What the World Was Watching: Survivor Series 1995

Howard Finkel announces Mr. Perfect, who is returning to the company after a year and a half hiatus.  Perfect comes to ringside to serve as a color commentator.

Vince McMahon, Mr. Perfect, and Jim Ross are doing commentary and they are live from Landover, Maryland.

Opening Contest:  “The Bodydonnas” (Skip, Rad Radford, the 1-2-3 Kid & Dr. Tom Prichard) (w/Sunny & Ted DiBiase) defeat “The Underdogs” (Barry Horowitz, Hakushi, Marty Jannetty & Bob Holly) when the 1-2-3 Kid was the sole survivor after pinning Jannetty following a Sid hot shot at 19:07:

Other Eliminations:  Holly pins Prichard after the Pit Stop Plunge at 5:39; Skip pins Holly after a schoolboy roll up at 5:46; Radford pins Hakushi after the Kid kicks Hakushi in the back of the head at 8:31; Horowitz pins Radford after an inside cradle at 11:47; the Kid pins Horowitz after a leg drop at 12:48; Jannetty pins Skip after a superduperpowerbomb at 15:24

There were several substitutions made for this match as Bob Holly replaced Avatar after complaining about his lack of usage and threatening to leave, so the company reportedly put him into the match to give him a pay-per-view payday.  Also, the 1-2-3 Kid replaced Jean-Pierre LaFitte who was sidelined with hernia surgery.  The Kid’s participation changes the dynamic of the match away from its presumed purpose to resolve or continue the ongoing feud between Skip and Horowitz, and this is immediately apparent when Razor Ramon rushes the ring to try to get at the Kid before the opening bell.  The Kid gets some loud boos after tagging in for the time first time and he gets a lot of shine in the match, playing a significant role in the elimination of many of the Underdogs.  Radford still has a problem meshing with the Bodydonnas, playing around too much with Horowitz, who manages to kick out of Radford’s Northern Lights suplex finisher before surprising Radford with an inside cradle to send him to the showers.  The contest is a great opener as it features some pretty wild aerial spots for the time, the most notable of which is a superduperpowerbomb that Jannetty uses to eliminate Skip in the latter stages of the match.  The Kid and Jannetty also have a great back and forth to conclude the bout, with the Kid relying on his new buddy, Sid, to prevail against his former tag team partner and end one of the better openers in Survivor Series history.  Rating:  ****

Razor Ramon is shown breaking a television backstage and destroying a table after witnessing the Kid become the sole survivor in the opening match.

Todd Pettengill interviews Jim Cornette, Mr. Fuji, Dean Douglas, Owen Hart, and Yokozuna.  Cornette says that he is not impressed with Ramon’s recent temper tantrum and tells him to get his head on straight for the wild card match later.  These sentiments are echoed by Owen and Douglas.

Bertha Faye, Aja Kong, Tomoko Watanabe & Lioness Asuka beat Alundra Blayze, Sakie Hasagawa, Kyoko Inoue & Chapparita Asari when Kong was the sole survivor after pinning Blayze after a spinning backhand punch at 9:59:

Other Eliminations:  Blayze pinned Asuka after a German suplex at 1:42; Kong pins Inoue after a side suplex at 3:54; Kong pins Asari with a second rope splash at 4:23; Kong pins Watanabe after a butt splash at 4:59; Blayze pins Watanabe after a piledriver at 6:28; Blayze pins Faye after a German suplex at 7:09

Many of the women engaged in this match were part of All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling, and according to Dave Meltzer they were flown in a day before the show and incredibly tired.  The purpose of this match was to showcase Aja Kong, who the company was planning to push against Blayze in the women’s division, if one wants to still talk about it like a credible entity after it has gone much of the year with only three women being a part of it.  And Kong does make her presence felt after getting tagged in, using her body weight like a smaller Vader, brutalizing the other women with strikes, and eliminating all of the babyfaces by herself.  The crowd responds well to the different style of wrestling they see here, with Hasegawa busting out a series of rolling double underhook suplexes and Asari using a Sky Twister press.  Sadly, the match is rushed and referee Mike Chioda has a rough time, counting to three on a couple of occasions when there was a clear kick out of a move.  That said, the match did its job in making fans want to see more of Blayze and Kong, with many fans shocked that Kong dominates Blayze and pins her cleanly, but they would not to get to see the two settle their issue as the WWF would soon release Blayze, scrap the division, and a women’s match would not appear back on a company sanctioned pay-per-view for another three years.  Rating:  **½

Pettengill interviews “Bill Clinton” who thinks Bam Bam Bigelow is part of the Flintstones.  Clinton’s Secret Service detail jumps on the President when they think Bigelow’s pyro is a bomb.

