast count). Kid was added to this match a day or two before the show, replacing Jean-Pierre Lafitte.

Fun Fact II: Rad Radford was the “Body Donna in training” at this point, but because he kept losing, was not made an official part of the team. Radford would do a quick face turn, but would be gone by early 1996. After leaving the WWF, he headed to Philadelphia and ECW where was able to make a mark and build up his name and resume. He would eventually make his way to WCW where he would see his biggest mainstream wrestling success. Unfortunately, just as he was starting to get hot as a lackey to the NWO, Louie was founded dead on February 15, 1998. The death was officially ruled an overdose and would be right at the start of a run of well known wrestlers dying due to drug abuse.

Scott: Our opener is a mish-mosh of mid-carders. The Kid is immediately freshened up as he the hated new member of Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Corporation. Considering how his faction’s year went, Kid probably should have joined Camp Cornette. Skip and Sunny make their first PPV appearance since losing to Barry Horowitz at Summerslam. Radford was a Superstars/Raw mid-card JTTS until making a bigger name for himself in ECW. His career, and life, would end tragically. Everyone else was sprinkled in to fill out the teams. The action is decent, and everyone gets a good amount of time to shine. The end of the match is expected, as it’s meant to show off the newest heel on the block. It is funny to see Horowitz as the centerpiece of the babyface team. Although it’s nothing terrible, it’s a perfect example of the lack of talent in 1995. Grade: 2.5

Justin: A very fast paced match with some extremely underrated talent. Horowitz was very over for some reason, but he was on the downward slide as far as his push goes. He jobs here, gets to be in the Rumble and then that is it. Jannetty is also pretty over here and Kid is drawing some solid heat. The highlight of the match is the scintillating top rope powerbomb by Jannetty onto Skip. It was quite an awesome sight to see. Kid was the man in this match and his heel turn was very fresh, so he goes over everyone else. To add some perspective by May of 1996 only Skip, Zip, Jannetty and Holly were left in the Federation, and by December 1996 only Holly remained. Sid makes an appearance at the end of the match and helps the Kid pick up the big win and also helps to set up a match on our next PPV. This was a fun match and the show was off to a hot, and fresh, start. Grade: 3

2) Bertha Faye (Rhonda Singh), Aja Kong (Erika Shishido), Tomoko Watanabe & Lioness Azuka (Tomoko Kitamura) defeat Alundra Blayze (Debra Ann Miceli), Sakie Hasegawa, Kyoko Inoue & Chaparrita Asari (Masami Watanabe)

Eliminations:
Alundra Blayze beat Lioness Azuka with a German Suplex at 1:42
Aja Kong beat Sakie Hasegawa with a Backdrop Suplex at 3:58
Aja Kong beat Chaparrita Asari with a Slam at 4:25
Aja Kong beat Kyoko Inoue with a Butt Drop at 5:02
Alundra Blayze beat Tomoko Watanabe with a Piledriver at 6:30
Alundra Blayze beat Bertha Faye with a Suplex at 7:11
Aja Kong beats Alundra Blayze with a Uraken (Spinning Backhand) at 10:01

Survivor:
Aja Kong

Fun Fact: Aja Kong was set to be the next heel contender to Blayze’s title, as, according to WWF Magazine, they were scheduled to face off at the Royal Rumble. However, we all know what happened a couple of weeks after this: Blayze showed up on Nitro and dumped the title in the garbage. The title would remain dormant for the next 3 years.

Scott: This match is only notable because Alundra Blayze would pull a dastardly deed after losing this match. She would show up on Nitro with the women’s title, and throw it in the trash. Madusa Miceli said later she was very uncomfortable doing it. Well, when Eric Bischoff offers you a check with a Turner watermark, well you’ll do just about anything. One other note is that the unbelievable talent of the Japanese women. Not since the Jumping Bomb Angels have we seen women of the Orient this talented in a WWF ring. Unfortunately after this match we don’t see any of them on PPV again. I wonder if Vince knew Blayze was leaving, as Kong bitch-slaps her for the last 2 ˝ minutes of the match. It was nice of the WWF to re-hash the Orient Express music for Kong after the match. Vince sees his best women’s wrestler on TNT toss the belt in the trash, and eliminates the women’s division until 1998. Grade: 2.5

Justin: A pretty good match featuring a lot of fast paced stiff action, as is usual from the Japanese Women. The other famous WWF-Japan woman, Bull Nakano, was in WCW around this time, and was in a match at World War 3 a week after this. This was a good match that brings an end to Phase II of the WWF Women’s Division. This was some innovative stuff as far as Vince goes, and the whole match adds to the fresh feel of the show, as the staleness of most of 1995 seems to have dissipated. It is too bad Alundra bailed a few weeks later, as the women’s division could have gotten hot with some of the Japanese imports, especially Aja Kong who looked like a beast here. The Uraken she smacks Alundra with was just filthy and seemed like the dawning of a new era for women’s wrestling in the WWF. Grade: 3

3) Goldust (Dustin Runnels) defeats Bam Bam Bigelow (Scott Charles Bigelow) with a bulldog at 8:18

Fun Fact: This is the last match of Bigelow’s WWF career, and his overall record 7-12. He was 1-3 at the Rumble, 1-2 at Wrestlemania, 1-1 at In Your Houses, 2-2 at King of the Ring, 1-1 at Summerslam and 1-3 at Survivor Series. Bigelow would bounce around ECW, where he would experience a career rebirth, and then he would wrestle in WCW until WCW’s demise in 2001. One of his memorable feuds after this was with Taz in ECW in 1998, which included two matches where they fell through the ring and the entrance ramp. Bigelow’s life would tragically end on January 19, 2007 when his body was found in his Florida home. An autopsy showed that his death was caused by toxic levels of cocaine & benzodiazepine, which is an anti-anxiety drug.

Scott: The end for the Beast from the East. Bigelow had a successful run, but he is dispatched in this match by the new heel on the block. Goldust has a dreadfully long entrance. He wrestles like Dustin Rhodes, with elbows and viciousness. Well when he was the Natural, he didn’t rub his hands on his opponent’s chests. Maybe he did, I don’t know his father wasn’t exactly the most conventional booker on earth. In any case, he continues his upward rise, which would lead him to gold in a couple of months. Last review I commented on the fact that of all the makeup Goldust wore, his ears were painted black for some odd reason. Here they’re not, and it looks better. Grade: 2

Justin: A really slow and boring match, as Bigelow could give a fuck and a half at this point and Dustin was still getting his Goldust-Style down, something he would do by early 1996, leading to much better matches out of him. As Scott said, he is still wrestling Natural-esque here, so he wasn’t fully into the character, wrestling wise, but he did have the psychology down to a tee. It is sad to see Bigelow go, but he needed to get out, as the Clique had killed any heat or pops he was getting at all. I wonder if he would have been built back up in 1996 once the Clique was out of power, but I guess it was too late, and he probably would have been purged out in ’96 anyway with the rest of the mid card. Grade: 1.5

4) The Dead Men: Savio Vega (Juan Rivera), Henry Godwin (Mark Canterbury), Fatu (Solofa Fatu) & Undertaker (Mark Callaway) beat The Royals: Jerry Lawler, Hunter-Hearst Helmsley (Paul Levesque), Isaac Yankem (Glen Jacobs) & Mabel (Nelson Frazier)

Eliminations:
Undertaker beats Jerry Lawler with a Tombstone in 12:17
Undertaker beats Isaac Yankem with a Tombstone at 12:48
Undertaker beats Hunter-Hearst Helmsley with a Chokeslam at 13:33
Mabel is counted out at 14:24

Survivors:
Undertaker
Savio Vega
Henry Godwin
Fatu

Fun Fact: Undertaker is making his return after having his face destroyed by Mabel and Yokozuna on the 10/9 Raw. He is wearing a face mask that resembles the Phantom of the Opera.

Scott: This match had one simple purpose. Undertaker was off TV after Mabel and Yokozuna double-teamed him to where he broke his orbital bone. Off TV for about a month, he comes back here with a bizarre “Phantom of the Opera” mask to protect his face while his bones healed. After everyone else did the work for 12 minutes, Taker pins 3 of them in 45 seconds and Mabel runs away to get counted out to end the very boring, very predictable match, but was necessary to get Undertaker back on that plateau. At least he gets beyond these awful 1995 feuds and is primed for much better things. Almost like another chapter of his career, Taker’s theme music is improved a little at this show. Lawler debuts these swank gold tights, but his bad mid-90’s mullet is getting out of control. Oh, and one more historical note. Mr. Perfect makes the first PPV reference of the nickname that Hunter Hearst-Helmsley would use as his common moniker today: Triple H. Grade: 1.5

