November 9, 2009
Survivor Series 1987, November 26, 1987, Richfield Coliseum, Richfield, OH
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse “The Body” Ventura
With this years show coming up in a few weeks, here’s a look back 22 years at the first ever Survivor Series. The idea was that since Jim Crockett was putting Starrcade on PPV for the first time, Vince would screw with him by putting on his own show. Since the WWF had the track record and was the bigger and more influential company, not to mention that Vince threatened to withhold not only this show, but Wrestlemania IV as well from any cable company that carried Starrcade, Survivor Series was picked up nearly everywhere while Starrcade was virtually ignored outside of the traditional Crockett territory. The big selling point of the show was that we would see the first in ring confrontation between Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant since Wrestlemania III as they captain opposite sides in our main event. So let’s get on with it and see how well this show holds up.
Opening Match: The Honky Tonk Man (Captain), Harley Race, Hercules, Outlaw Ron Bass, & “Dangerous” Danny Davis (w/Jimmy Hart & Bobby Heenan) vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (Captain), Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, & Hacksaw Jim Duggan (w/Elizabeth)
We start off with a match that basically consists of Honky Tonk Man against a bunch of guys who have an issue with him. Beefcake and Hercules are the first guys in for their respective teams and they play to the crowd for a bit. Herc hits a shoulderblock, but when he comes off again, Beefcake hooks the sleeper. Herc quickly makes it to the corner and tags Davis, who takes a hiptoss right away. Slam hits and then Beefcake tags Jake and the faces work Davis over until he finally escapes and tags Race. By now Steamboat is in for the face team and he takes a shoulderbreaker. Corner whip sees Steamboat come back off with a chop. They trade shots until Race tosses him, but Steamboat of course skins the cat. Race tosses him a second time with the same result, but then on a third try, Steamboat counters and Race goes out. Race is immediately back in though and hits a belly to belly suplex for 2. Steamboat crawls through the legs and tags Duggan, who is currently feuding with Race and clotheslines him to the floor. They brawl out there for the double count out at 4:39. Jake and Bass go now with Bass raking the eyes. He hits a slam, but misses an elbow which allows a tag to Savage. Savage runs wild with a knee to the back, followed by a snapmare and kneedrop for 2. He puts Bass down again with a slam, but makes the mistake of going after Honky after which he turns around into a clothesline. Now Honky gets the tag to some good heat as he and Savage have the biggest issue going here. He gets in a few kicks, but the moment Savage starts firing back, Honky runs and tags Bass. Savage nails him with an elbow and backdrop. He then makes a blind tag to Beefcake as he sends Bass off the ropes, and Beefcake comes in and nails the high knee for the 3 count at 7:02. Hercules charges in and takes a slam, but soon gains control. Tag to Honky and the heels go to work on the arm. Beefcake makes brief comebacks that are always cut off and he can’t tag. He finally does get a sustained comeback, hitting an atomic drop and ramming Honky to the buckle, but makes the mistake of not tagging when he has the chance. Davis knees him as he comes off the ropes, and then he eats Shake Rattle & Roll for the pin at 10:51. This evens us up at 3 on 3. Savage still wants Honky, but Honky tags back out to Herc before that can happen. Herc and Davis work Savage over, with Honky only coming in when he has a clear advantage. Savage makes the tag to Jake, who nearly gets Honky with the DDT, but not quite. Honky then gets the boots up on a corner whip and the heels take over on Jake. Hercules gets the tag and gets repeated 2 counts after taking Jake down with some punches. Davis is in, but Jake just starts no selling his offence, and then nails the short clothesline and DDT for 3 at 15:11. That was pretty decisive right there. Hercules comes right in with a clothesline and drops some elbows for 2. Herc and Honky double team Jake and hold him in the corner for awhile. Honky gets 2 off a fistdrop. Finally Jake jawjacks out of a Hercules rear chinlock and makes the tag to Steamboat. He nails Hercules with some crops, and then another one off the top. Tag to Savage with puts Herc down with a slam, and then drops the top rope elbow for 3 at 21:04. This leaves Honky not just 1 against 3, but against 3 guys who can’t wait to tear him limb from limb. Savage finally gets to take out some of his frustrations, but misses a charge which allows Honky to briefly take over. Savage comes back with an elbow and tags Steamboat who takes a few shots before tagging Jake. They hit a double backdrop, and then Savage gets tagged back in. He comes in with a double ax handle, then slams Honky and nails a second one. An atomic drop puts Honky on the floor, and he decides that enough of that and walks away for the count out 24:41. Survivors: Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, & Jake Roberts. They gave us a tease of Honky getting what’s coming to him, but he still lives to fight another day. Pretty good match overall as there were some really good workers here and the ones who weren’t could easily have their time in minimized by the format. **1/2