Goldust (3-0) pins Bam Bam Bigelow (19-5) after a bulldog at 8:19:

Goldust’s entrance is so long that this theme song plays twice since the company was trying to make his appearance a spectacle on the same level of the Undertaker.  This would be Bigelow’s swan song in the WWF, constituting quite the fall since his main event appearance at WrestleMania XI, and the match is laid out to make him look out of Goldust’s league, beaten pillar to post in and out of the ring by the Hollywood newcomer.  The use of the bulldog to end the match shows that Goldust was still trying to figure out of an effective finishing maneuver.  He arguably should have stuck with the bulldog as that was his best move.  Rating:  ½*

Bob Backlund comes to Clinton’s presidential box, with Clinton telling him that he should really consider declaring for the presidency in 1996.

A video package recaps the Undertaker-King Mabel feud.

“The Dark Side” (The Undertaker, Savio Vega, Henry Godwinn & Fatu) (w/Paul Bearer) beat “The Royals” (King Mabel, Jerry Lawler, Isaac Yankem & Hunter-Hearst Helmsley) (w/Sir Mo) when the Dark Side survives after the King Mabel gets counted out at 14:23:

Other Eliminations:  The Undertaker pins Lawler after a Tombstone at 12:18; the Undertaker pins Yankem after a Tombstone at 12:49; the Undertaker pins Helmsley after chokeslamming him from the apron into the ring at 13:34

When the lights come on after the Undertaker’s entrance the crowd sees that he is sporting a Phantom of the Opera-like mask to protect his face.  To counter, Mabel is sporting a new mohawk look.  Neither man is impressed with the other’s fashion choice.  And speaking of fashion, the Undertaker’s BSK fellows try to help out their leader’s merchandise sales by wearing his t-shirt for the match.  The Dark Side is definitely one of the oddest collection of men on a team in Survivor Series history, as the Undertaker had no on-screen relationship with any of his partners.  Helmsley is referred to as “Triple H” for what might be the first time in his career in this match, as Perfect screams the phrase several times to motivate the Greenwich snob to make a comeback.  The crowd is dead for much of the match since they are just waiting for the Undertaker to get tagged in and when he is, they go nuts and the Dead Man makes quick work of the Royals.  Mabel opts to fight another day and leave after the Undertaker sits up after taking a belly-to-belly suplex and splash, sadly prolonging this feud for another pay-per-view.  Rating:  **

Bret Hart says that he is not looking ahead to facing the British Bulldog at In Your House 5 and he says he worries about the punishment he is going to endure against Diesel in tonight’s main event.  WWF Champion Diesel says that the Bulldog does not concern him because he had him beat at In Your House 4.  He agrees that Bret might have the advantage if the main event lasts a long time, but he does not plan on the match going very long.

Pettengill interviews Cornette, the British Bulldog, Ted DiBiase, and Sid.  Cornette denies that he was with Owen Hart and Yokozuna earlier while DiBiase threatens Cornette with problems if he crosses he and Sid in the match.  Shawn Michaels then comes by and tells them to stop their drama.

“Wild Card Match”:  Shawn Michaels, Sid, the British Bulldog & Ahmed Johnson (w/Ted DiBiase & Jim Cornette) defeat Dean Douglas, Owen Hart, Yokozuna & Razor Ramon (w/Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji) when Michaels, the Bulldog, and Ahmed survive after Ahmed pins Yokozuna after a splash at 27:24:

Other Eliminations:  Michaels pins Douglas after a school boy rollup at 7:29; Ramon pins Sid after Sweet Chin Music at 16:18; Ahmed pins Owen after a Pearl River Plunge at 21:48; the Bulldog pins Ramon after a running powerslam at 24:07

