The SmarK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 1988–11.24.88

The SmarK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 88 – 11.24.88

(Originally written 11.14.19)

My original version of the show came from the clipped Coliseum Video version, and the rant kind of sucked, so here’s a fresh take on the seasonally appropriate show that I haven’t watched in 20 years.

Live from Richfield, OH, drawing 13,500 and a 2.8 buyrate. That’s down pretty heavily from 1987 in both areas.

Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura

Ultimate Warrior, Brutus Beefcake, Blue Blazer, Sam Houston & Jim Brunzell v. Honky Tonk Man, Danny Davis, Greg Valentine, Ron Bass & Bad News Brown

Here’s a major reason why this show is 2 hours 33 minutes and today they’re at 4 hours and change: We get the music of the team captain, and otherwise everyone just comes out at the same time and we’re underway two minutes into the runtime of the show! Hammer slugs it out with Beefcake to start and Gorilla immediately mentions that Valentine shouldn’t start in his match, because it takes 20 minutes for him to warm up. Where’s my drink? Davis comes in and attacks Beefcake, but the sleeper puts his lights out at 1:20. Back to Valentine, who hits Beefcake with elbows and works on the leg, but Brutus escapes the figure-four and it’s over to the mysterious Blue Blazer. Blazer takes Hammer down with a flying headscissors and Jumpin’ Jim comes in and dodges an elbow to get two on Valentine. He doesn’t even have his Killer Bee gear on! What a geek. Bad News comes in and beats on Brunzell in the corner, then drops a fist on him and pounds away. Brunzell misses a blind charge and the GHETTO BLASTER sends Jim jumpin’ back to the dressing room at 5:20. Sam Houston is up next and I’m not liking his chances. Brown beats the hell out of him and drops a leg for two. Clothesline out of the corner and Valentine clubs him down, but then he accidentally hits Bad News, and that ends the foray into tag team wrestling for Bad News Brown, as he is in no mood to take this crap and walks out of the match at 7:45. Houston rolls up Valentine in the chaos and gets two, but tries a sunset flip and gets slugged down. Ron Bass comes in for the first time and Houston rolls him up for two and slugs away, but charges and hits cowboy boot and Bass clotheslines him for two. Facebuster gets two. Houston keeps coming with a crossbody out of the corner for two, but Bass puts him down with another clothesline for two. Houston fights back and still won’t make a tag, but Bass powerslams him out of the corner for the pin at 10:12. So finally Warrior gets to come in and he wrecks the heels, hitting Honky with the shoulderblock and then launching Blazer onto Bass with a flying splash for two. Blazer with a crossbody on Honky for two, but Honk cuts him off with a knee to the gut. Honky wisely tags out to Valentine, so Blazer hits Hammer with a gut wrench for two and a powerslam to set up another flying splash. But Honky pushes Blazer over, and the figure-four ends his night at 12:18. Hammer beats on Beefcake with elbows and Bass puts him down with a knee to the gut and drops a headbutt for two. Honky goes to work while Warrior paces the apron like a madman, looking like he drank 14 Red Bulls before the match. Beefcake escapes the Shake Rattle and Roll, but Bass cuts him off again and drops him on the top rope for two. Honky goes up and Beefcake nails him on the way down and makes the comeback with an atomic drop and sleeper on Honky. But Honky bails to the floor to escape and Beefcake follows like a moron for the double-countout at 15:45. So this leaves Warrior alone with Bass and Valentine and they go work on him, but Warrior no-sells Hammer’s stuff until getting run into Bass’s boot in the corner. Warrior comes back and clotheslines both guys and hits Bass with a double sledge for the pin at 17:28. That leaves Hammer one-on-one with him, and another sledge finishes at 17:50.

Survivor: Ultimate Warrior.