Justin: Not much here, as it was just a reason to put Undertaker over strong, as he was being set up for a Main Event run in 1996. He would end 1995 by finishing his feud with Mabel, and then would finally return to the World Title picture in 1996. As far as everyone else goes, Fatu, Mabel and Yankem would be gone by early 1996, but all three would eventually return under different personas. Lawler continues on in his spurt of wrestling that has been on and off all year while Helmsley would suffer in the lower mid card for a little while longer. This was an interesting little match but really, there is nothing happening here. Grade: 1.5

5) British Bulldog (David Smith), Sid (Sid Eudy), Ahmed Johnson (Tony Norris) & Shawn Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom) defeat Owen Hart, Yokozuna (Rodney Anoia), Dean Douglas (Troy Martin) & Razor Ramon (Scott Hall)

Eliminations:
Shawn Michaels beats Dean Douglas with a roll-up at 7:29
Razor Ramon pins Sid after HBK’s Superkick at 16:17
Ahmed Johnson pins Owen Hart after a Tiger Bomb (eventually called the Pearl River Plunge) at 21:47
British Bulldog pins Razor Ramon after a Powerslam at 24:06
Ahmed Johnson pins Yokozuna after Michaels’ Superkick at 27:22

Survivors:
British Bulldog
Ahmed Johnson
Shawn Michaels

Fun Fact: Shawn Michaels was making his triumphant return after being injured at the hands of some Marines a month earlier. However, he would be put on the shelf again the very next night when he collapsed after an Owen Hart enzuiguri, playing off the concussion he received in the bar fight. It was a very good sell-job, and from what’s been said, Michaels actually spent the night in the hospital to sell the injury. Michaels would stay out for another 2 months and make another triumphant return at the Royal Rumble.

Fun Fact II: The beginning of Ahmed Johnson’s wrestling career is a little cloudy, but he did play a bit on the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. It’s alleged he was trained by Dick Murdoch and Joe Blanchard (Tully’s dad). He spent a short time as Moadib in the USWA and GWF before Vince scooped him up.

Scott: This was the “wild card” match, which was a mixture of faces and heels on two teams. However, it was unbalanced. Razor was the only good guy on his team, whereas the other team was 2 and 2. A strange match, but a lot of action, particularly when Razor is breaking pin attempts by the faces on the other team. This was actually a very entertaining match, with good action, and the debut of Ahmed Johnson. The big man from Pearl River, Mississippi would be a very over face for the first half of 1996, then it would go downhill. More on that in future reviews. You can tell Sid was going through the motions here, but he would make a bigger impact in exactly one year. Shawn was prepping for the big push, and you can hear it from the sounds of the commentators. The WWF landscape seemed to finally be changing, and the next match would definitely be a sign of change. Grade: 3

Justin: A pretty good, and different, match to watch. The heel/face mix up made things interesting and added a little spice to the action. The match was made by “fan friendly” President, Gorilla Monsoon in order to mix things up and present a creative match to the fans. Also, if you take Yoko out of the mix, the other seven are very good workers, and they carry this match very well. Ahmed was quite good in the ring early on, and he didn’t get sloppy until late 1996, when injuries broke him down and ruined his workrate. A fun match that really didn’t lead to any long lasting storylines, but it did spawn the great Owen-Michaels feud that started the next night. Also, this is pretty much it for Dean Douglas. He would stick around for another month, but injuries would render him useless in the WWF going forward. As Scott mentioned, it was interesting seeing the face/heel dynamic be mixed, as well as seeing arch enemies Ramon and Douglas being forced to team up. Michaels gets the last laugh on Sid yet again, as he turns on his partner by putting him to sleep with Sweet Chin Music. Sid would eventually get his revenge, however. Owen and Yoko are just there, but their alliance is about to dissolve after a healthy and successful run. All in all, this was a cool match and a nice concept to mix up the usual Survivor formula. Grade: 3

6) Bret Hart defeats Diesel (Kevin Nash) to win WWF World Title with a small package at 24:49

Fun Fact: Here it is: The end of the road for Big Daddy Cruel’s miserable World Title run. The madness had started the year before, when he defeated Bob Backlund in 9 seconds at MSG. What started off so promising ended so badly as Diesel ended up Main Eventing 9 straight Pay-Per-Views, which is something Hulk Hogan never even did, so he had an impressive run in that regard. Of the 9 matches, 2 were excellent (Wrestlemania and Survivor Series), 1 was very good (Royal Rumble) 1 was decent (IYH #3) and 5 were outright bad (IYH #1, 2 and 4, Summerslam and KOTR). Not the best year for Diesel and unfortunately, his title reign runs parallel to the dip in WWF quality, as late 1994 to late 1995 was one of their worst years ever.

