Saturday, July 19, 2014

Random Network Reviews: Survivor Series 1995

Survivor Series 1995
November 19th, 1995 – USAir Arena in Landover, Maryland

1995 is generally considered one of the worst years in WWE history. From the underwhelming WrestleMania XI to the awful King of the Ring to the In Your House Pay-Per-View additions, which were hit or miss. Diesel reigned as WWF Champion throughout all of 1995 heading into this show. I'm a sucker for Survivor Series elimination matches and prefer when the Survivor Series Pay-Per-View has some of those. This one does and I felt like the WWF was just starting to turn a corner towards what would be a solid 1996 and an amazing 1997. That's getting a bit too far ahead of though, so let's focus on this show. 

Talk about starting a show in a positive way for me! Mr. Perfect is introduced and he enters to his perfect theme, wearing a perfect suit. I guess he's on commentary but it's not said. Opening video package highlights the history between Bret Hart and Diesel. They had a good match at King of the Ring 1994 that Bret won and one at Royal Rumble 1995 where Diesel retained but there was a bunch of interference. Tonight's main event is no countout/no disqualification. 

The Bodydonnas (Skip, Rad Radford, Tom Prichard & 1-2-3 Kid) w/ Ted Dibiase & Sunny vs. The Underdogs (Marty Jannetty, Hakushi, Barry Horowitz & Bob Holly)
Marty and the team come out to the Rockers theme. Hakushi looks incredibly out of place. Sunny looks hot, but not as hot as she would be in 96-97. She introduces the team which includes LOUIE SPICOLI! Razor Ramon appears and wants his hands on the Kid. Kid was referee during a Razor/Sid match on Raw where Kid did the quickest fast count ever. Marty and Dr. Tom Prichard start with Marty gaining the upper hand. The crowd is surprisingly hot for this. Marty's offense still screams 1980's. Rad Radford is in now and in comes Holly. Holly hits a hurricanrana that Mr. Perfect appreciates, but admits is not perfect. Holly hits a sweet dropkick, slam and arm drag. Hakushi is tagged and he gets a big pop, and rightfully so. He eats a nicely executed spinebuster though before tagging in Sean Waltman who gets booed hard. He hits a frog splash for two. Shortly after, Skip and Holly are legal, and do about 15 leap frogs. Prichard misses an ugly moonsault and Holly climbs to the top. Cross body knocks off Prichard at 5:40. Skip runs in and rolls up Holly to eliminate him at 5:46

Hakushi comes in and stops Skip's celebration. Skip gains control and hits a top rope hurricanrana. He celebrates for a moment and then collapses. The crowd is actually chanting “Barry!” Kid gets the tag and he and Hakushi do the best work of the match. Hakushi misses a springboard splash and Kid kicks him in the head. Radford comes in and pins by pulling the tights at 8:32. Barry enters and gets double teamed. They keep calling Barry a kid but I'm pretty sure that he's in his mid-30s here. Kid kicks him in the corner before tagging in Radford. Radford pounds away on Barry and could've gotten the three, but Skip tells him not to for some reason. Radford earns serious points with me when hits a Northern lights suplex. He starts to do jumping jacks and push ups, allowing Barry to roll him up at 11:49

Skip gets the tag and the EPIC showdown between Barry and Skip is on! Barry hits a running knee, but Skip gets a blind tag from Kid who comes in, hits a running knee of his own and leg drops Barry. He gets a 1-2-3 with that at 12:47. Marty enters and does alright work with Skip. Jim Ross makes a Redskins joke but I don't get it because it's not 1995. Marty climbs to the top but Sunny shakes the ropes. Skip climbs up with him but Marty hits the BLONDE BOMBSHELL! Top rope powerbomb for those who didn't watch Chris Candido in ECW and that is more than enough to get rid of Skip at 15:25. Kid enters to massive heat and gets a near fall with a top rope leg drop. Kid climbs back up and misses a front flip. Marty is on the offensive as Sid appears to distract him. He snaps Marty's neck on the top rope, allowing Kid to win at 18:35.

Winners: The Bodydonnas; Sole Survivor: 1-2-3 KidGood opener although both teams were pretty much all jobbers except for the 1-2-3 Kid. It was painfully obvious who would survive, but it was fun getting there as everyone worked hard. ***

Razor Ramon is shown freaking out backstage because the 1-2-3 Kid won. He is throwing and breaking expensive televisions dammit!

Todd Pettengill is standing by with Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Jim Cornette, Mr. Fuji and Dean Douglas. Cornette calls Razor Ramon crazy and they all tell him to get serious and focus on their match tonight and not the 1-2-3 Kid. See, there's a Wild Card match later with heels and faces mixed together on teams.

Dok Hendrix pushes the Survivor Series 1995 shirt. 

Alundra Blayze, Kyoko Inoue, Sakie Hasegawa & Chaparita Asari vs. Bertha Faye, Aja Kong, Tomoko Wantanabe & Lioness Asuka w/ Harvey Wippleman
I'm a fan of women's wrestling, but I swear I only know of three girls in this match. Asuka and Asari start and one of them hits a big Cesaro Swing. Blayze is in and she was a three time Women's Champion here. She tags Asari back in who does an insane corkscrew move off the top for two. German suplex from Blayze eliminates Asari at 1:42. Hasegawa enters and hits rolling butterflies, which is crazy to think about. She hits like five in a row! Wantanabe hits a big move off the top and gets a near fall. They don't even bother tagging. Aja Kong enters and kicks Hasegawa in the gut before hitting a backdrop driver to eliminate her at 3:57.

Asari is back in, but is no match for Kong. She eats a big second rope splash and is gone after 4:25. Inoue is in and is called one of the top stars in Japan. She works over Kong, who reverses a sunset flip and sits on her for three at 5:02. Blayze is all alone and I just sense a heroic comeback. Blayze starts it with a piledriver on Wantanabe that knocks her out at 6:31.

Big Bertha Faye enters and does some weird looking leg work. Kong enters and they try to squash Blayze but bump into each other, allowing Blayze to pin Bertha at 7:12. Kong and Blayze are left alone and get their spots mixed up, which causes some awkwardness. Blayze hits a standing moonsault but gets two. Kong gets back in the driver's seat and hits the back fist to win at10:01.

Winners: Bertha Faye, Aja Kong, Tomoko Wantanabe & Lioness Asuka; Sole Survivor: Aja KongMuch better than I expected as this might've been the most exciting women's match in the mid 90s. Blayze would leave to WCW and throw the title in the garbage shortly after. **3/4

I don't understand what the WWE was trying to accomplish with the fake Bill Clinton who was in the crowd. Stupid.

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Goldust
I always thought that the “Beast from the East” was a badass nickname. This is the PPV debut of Goldust. Goldust takes so long with his entrance that his theme starts over. Goldust starts on the offensive and his attire is awful, thank goodness he changed it. Bam Bam busts out a dropkick that doesn't look as impressive as it did in the early 90's. Goldust clotheslines Bigelow to the outside and taunts. Goldust continues to be in control as he applies the DREADED FRONT FACE LOCK! He throws Bigelow outside again and it's a little upsetting that I can clearly see Goldust's junk in this attire. Bigelow hits a belly to back suplex, but misses a headbutt. Goldust applies another rest hold. Goldie hits a clothesline and drops a knee before applying a third rest hold. Bigelow powers out and gets some momentum with clotheslines and splashes but eats a bulldog right after to end this in 8:18.

Winner: GoldustGoldust was able to really draw heat early on but this was boring. Too many rest holds to enjoy. *1/2

More from the ridiculous fake Bill Clinton and he's with Bob Backlund now. He wants to be called Mr. Backlund by the President. Again, this was stupid. We then see a recap of Mabel beating The Undertaker at the awful King of the Ring 1995 Pay-Per-View. Yes, that actually happened. He also broke Undertaker's face with a leg drop and tonight is his return. 