The “wild card” concept was one of the best gimmicks that the WWF ever did as it fit the participants perfectly.  Consider:  Sid and Michaels have problems because Sid betrayed Michaels after WrestleMania XI, while Douglas and Ramon have problems from the last pay-per-view where Ramon beat Douglas for the Intercontinental title.  Not to mention, the Bulldog was part of an attack on Michaels, Diesel, and the Undertaker more than a month ago on RAW and Owen, Yokozuna, and Ramon were all involved with each other over the Intercontinental title three weeks ago.  The “will to survive” also leads to lots of fun as Ramon joins in the heelish ways of his team by beating up Ahmed in the corner, and faction buddies Owen and the Bulldog simultaneously start beating on each other when they do a handshake spot.  Another great highlight from the match is when Michaels accidentally gives Sid Sweet Chin Music when aiming for Ramon yet does not care, shrugging his shoulders after he causes Sid to get eliminated (Sid retaliates moments later with a powerbomb).  Ahmed’s big push continues here, as he eliminates Owen and slams Yokozuna for a second time, showing that the first was no fluke.  And Ramon’s feud with the Kid continues as later in the bout the Kid and Sid come to ringside, distract Ramon, and cause him to fall victim to a Bulldog running powerslam.  The larger significance of the match is that it built up Michaels determination, as he survived a Razor’s Edge, Sid powerbomb, and Yokozuna leg drop, to survive with some of his teammates, and built an angle for the following RAW.  The interaction between all of the participants made this match great and if you watch some of the 1995 shows leading up to this pay-per-view then it will make you appreciate this match even more.  Rating:  ****¼

Sunny has found her way into the presidential box, getting distracted by Sunny’s “assets.”  Clinton asks Sunny if she would consider a role in the cabinet, with Sunny saying that she would make a great “under secretary.”  If only the WWF knew how much this foreshadowed what was to come in national politics in another year…

A video package hypes the Diesel-Bret Hart WWF title match.

No Holds Barred Match for the WWF Championship:  Bret Hart (16-2-2) beats Diesel (Champion) (9-2-1) with a small package to win the title at 24:52:

McMahon sells the match as one where there has to be a winner, something that fans want to believe but are right to be skeptical, especially after the “bait and switch” of the triple header match at In Your House 3 where a guaranteed title change did not occur.  Both men live up to their promises before the match, with Diesel using his power offense against Bret in the early going and Bret countering with some leg work.  Both also make use of the stipulations, using chairs to either gain or maintain the advantage and Bret using microphone cables to immobilize Diesel for a segment of the bout.  What does not make sense within the confines of the stipulations, though, is how Diesel gets a figure-four leglock broken because he gets into the ropes.  If Bret refused to break, what recourse would the official have?  Disqualify him in a no disqualification match?  In many ways, the brutality and grit displayed here began the slow evolution to the Attitude Era-style of WWF brawls, capped by Bret flying through a table near the end of the encounter.  Diesel makes the mistake of showing some mercy to Bret instead of Jackknifing him, which at the end of the day allows the Hitman to wrap up Big Daddy Cool and capture the WWF title for the third time.  This was Diesel’s fourth straight televised loss.  The last time he won a match was the triple header tag match back in September with Shawn Michaels.  Rating:  ****½

After the bout, Diesel curses into the camera and proceeds to beat up officials and give Bret three Jackknifes, signaling a possible heel turn and forever ending the “smiling and lame” Diesel that fans have endured for much of 1995.

The Last Word:  For as bad as In Your House 4 was, this show was the complete opposite, with a hot opener, a crazy “wild card” match, and a WWF title match that shifted the company’s gears in a different direction.  All of the company’s “new” acts were put over in a big day such as Ahmed Johnson and Goldust and the 1-2-3 Kid’s heel turn was given a boost from the opener.  Sadly, a significantly smaller number of people saw this pay-per-view over the previous year, with only 128,000 people ordering it.  This showed that the company’s booking might have been changing but it had a long way to go to win back an eroding audience, especially in the face of more fierce competition from World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

Attendance:  14,500 (12,500 paid)

Buyrate:  0.57 (-0.34 over previous year; 128,00 buys)

Up Next:  Monday Night RAW for November 20, 1995!