Fun Fact II: This match features the first broken table spot in WWF PPV history.

Scott: Finally. After publicly berating Big Daddy Cruel at last month’s PPV for absolutely sucking the big meat missile in a main event for the 5th time in 6 months, Vince McMahon finally does the right thing. The hard-working, no-whining Hitman gets close to 25 very good minutes out of Diesel, before finally winning his 3rd World Title. The first two meetings between these two (1994 King of the Ring and 1995 Royal Rumble) were annoying clusterfucks with endless interference. This time, both men finally could just wrestle. What’s really sad is, after months and months of brutal matches, Diesel actually looked really good here. Now, he’s no longer champion. The fans needed to see a storyline cleansing, and Bret Hart being champion is exactly that. Hart does an excellent job of selling the power moves and the announcers pump Diesel up as unbeatable. Diesel is outsmarted though, as Bret does his great opossum impersonation and surprises Big Daddy Cruel with a small package for the title. The Hitman’s in the driver’s seat, for now. As the year ends, the winds of change continue to blow, but as we see in early 1996 the more things change, the more they stay the same. Grade: 4

Justin: An excellent match here, as Bret brings it and Diesel carries his end of things. Diesel could bring it when he was in there with someone who could help him along. However, when he had to carry his opponent, he struggles mightily, and sadly, he was made to carry a bunch of slugs through the whole year. If he would have feuded with Ramon, Bret and Shawn all year, his run would have been much better. Instead, Vince went the Hogan route with him and kept feeding him heel after heel, and it just did not work out. Bret’s title victory was a huge breath of fresh air, as it got the belt off Diesel and got Bret back into the Main Events. Even though it is a brief run, it was good to have the Hitman back on top for a bit. Bret’s win was a major harbinger of things to come, as Vince finally gave up his big man fetish and let the smaller guys run with the ball for the next few years. This match is quite stiff as these two really lay into each other. Bret wrestles a smart match, as he keeps taking Diesel down off his feet, at one point even tying him to the ring post by his boot laces. Towards the end of the match, Bret takes the wicked bump through the ringside table, and the crowd senses another Diesel title defense. An excellent match, and one of my personal favorites, that shows the promise Diesel has in 1994 and makes you wonder what happened in those 12 months, and what could have been. Grade: 4.5

FINAL ANALYSIS:

Scott: This was the official end of one of the worst years of shows in WWF history. Bad main event after bad main event ends here, with a great World Title match. The era of Diesel is officially over, and boy there wasn’t much left to remember. His demeanor changes from here on out, and his matches actually get better. Too bad he sticks around for only 5 more months. The Clique is still calling the shots in Vince’s ear, but at least here he uses better judgment, and gives the right man the WWF World Title. The rest of the card was better than past months with more new faces, better quality wrestling, and more dead weight floats away. Even the women’s match had repercussions. One more show, and the year in the WWF 1995 is over. Seemed like 10 years, if you ask me. Final Grade: C+

Justin: A really underrated show that officially signaled the end of the miserable Diesel Title Reign of Terror. It started off hot with the surprise return of Mr. Perfect and the action stayed pretty strong throughout the show, with the only sub-par match being Goldust-Bigelow. The show had a very fresh feel and look and seemed to focus on some different faces. I remember being shocked and very excited when Mr. Perfect showed up for commentary, and he does a great job the whole night. The opener featured fast paced action and saw a nice mix of young and grizzled mid card wrestlers get the spotlight. The women’s match was fun and fresh, as it is the first time in 8 years that we get to see Japanese women on WWF TV. The Wild Card match was a neat idea and, at nearly 30 minutes was rock solid. It also helped establish Ahmed as a force, which was a good thing. The Main Event was lots of fun too, and Bret finally gets back the belt he lost exactly one year earlier. This show was definitely the light at the end of the tunnel for the Federation and better times were ahead, and may I say, Thank God. This is definitely the best show of the year and was a huge breath of fresh air. Final Grade: B-

MVP: Bret Hart
Runner Up: Diesel
Non-MVP: Alundra Blayze
Runner Up: Bam Bam Bigelow

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