Sensational Sherri (Captain), The Glamour Girls, Dawn Marie, & Donna Christianello (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Fabulous Moolah (Captain) Velvet Mcintyre, Rockin’ Robin, & The Jumping Bomb Angels
Next we’re on to the women’s match as the main issue is between Sherri and the woman she just won the Title from, Fabulous Moolah. Moolah, by the way, has allegedly turned babyface, but you’d never know it from the reaction she gets here. Besides that we have The Jumping Bomb Angels, brought in from Japan, who were miles better then anyone else on the roster (that’s not saying much though). I guess Vince thought they could generate some interest in women’s wrestling again or something, because otherwise I have no idea why they would be brought in. As foils for them, Judy Martin and Leilani Kai were paired up, dubbed The Glamour Girls, billed as WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions (although they have no belts with them tonight), and even given Jimmy Hart as a manager. Perhaps the most shocking thing: This feud actually did get over, mainly due to the Angels working a style rarely seen in the WWF prior to this. Anyways, to the match now, which has Sherri and Velvet starting out. Sherri nails a clothesline, but Velvet is back with a crossbody for 1. Tag to Moolah, who wants a piece of Sherri and briefly gets it before Sherri tags Christianello. The face trade off with her for a bit until Velvet finishes her off with a Victory Roll at 1:58. Kai attacks and they actually have a pretty fast pace going here, but at the same time it’s just kind of like do a move, then do another move, and another, with no flow, or story being told or anything. It’s like there’s a lot going on, but at the same time there’s nothing going on, you know? Rockin’ Robin pins Dawn Marie with a crossbody at 4:09. Next we get Kai and Yamazaki as our first taste of Glams vs. Angels. Yamazaki bridges out of a pin and gets a rollup for 2, followed by another, also for 2. Martin gets the tag, but takes a couple of high knees and a crossbody for 2. Tag to Tateno and Sherri, with Sherri taking a double underhook suplex for 1. Robin gets tagged back in, but has no luck with Sherri, taking a slam and suplex for 3 at 6:52. The fast pace continues with constant tagging from both teams. Moolah can’t get a face reaction to save her life here. Yamazaki ends up caught in the heel corner, but even that doesn’t last too long. They seem so intent on keeping the pace up that they just kind of adopt Lucha rules with no tagging necessary as people just replace each other as needed. Our next elimination sees Moolah hit with a double clothesline by the Glamour Girls and pinned at 10:55. The Angels and Velvet now take over on Martin. Velvet hooks a Boston crab, and then switches to an STF. She turns it loose, but then hits a dropkick. Sherri gets the tag and goes to the eyes, then nails a faceplant, legdrop, and suplex. Kai tags in and hits a double underhook suplex for 2. Velvet and Sherri get tags and Velvet gets her with a giant swing. She then gets on her shoulders and uses the Victory Roll successfully again, pinning the Champion at 14:57. Tateno gets the tag and comes in against Martin with a sunset flip for 2. Yamazaki gets a double underhook suplex for 2. The Angels and Glamour Girls keep going at it for a bit until Velvet gets the tag again. She hits a dropkick on Kai and goes for the Victory Roll once more, but it’s once too many and Kai drops her with an electric chair and pins her at 17:22. This just leaves our tag teams against each other. It doesn’t even last long though as Kai falls victim to a crossbody by Tateno at 18:39. Martin gives it a go, dropping Tateno out of a fireman’s carry for 2, but Yamazaki gets the tag. She drops a knee form the top and they follow with a double backdrop. Jimmy Hart gets on the apron and takes a dropkick for his troubles. Yamazaki then finishes Martin off with a flying clothesline at 20:17. Survivors: The Jumping Bomb Angels. The pace was amazing for this time period and the action was decent, although a little sloppy at times. Pretty entertaining stuff though. ***
The Hart Foundation (Captains), The Bolsheviks, Demolition, The New Dream Team, & The Islanders (w/Jimmy Hart, Slick, Mr. Fuji, Johnny Valiant, & Bobby Heenan) vs. Strike Force (Captains), The British Bulldogs, The Young Stallions, The Rougeau Brothers, & The Killer Bees
This next match features pretty much all the regular tag teams of the period matched against each other. The Harts had just recently been defeated by Strike Force for the Titles so they had the main issue going at the time. One difference in the rules here is so that we’re not here all night, once one member of a team is eliminated, his partner is out as well giving us a maximum of nine eliminations just like the other matches. Volkoff and Martel start out with Martel getting a rollup for 2 right away. He puts his head down on a whip though and gets kicked. Zhukov gets the tag but misses an elbow. Martel hits a dropkick and gets a crossbody for 2. Tag to Tito, and he polishes Zhukov off with the Flying Jalapeno at 1:45 to eliminate the Bolsheviks. Ax attacks, but Tito gets the tag to Jacques Rougeau. Dino Bravo gets tagged in as well and the face team works him over until he tags Smash. Smash takes over on Dynamite Kid before tagging Haku. The action here is literally non stop as every one just keeps tagging off and there’s no time for it to slow down. Paul Roma finally gets caught in the heel corner and worked over by Demolition and the Islanders. I notice they’re using some really different camera angles for this match and this match only. I guess to show the action better or just to accentuate the fact that there are that many guys out there. The apron is about 80% filled, by the way. Jacques is in with Ax, but misses a crossbody and gets pinned at 5:49. I don’t believe Ray Rougeau was ever even in the match, but he’s gone too. Kid gets the snap suplex on Ax before more tags are made. I wonder if it means something that Anvil and Haku use an upstaged version of a Demolition Decapitation with Anvil holding Powers on his shoulders and Haku dropping a knee from the top? The match goes on with more quick tags as I believe we’ve now seen everyone in the ring at least once. Roma is the victim again, taking a shoulderbreaker from Valentine for 2 and a gutwrench suplex from Bravo for another 2. Kid gets tagged in and is soon caught in the corner as well. They keep pounding away and as the ref tries to get in Smash’s face about it, Smash shoves him away to get Demolition disqualified at 9:11. Bret Hart comes in and nails Kid with a beautiful piledriver for 2. More tags lead to Martel getting the Boston crab on Tama, but he’s right in the corner and tags Anvil who clotheslines Martel from behind for 2. He gets the tag To Tito though and he nails Anvil with the Flying Jalapeno, but Bret makes the save at 2. Anvil rolls Tito over and gets the 3 count (???) at 12:05. I mean it’s good for The Harts to beat them to keep the rematches hot, but that’s an unbelievably weak finish for the Tag Team Champions to go down to. Jim Powers gets the honour now of playing face in peril, taking quite a beating including a thrust kick and backbreaker form Haku for 2 and a double clothesline from Haku and Valentine for another 2. Bret gets a backbreaker and a suplex for another 2 before Powers escapes and tags Roma. More quick tags follow from both sides. There’s some great action here, but if I try to describe it all I’ll be here all night. Bret takes a press slam from Davey for 2, but makes the tag to Haku. Haku takes the running powerslam for 2. Tag to Kid, who drops a headbutt, but Haku comes back with the thrust kick and that gets the 3 count on Kid at 19:58. Roma comes in and hits a couple of dropkicks for a 2 count, and then tags Powers. Powers gets worked over again by the heel team for a while. Bravo nails the side suplex, but tags Valentine instead of covering. Powers then gets a blind tag to Roma as Valentine goes for the figure four, and Roma comes off the top with a sunset flip to pin Valentine at 23:40. So we’re 2 on 2 now. Or 4 on 4 depending on how you look at it I guess. The Bees take over on Anvil now with some double teaming. Brunzell hits a high knee for 2 before Anvil tags Bret. The quick tags continue on both sides with everyone getting their stuff in. A bit of a funny moment sees Haku hit a dropkick on Roma and then tag Anvil, with Gorilla saying “I’d like to see Anvil try that”, and then sure enough, Anvil hits a dropkick of his own for 2. He follows with a powerslam for another 2. Bret and Brunzell are in next and have a collision off the ropes. Brunzell lifts him up for a slam with Tama coming in to dropkick them over, but Brunzell rolls through and gets the pin at 30:28. This leaves the Islanders as the sole heel representatives and they control Brunzell for a bit, getting a couple of 2 counts before he finally makes the tag to Powers. Now the Stallions take over with Powers hitting a backdrop on Haku and then tagging Roma who gets a powerslam for 2. Roma then misses a charge and tags are made to Blair and Tama. Tama gets a slam, but misses an elbow allowing a tag to Brunzell. Brunzell deals with both Islanders with a double noggin knocker, and then nails the dropkick on Tama, but it only gets 2 as Haku saves. Everybody goes at it now and in the confusion the Bees get the masks on which leads to Blair, the illegal man, getting a sunset flip on Tama and pinning him to end it at 37:17. Survivors: The Killer Bees & The Young Stallions. Easily the best match of the night here as you had a great collection of workers who were intent on making this match mean something and for those that weren’t workers they had their time in kept short. ****
Main Event: Andre The Giant (Captain), Ravishing Rick Rude, King Kong Bundy, “The Natural” Butch Reed, & One Man Gang (w/Bobby Heenan & Slick) vs. Hulk Hogan (Captain), Bam Bam Bigelow, Ken Patera, Don Muraco, & “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff (w/Oliver Humperdink)