The Darkside (The Undertaker, Savio Vega, Fatu & Henry Godwin) w/ Paul Bearer vs. The Royals (King Mabel, Jerry Lawler, Isaac Yankem & Hunter Hearst-Hemlsey) w/ Sir Mo
So, this is the night the Undertaker teamed with three lower mid-carders. Also, he debuted his badass mask here. Mabel's hair looks absurd. HHH and Fatu start and the whole face team is wearing Undertaker shirts. To think, in 2000 these two met in a 6 way Hell in a Cell. HHH goes for a Pedigree but gets scared of the Undertaker's face. Godwin gets tagged so HHH scurries to tag Lawler, who tags the future Kane. Who, in 1995, would think that there are four, possibly five future Hall of Famers (HHH, Taker, Lawler, Kane & possibly Rikishi) involved. HHH comes in after Yankem does the dirty work. Godwin works him over until Vega and Lawler enter. We get more boring offense between them and Yankem/Fatu. Mabel enters and Vince acts like this is supposed to be impressive. Old fashioned heel tactics allow them to work over Savio. Lawler spikes Savio with a piledriver, but showboats and only gets two. Lawler hits a second, but Savio pops up and tags Undertaker. Lawler is scared to death and nobody wants to tag in. Tombstone and Lawler is eliminated. Yankem enters and Undertaker Tombstones him as well to knock him off. HHH enters, in a preview of their three WrestleMania matches. He eats a chokeslam and also gets trounced. Mabel comes in and slams Taker before hitting a leg drop. He taunts like an idiot, Sir Mo jumps in and takes a beating as Mabel runs away and gets counted out at the 14:21 mark.

Winner: The Darkside; Survivors: The Undertaker, Savio Vega, Fatu & Henry GodwinIf the plan was for Undertaker to clean house, couldn't it have happened earlier? Instead we got the heels utilizing boring offense to dominate until then. Went too long. *1/2

The next Pay-Per-View is promoted, and the British Bulldog will face the winner of the WWF Championship match tonight. Bret Hart cuts a promo saying that Diesel can't compete with him. Diesel cuts one too saying that if the match goes 20 minutes, he might be at a disadvantage so he wants to end it quickly. Todd Pettengill interviews Sid and the Bulldog before the Wild Card match and Jim Cornette acts like he wasn't hanging with the other side earlier. 

Wild Card Match
Team Michaels (Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, British Bulldog & Sycho Sid) w/ Ted Dibiase & Jim Cornette vs. Team Yokozuna (Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Dean Douglas & Razor Ramon)w/ Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette

The Wild Card concept makes for a very cool dynamic like having Sid team with HBK months after giving him three powerbombs. Shawn and Owen start off, which should be great. They start with good wrestling and HBK skins the cats before bringing Owen outside. Cornette goes to hit him with the racket but HBK ducks and hits him in the butt with it. Owen snaps off a brilliant belly to belly before tagging the Franchise Dean Douglas. He hits a suplex before Michaels hits a flying forearm. Perfect says that he doesn't believe Shawn was hurt when he forfeit the IC Title to Dean and McMahon debunks that, but Perfect was right on the money actually from what I've heard. Moonsault from Michaels gets a near fall. Ahmed gets the tag and takes out everyone before trying to slam Yokozuna and failing. The heels work over the man from Pearl River for a bit. Razor even gets in on the action. Michaels gets the tag and Dean avoids Sweet Chin Music. Razor tells him to get back in and they have words. Razor levels Dean and Shawn rolls him up at 7:31.

Owen and the Bulldog tag in and both try to trick each other by double crossing one another. They have a fun little back and forth until Razor and Shawn get tagged. THE KLIQ EXPLODES! They do a sequence of moves that ends when Shawn takes the Razor's Edge. He doesn't get pinned though as Ahmed saves it. Sid comes in and beats down on the IC Champ. Double clothesline before Sid climbs to the top. Razor tosses him off for a near fall. Sid chokeslams him and tags Shawn. He wants Shawn to kick Razor, but Shawn is reluctant. He does it and Razor moves, so Shawn hits Sid by mistake. Shawn shrugs and doesn't care so Razor covers. Bulldog runs in and saves the move, but then leaves as Razor covers again and eliminates Sid at16:22. Weird spot. Sid is mad so he powerbombs Shawn and Bulldog slams Razor so both guys are down. Owen gets the tag and has a fun exchange with Michaels but Yokozuna gets tagged and slows things to a crawl. Shawn fights out and tags Ahmed, while Owen enters and takes a Pearl River Plunge at 20:49.

Razor comes in instantly and hits a bulldog. Razor connects with the Razor's Edge again, but Bulldog stops him from pinning. There was no tag and Tim White just lets it go. Sid and the 1-2-3 Kid come down the aisle to distract Razor. This allows Bulldog hit the Powerslam and get rid of Razor at 22:09. Yokozuna is now down 3-1, but comes close to equaling the three in pounds. He beats down on Michaels and sets up for the Banzai Drop but Shawn moves. Quick, cover! It's how Bret Hart won the WWF Title. Ahmed comes in and slams Yokozuna but Bulldog foolishly breaks up the cover. He gets taken out by Ahmed and HBK before Sweet Chin Music takes out Yokozuna and ends it at 27:26.

Winners: Team Michaels; Survivors: Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson & British BulldogFun dynamic and there was almost never a dull moment. I had a lot of fun watching this. Bulldog celebrates with his team even though they just beat him up. Funny stuff. ***1/2

Back to fake Bill Clinton who has Sunny on his lap. He does a lot of perverted things with her and this is getting worse by the moment. 

WWF Championship
Diesel (c) vs. Bret Hart

Their first two matches from King of the Ring '94 and Royal Rumble '95 are both really good. Both men decide to be badass and removing the turnbuckle padding on opposite corners. Being seven feet tall, Diesel beats on Bret at the beginning. Bret goes outside to regroup but Diesel follows. Bret gets dropped chest first on the guardrail before getting rolled back inside. Bret starts targeting the knee but Diesel just pulverizing him down. Back on the outside, Diesel gets a steel chair and uses it. Back inside, Diesel calls for the Jacknife as he plans to end it quickly. Bret manages to creatively block it by grabbing Diesel's leg. Bret bites Diesel and the crowd is for it surprisingly. Bret starts to focus on the legs because he is a wise technician. The Hitman busts out the figure four, which he used three times at the Rumble, but Diesel is too big to keep away from the ropes for long. He does it again here and pushes off a Sharpshooter attempt that sends Bret into the exposed buckle. He can't take advantage because his leg is damaged so Bret goes outside and gets a rope that he ties around the post. He goes inside and ties Diesel's foot to the corner. Bret gets a steel chair and viciously uses it on Diesel and his leg. This is like, a look into 1997 heel Bret and I love it. He bites off more than he can chew by climbing to the top and Diesel slams him off. The Champion gets untied and chokes Bret with the cord. Sidewalk slam keeps both men down for a few. Diesel hits a spot on the ropes and snake eyes. Bret reverses a second Snake Eyes and sends Diesel into the exposed buckle. He gets near falls with a clothesline, bulldog and Russian leg sweep. Clothesline sends Diesel outside and Bret misses a pescado to follow. When Bret tries to get back in, Diesel knocks him off the apron and through the announce table. This had to be one of the first announce table spots as the crowd is like “WHOA WHAT?” Diesel signals for the Jacknife again and Bret can't even stand. OR SO IT SEEMS! Bret was playing possum and pulls Diesel into a small package that ends things at 24:56.

Winner and New WWF Champion: Bret HartMan that was awesome. The best of their trilogy, both men were vicious and brutal. My favorite match from 1995. ****1/4

Diesel is not pleased as he hits Bret with the Jacknife after the match and beats on some referees.

Overall: 7.5/10; Very good. A rough 1995 highlighted by this show. Probably the best show of the year. We got a good start with the Survivor Series match and the women's match before a dull middle. However, things end with a bang as the final two matches are really good, especially the main event. Next on “Random Network Reviews” is WCW Souled Out 2000.

Smackdown Report

We've had two or three Smackdowns in a row that were impressive shows, so hopefully the last one before Battleground is good as well. Let's see. Dean Ambrose came to the ring to open the show, talking about getting taken out on Monday by the Authority. He once again asks "if that's all the Authority's got." He calls out Seth Rollins, who claims to not be medically cleared and instead we are going to get Ambrose/Kane again. Basically, Dean Ambrose can rock the microphone better than a good 95% of the current roster. I'm looking forward to Ambrose/Rollins more than any other Battleground match.

More Intercontinental Title Battle Royal mashups followed as Dolph "Mr. Steal Your Girl" Ziggler teamed with the United States Champion Sheamus to take on The Miz and Fandango. Miz's new Hollywood entrance is something I like, but he needs to drop the "Awesome" from it. It doesn't fit. His new video has clips of him on various shows like Lopez Tonight. We were treated to a good match that spanned a commercial break before Ziggler and Sheamus pulled out the win with a Zig Zag on Miz.

The Nikki Bella vs. the World storyline continues as she is a smoking special referee for a match between Alicia Fox and Eva Marie. This goes exactly as you would expect. The girls turn this into a Bella beat down because Brie took her ball and went home with it. There's also a report that the Alicia Fox tantrum character has been dropped, which I don't mind, it was irritating, but it did give her personality. Also, if this angle leads to Brie beating Stephanie, then how does Nikki get her revenge? Also, Eva Marie looks awful in everything that she does.

Goldust and Stardust had another odd backstage promo. I'm not sure what all of them mean because they like to talk in riddles, but Cody Rhodes has the mannerisms perfectly down. It's like, he watched enough of his brother growing up to be able to mimic him perfectly.

Chris Jericho met Luke Harper one on one for the very first time in a match that I was greatly looking forward to. Luke Harper happens to be my favorite in ring worker of the Wyatt Family and Jericho is, well, Jericho. The match was as good as I hoped for and Jericho managed to eke out a win. The rest of the Wyatt Family got involved after, but The Usos arrived to even the odds. Both of these matches should be awesome at Battleground and I'd love to see a Six Man Tag between these guys leading into SummerSlam.

Next, we were joined by the Real Americans, Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter. They discussed Monday's "Detente" and I must say that Swagger's shirt with the outline of his right hand covering his heart is excellent. After a hearty "WE THE PEOPLE", Rusev and Lana interrupt. They just say that Swagger will get crushed at Battleground and the fans chant "USA!" to end the segment. After some really fun interactions, this was a let down. So instead, here's a picture of Lana from her "Summer Vacation" photoshoot. 

It sucks how irrelevant Alberto Del Rio has become. I was never a fan of his mic work at all, but the man can flat out go in the ring. I think he would make a good Intercontinental Champion. He could go on with the "Best International Superstar" in WWE history. We also get a rundown of who's in the Battle Royal and the rumors were correct, Adam Rose and Damian Sandow were removed. Boo. Anyway, Kofi Kingston is his opponent. We get the usual solid, but uninspired contest between the two and Del Rio picks up the win.

Fandango tries to get back Summer Rae and Layla but it fails. They even make fun of the man's dancing. Never fear, Bo Dallas is here! He is hilarious telling Fandango that with his fancy pants, he can get another girl in no time. In an HLA dream match, Summer Rae teams with her kissing partner, Layla to take on AJ Lee and Paige. The "Frenemies" angle is interesting for sure. Paige and AJ win after AJ tags herself in. Paige is not happy but in the end, they share a hug that I'd love to be a part of. Seriously, this Battleground card is really good. Of the eight matches, I'm looking forward to at least six. That's impressive for a Pay-per-View that's kind of a throwaway. Side note, when girls tap out to the Black Widow on AJ's rear end, it's delightful.

Main event time as Dean Ambrose looks for some revenge on Kane for costing him the Money in the Bank briefcase at the beginning of the month. Again, it was a solid but unspectacular match. Once Ambrose seemed poised for the win, Seth Rollins had to make himself known as he and Kane handled things and left Ambrose lying. I think it's telling how Smackdown can have two hours and have pretty much no build for the Battleground main event. But, Ambrose and Rollins were the focal point of the show, which is not a bad thing. Decent episode, but nothing special. However, it was entertaining and built towards the PPV which is all you can ask for sometimes.

Until next time, follow me on Twitter @the_kevstaa