Warrior managed to get blown up STANDING ON THE APRON, but this was an insanely entertaining match and was literally all action. Really great opener. ***3/4

Demolition, The Brain Busters, The Conquistadors, The Bolsheviks & The Rougeau Brothers v. The Powers of Pain, The Hart Foundation, The British Bulldogs, the Rockers & The Young Stallions

Holy crap, switch out the Conquistadors for the Islanders and this is 80s tag team wrestling nirvana. Also, the Powers of Pain had TERRIBLE music for supposed top babyfaces. This match is of course famous for a few reasons, which we’ll get into. Davey slams a Conquistador to start, but Jacques comes in and attacks from behind, so Davey press slams him onto Raymond. Boris beats on Shawn Michaels, but he comes back with a hiptoss and the Rockers showcase some double-teams on Zukhov. Ax beats on Marty, but he comes back on Arn with a backdrop. Over to Tully, so Marty gives him an atomic drop and Tully gets pinballed by the babyfaces in their corner. Jacques comes in and misses a bodypress, and Dynamite Kid comes in with a snap suplex during a very tense time in their relationship and that gets two. Both guys tag out but Kid wants back in with Raymond this time, and gets a sunset flip for two. Jim Powers hits Boris with a dropkick, but Jacques gets his own dropkick on Powers for two. Bret Hart comes in to a big reaction, but Jacques hits him with a back elbow for two. Bret gets a small package on Raymond for the pin at 5:35, however. So at that point the Rougeaus get the FUCK out of the city because Kid was literally threatening to kill them after the match for a rib gone very wrong. And then you’ll notice that Pat Patterson made sure to book the match so that the Bulldogs were in the ring for a long time afterwards, to give them plenty of escape time.

Roma comes in with a high cross on Nikolai for two, and then Barbarian slugs it out with Smash and then hits a Conquistador with a big boot. Warlord and Bret double-team him, but he manages to tag Smash in again and Demolition go to work on Bret. Over to Shawn and he gets double-teamed as well, and then the heels trap him in the corner and everyone gets their shots in. They should all be wearing Marine uniforms. But there’s not 14 of them so it’s not quite up to the levels of the story. AA comes in with the spinebuster for two, and a Conquistador gets a slam for two, but Shawn manages to escape and it’s over to Marty again. Marty with a slam for two, but Volkoff tags in again and throws Marty into the corner so he can tag out to Roma. Odd strategy there. Bulldog comes in with a powerslam on Volkoff for two, but Tully drops elbows on him until one of them misses. Warlord throws a Conquistador around and then we get the showdown with Ax as they slug it out and then Demolition double-teams Warlord. Barbarian gets a high kick on Smash as we need a drinking game for every time Gorilla says “bread basket” tonight. Barbarian drops Tully on the top rope and Anvil follows with a powerslam for two, but Tully throws Dynamite out of the ring to take over. Back in, the heels beat on Kid, but Boris misses a knee and Powers gets a hot tag. Jim gets a crossbody, but Boris rolls through for the pin at 15:45.

Shawn comes in and drops a fist on Boris for two, and Barbarian adds a shoulderblock. So Tully tags in, and then struts over and tags in Nikolai in one motion. And this draws MEGA heat. And then once the heels get the advantage, Tully is happy to help again with some cheapshots from the apron, and Ax comes in and beats Barbarian down. Shawn comes in and hits Boris in the gut, and Marty flips in with a sunset flip for the pin at 18:25. Marty gets worked over in the heel corner and Smash beats him down, but Arn puts his head down and Marty rams him into the mat and brings Davey Boy in. So Tully tags in for real this time and whips Davey into the turnbuckles for a flip bump to injure the back. The heels take turns beating on Davey in the corner, but he escapes and it’s over to the Hart Foundation, who double team a Conquistador with the middle rope elbow for two. Shawn adds a dropkick for two and the Conquistador crawls to the wrong corner looking for a tag. So Dynamite gives him the snap suplex and flying kneedrop for two, and a backbreaker for two. Jesse is very impressed with the resilience of the Conquistador. Barbarian with a powerslam, but the Conquistador falls back in his own corner and Tully comes in again. Demolition double-teams him and Smash goes to a neck vice, which Barbarian powers out of. The heels continue double-teaming Barbarian in various combinations, but Arn gets caught with a boot and Marty comes in with a back elbow. Anvil then puts his own head down and gets caught, and Tully gets two. Bret saves and hits Tully with the backbreaker and inverted atomic drop before slugging away in the corner and getting a german suplex in the corner for the pin. BUT WAIT. Tully got his shoulder up, so the Hart Foundation is gone at 27:00. Dynamite gives Tully a tombstone piledriver while Bret argues with the refs and that gets two, and then the Rockers and Brainbusters are BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA and both teams are DQ’d at 28:44, and continue fighting up the entranceway and back to the dressing room.

So Smash does another neck vice on Dynamite and the remaining heels go to work on him, but a Conquistador misses a senton and Warlord comes in to beat on him. Bulldog with the delayed suplex on the Conquistador for two, and a crucifix pin on Ax for two. Ax beats him down again and Smash comes in, but he gets caught in the babyface corner and double-teamed. Kid brings in Davey again and it’s powerslam city for the Conquistador, but he elects not to make the pin yet and allows him to bring Ax in again. The heels turn it around on Barbarian and take turns beating on him in their corner, but Barbarian fights back on a Conquistador and it’s back to Davey with a double elbow for two. Dynamite with a gut wrench for two and a headbutt for two, but they still can’t put the Conquistadors away. The faces keep letting him get up after big moves, so he tags out to Smash, who beats on Kid as this is clearly getting stretched out way beyond the natural peak. Kid gets the snap suplex and goes up with the diving headbutt, but that misses and Smash clotheslines him for the pin at 36:18, which I believe is the historic first ever Pin Via Clothesline at the Survivor Series! So this leaves the Powers alone against Demolition and the Conquistadors, and Warlord charges and hits the post, allowing Ax to beat him down and work on the shoulder. But then Fuj the Stooge gets involved and yells at his team from the apron, probably missing his cue, and the heels continue working on Warlord. Ax with an armbar and then Fuji jumps up again, now hitting his proper cue this time, but Warlord fights out and then Fuji “accidentally” pulls the rope down and Smash bumps to the floor and gets counted out at 39:47. So the Demos thus decide to end their business relationship with Fuji by slamming him on the floor, turning babyface in the process and becoming even bigger stars. So the Powers pick him up and dust him off, adopting him as their new manager, before finishing off the Conquistadors to win the match at 42:21.

Survivors: The Powers of Pain

And the crowd still cheers the Powers despite their heel turn! So Demolition runs out and cleans house and the crowd boos that. So this wasn’t exactly a runaway smash (pardon the pun) as a double turn out of the gates. Also, I know this match is something of a sacred cow, but it was REALLY slow by the time it got down to four teams, with the booking being stretched out artificially to keep the Bulldogs from murdering the Rougeaus. And as noted, the big double turn didn’t really take right away here. *** Overall, the 87 original was leagues better.

Meanwhile, Bad News Brown stops by for a chat with Sean Mooney, and he smelt a CONSPIRACY, and so he got out of there because Survivor Series means nothing to him and he only wants a shot at Randy Savage’s WWF title. He’s been calling Jack Tunney and sending letters, but no one’s answering him! Maybe he should go on Twitter and renounce his “slave name” to get their attention. I hear that’s pretty effective.

Meanwhile, Mr. Fuji explains that Demolition wouldn’t listen to his managerial advice, but the Powers of Pain WILL, so that’s why he turned on them. Well that sure didn’t work out well for anyone on the heel side. Fuji should have stuck with his original team.

Meanwhile, the Bobby Heenan team is pretty confident about their chances against Jake Roberts and his team of midcarders. I can’t blame them. Once you put Scott Casey on your team, you’re already giving up.

Meanwhile, the Megapowers and their Mega-Dead Weight partners do their promo for the main event. Really, they put Koko B. Ware AND Hillbilly Jim in the main event and it didn’t draw? SHOCKING! Hulk claims that there’s no weak links in their chain, but I’m looking at three of them on my TV screen. Four if you count the bird.

Jake Roberts, Jim Duggan, Scott Casey, Tito Santana & Ken Patera v. Dino Bravo, Andre the Giant, Harley Race, Ravishing Rick Rude & Mr. Perfect

Casey was obviously subbing for someone but I can’t recall offhand who it was. Haven’t watched this show in two decades and I’m betting on Patera missing a blind charge and getting pinned by Dino Bravo with a sideslam at some point. Babyfaces have won both matches thus far so this is a pretty clear slam dunk for the heels. Race was in such a weird place on the card, having “lost” his crown due to injury and now just kind of floating in the undercard aimlessly. Meanwhile, Mr. Perfect is still wearing the short black trunks from the AWA and it’s weirding me out. Patera starts with Rude and overpowers him, but he gets caught in the corner and the heels work him over. Patera takes Perfect back to his own corner and Tito gets some slams and works on the arm. