Sunday, February 19, 2017
During this time, Survivor Series would air on Thanksgiving instead of on a Sunday or traditional Pay-Per-View night. This is a pretty historic edition of the show as it featured the debut of the Undertaker, who obviously would go on to be one of the biggest stars in wrestling history. This would also be the debut of a lesser star, the Gobbeldy Gooker. The last note would be that they came up with an idea to have all of the survivors of the Survivor Series matches meet in a big main event to close the show. This would be the fourth Survivor Series event in history.
Vince McMahon does a voiceover running down the card for tonight. I won’t say them now as some may like it as a surprise. Gorilla Monsoon and Roddy Piper are on commentary tonight.
If it wasn’t obvious already, Mr. Perfect and the Ultimate Warrior are the team captains. Animal and Smash start and they go back in forth, with Animal showing off his power. Things break down and the faces clean some hours with Mr. Perfect bumping his ass off. Warrior gets a rather hot tag and eliminates Ax at the mark. Crush helps his team turn the tide by beating up the WWF Champion. Good thing it doesn’t last long because Crush shouldn’t be getting much offense against a top star. They begin to pick apart Hawk for a bit. Hawk, never one to sell, ignores most work done and hits a flying clothesline only for the pin to be broken up. LOD and the rest of Demolition brawl and hit the referee who disqualifies Hawk, Animal, Smash and Crush at . Mr. Perfect is now left alone against the Warrior and Texas Tornado. As expected, the faces beat up Mr. Perfect, who continues to bump like a madman for them. Tornado eats a ring post and it allows Mr. Perfect to swing the momentum and pin the Tornado following the Perfectplex at . He nails it on the Warrior but only gets two. This is a perfect example of why finishers should be protected. In the event that the finishing move fails, the reaction from the crowd is great. It was a big deal for Warrior to kick out here as I believe only Hogan did so before. Perfect stays in control while the Warrior loses all of his face paint. He starts doing his variation of “Hulking Up.” He ends it with the splash to be the sole survivor.
Pretty fun opening contest. It lacked the drama that I’ve seen from other Survivor Series matches at times but most of what they did made sense. It moved along briskly and furthered the angles that it needed to.
The captains are Dusty Rhodes and Ted Dibiase. Dibiase introduced a mystery partner that turns out to be the debuting Undertaker. He comes off as incredibly imposing, especially judging by the reactions of the fans. Bret Hart starts with him in the first of many battles. He sells for Taker and then tags to Koko. Within seconds, Koko gets Tombstoned and eliminated at . Bret gives it another shot, nailing right hands and Undertaker calmly tags out. Rhythm and Blues work with the Hart Foundation for a bit here. Neidhart sends Honky Tonk Man packing with a powerslam at . The Dream Team is on fire and Dusty levels Dibiase with ten elbows before hitting one of the UGLIEST dropkicks I’ve ever seen. Virgil trips up Neidhart, allowing Dibiase to eliminate him at . Dibiase tags back out to the Undertaker. There is a presence about him that was clear even here. He nailed the mannerisms and everything. Bret works with Dibiase, making me wish we got a singles program between them. Undertaker gets rid of the captain Dusty with a flying double axe handle after . Seeing someone of his size come off the top was incredible for the era. Brother Love stomps on Dusty so he goes after him. Undertaker gives chase and attacks Dusty in the aisle, getting counted out at . Roddy Piper: “He’s big, but he’s dumb.” Inside, Greg Valentine looks for the figure four only for Bret to pull him into a small package for three at . It’s down to Bret and Dibiase. Bret nails a plancha to the outside onto Dibiase. Back inside, Bret scores two on a backslide as they go back and forth. Bret plays possum like a gangster and two more near falls. He goes for a cross body but Dibiase rolls through and steals it.
Well that was very enjoyable. You got the historic debut of the Undertaker, which was so well done, a fun back and forth between Bret Hart and Ted Dibiase and a match that moved at a really good pace. All of the eliminations made sense and the finishing stretch allowed Bret to look like the star he would become in a few years.
The main feud here is between Jake Roberts and Rick Martel as the latter blinded the former and Roberts is sporting a sick looking eye. Warlord is hyped as this monster and no sells a lot of early offense until the Rockers team up to knock him down. Different guys get turns doing some things so almost everyone gets a shot to strut their stuff. It ends up being Jannetty and Warlord again. Warlord catches him in a powerslam to get rid of him at . Shawn Michaels takes his shots and uses a rana to take him down. Roberts gets tagged and the fans immediately want the DDT but they don’t get it. Michaels is brought back in and just takes a beating but keeps kicking out. That would become a theme for the latter part of his career. He makes a mil tag to Snuka who gets pulled into an inside cradle and sent packing at . Roberts enters and Rick Martel quickly scurries away. Gorilla Monsoon does a good job in putting over how tough Roberts is for competing with the bad eye. Paul Roma uses cheap shots to get in the driver’s seat but Michaels gets tagged and comes in hot. Of course he’s not a powerhouse babyface so he just ends up back in trouble as the four heels use quick tags to wear him down. Power and Glory use a superplex and splash combination to eliminate him after . Jake Roberts is now down 4-1. Roberts calls them on and fights valiantly, hitting the DDT on Warlord. The referee is too distracted to see this though and Martel tries to spray him with Arrogance again. Roberts avoids it and gets Damien. He chases Martel away and gets counted out to get swept.
A surprising sweep here. It made sense though as the heel team was a mix of cowardly and powerful heels, while the faces consisted of a team that was mostly good at playing the faces in peril. Also notable because this was the first ever sweep in Survivor Series history.
Gee, I wonder who is going to survive this match. Early on, multiple guys get their stuff in, which is expected. Hulk Hogan and Earthquake don’t get involved quite yet though. From out of nowhere, Bossman and his ripped open shirt hit Haku with a Bossman Slam and he’s gone at . Bossman goes after Heenan, which allows the Barbarian to take him down. Earthquake finally comes in and Jim Duggan gets tricked by the managers because he’s dumb. He whacks Earthquake with the 2x4 and is disqualified at . Hogan enters and does Hogan things, including slamming the 976 pound Earthquake in front of the 40,000 fans in attendance. He then rolls up Dino Bravo with a small package to send him packing at . Earthquake catches Bossman on a cross body which is honestly impressive for a guy that isn’t really known for strength. He starts to dominate Bossman and pins him after some elbow drops at . The eliminations come fast and furious here. Monsoon claims Hogan is left alone, forgetting about Tugboat, though I can’t say I blame him. The future Natural Disasters go at it, giving Monsoon the opening to bust out his favorite saying, “THE IRRESISTIBLE FORCE MEETS THE IMMOVABLE OBJECTS!” They fall outside and both get counted out at the mark. This leads the Barbarian alone with Hogan. Talk about an obvious outcome. Barbarian actually scores a few near falls, which blows my mind. He’s Hogan though and he starts to hulk up. That is finished off by the big leg drop.
Typical stuff from a match involving Hulk Hogan. Even so, it moved at a quicker pace than I expected considering the guys involved. I was sad to see Haku go out so early which was probably my biggest issue with this.
We now go to Mean Gene Okerlund who brings out the Macho King. He runs down the Ultimate Warrior as they were headed towards a WrestleMania Retirement match. He just says that when the time is right, he’ll be the next WWF Champion.
The Alliance come out to the future music used for Lex Luger. The Mercenaries are wearing camo face paint. Slaughter cuts a long winded anti-American promo before the match while his awful drumroll theme plays. Boris starts with Tito and goes down to the flying forearm in . Good, get this over with quickly. The Bushwhackers come in and work over Sato, defeating him with the Battering Ram after just . Tanaka goes next almost instantly following a flying forearm in . Yup, in just over two minutes, Sgt. Slaughter is left alone. He fights with Volkoff and none of it is interesting or impressive. Slaughter sends him packing at with an elbow. The captain just jobbed to a normal elbow drop. The Bushwhackers double team Slaughter a bit. You know, for being a heel with such a hot button issue fueling the character, this match has next to no heat. Luke and Butch don’t stay in control for long, as both get sent packing with a gutbuster and clothesline at and , respectively. This leaves Santana alone with Slaughter. Tito has the upper hand and hits the flying forearm. Adnan come sin after a ref bump and whacks Tito with the Iraqi flag. The only problem is, there is a second referee outside that sees all of this. Slaughter applies the camel clutch and the original referee calls for the DQ, even though he didn’t see the finish.
A really boring match with a really stupid finish. I got the idea behind it but it was poorly executed. The action was pretty bad too as nobody in this match outside of Tito is really anyone I’d consider interesting. Just an all-around dull showing.
Cut to Mean Gene again for the reveal of what’s inside the giant egg. It finally hatches and the infamous Gobbeldy Gooker pops out. Roddy Piper laughs and the crowd is absolutely silent. Even though he’s just gobbling, Mean Gene can somehow understand him. They go to the ring and dance, but the only highlight is Mean Gene tripping.
During the pre-match interview, Hulk Hogan calls Tito Santana the “Arriba Man”. After spending the earlier match showing how dominant and powerful the Warlord could be, he jobs in to Tito’s flying forearm here. Dibiase comes in and works over Tito just before pinning him with a hotshot at . I have a feeling the eliminations will come rather quickly here. Hogan pounds on Dibiase and works together with the Warrior. Hercules pounds on Hogan for a bit as it looks like he’ll be playing the face in peril. He’s Hogan of course, so he pops out of a pin attempt and clotheslines Paul Roma to beat him at . Martel runs in and the tag comes to Warrior. He comes in hot but then tags back out to Hogan. Hogan nearly kills Martel on a clothesline. Martel gets pissed that he was hit in the face and walks out to the countout at . That was dumb because Hogan had a chance to hit the leg drop but just threw Martel out. It’s as if he knew he would quit. Dibiase come sin and eats the big boot/leg drop combo to be sent home at . That dude has a title shot the following night but Hogan ended him. Warrior gets the tag and puts away Hercules with ease.
Surprisingly short but I guess it made sense since everyone had worked a match earlier. The match itself was nothing to write home about as it went by quickly and was just a showcase for Hogan and Warrior as expected.
Overall: The first half of this show varied from pretty good to really good. Unfortunately the final three matches lack, especially the last two, along with the Gooker segment. Still, as with most old school Survivor Series events, it’s rather fun and a relatively easy watch. I’d recommend this show, mainly for the Undertaker debut and that match itself. Up next on will be !