So, as mentioned, the big selling point of this show was that not only would Andre The Giant be returning to the ring for the first time since Wrestlemania III, but he would be doing so by captaining a team against the team of the man he faced at that show, Hulk Hogan. As part of the buildup, they played off of Andre and Heenan’s belief that Andre had gotten the 3 count on the failed slam early in the match and that Andre would come out tonight to destroy Hogan as a result of that bad decision. Muraco, who has just recently turned face after coming to the aid of the man he’s replacing on the team, Superstar Billy Graham, starts out against Rude. They go for a bit before Muraco tags Orndorff. He and Rude had an issue over who has the better body, and this was apparently such an important issue for Orndorff that he was able to make nice with Hogan for the sake of getting in the match here tonight. Anyways, Rude gets traded off by the face team, from Orndorff, to Hogan, to Bigelow from whom he takes a splash and press slam. Patera gets tagged and takes a shot off the top on the way in. Rude finally manages to tag Reed, but he takes a clothesline and slam. Inside cradle gets 2 and now the face trade off with Reed until Hogan and Orndorff hit a double clothesline and Hogan finishes him off with the legdrop at 3:08. That sounds about right for Butch Reed. Andre steps into the ring for the big confrontation we all paid to see, but sadly it will have to wait. You see, in the celebration of his elimination of Reed, Hogan high fived Patera and the ref has interpreted this as a tag, so he orders Hogan out and Patera in. Andre then steps right back out, making it clear that there’s only one reason he’s here. Patera and Bundy go now, with Patera in control. Guys trade off now with quick tags on both sides. Patera gets a crossbody on Gang for 2. Gang then goes to the eyes and pounds him down. Patera briefly comes back, but runs into a clothesline for the 3 count at 8:47. Hogan comes in with a clothesline and then he and Bigelow take Gang down with a double big boot. Rude and Orndorff are in next with Orndorff nailing a suplex and backdrop. But then he gets nailed from behind by Bundy and Rude cradles him for the pin at 10:26. Now Rude gets to pay for that, taking a crescent kick from Bigelow, a high knee from Hogan, and a powerslam from Muraco for 3 at 11:15. Bundy comes in and goes to work on Muraco’s leg with help from Gang. Muraco tries to slam the Gang, but the leg gives out and Gang falls on top for 2. Andre then connects with a headbutt from the apron setting up a splash from the Gang to end Muraco’s night at 12:57. Bigelow is in next, and he gets taken over after Gang sits on him following a sunset flip attempt. All three members of the heel team take turns working him over until he’s finally able to use his speed to elude Andre (And isn’t that about as hard as it gets?), and makes the hot tag to Hogan. Now we finally get Hogan and Andre to go at it to huge heat. They go toe to toe for a bit until Hogan decides that he also needs to give a piece of action to Bundy and Gang. In retaliation, they trip him up and drag him to the floor, but he still manages to take them both on with little trouble, including slamming them both. But sadly he takes just a bit too long in doing so and is counted out 18:07. Of course he refuses to leave quietly, so the ref finally has to threaten to forfeit the match to Andre’s team unless he goes right away, and that finally gets him out of there. This leaves Bigelow 1 on 3 against Andre, Gang, and Bundy, but the crowd really starts to get behind him. He controls Bundy, hitting a clothesline and elbow for 2. Headbutt gets another 2. Bundy reverses a corner whip to setup the Avalanche, but Bigelow moves. Bundy goes down and Bigelow hits the slingshot splash for the 3 count at 21:40. Gang is right on him with a clothesline for 2. He pounds him down and goes for a top rope splash, but it misses and Bigelow covers him for 3 at 23:02. Now it’s just him and Andre. Andre connects with a headbutt, but Bigelow manages to get away. He moves back in, but gets caught in the corner and Andre puts the shoulders to him before nailing his double underhook suplex and that gets 3 at 24:16. That’s a shame as the crowd seemed convinced that Bigelow was going too pull it off. Survivor: Andre The Giant. And of course Andre can’t even be allowed one second of glory before Hogan runs back in and clocks him with the belt. Hogan celebrates like he won the match, while Andre and Heenan leave knowing that no matter what he does, Hogan can’t change the fact that he lost. *1/2
Well, that was actually a pretty good show. Only four matches, so they all obviously got a lot of time and the tag format led to some really fast paced action, specifically from the tag teams match and the women’s match. For al long as they are, they really don’t feel like it at all. The forty minutes of that tag match go by like nothing. The other matches are just fine for what they were and make no mistake, the idea of the Hogan/Andre confrontation was a huge deal. Obviously this ended up being nothing more than a tease of future matches between them which is kind of disappointing, but considering their next match drew the highest viewership for any match in the history of North American wrestling, you can’t fault the execution at all. Thumbs up for Survivor Series 1987, and make sure you get the uncut version like I have here instead of the hacked up Coliseum Video version.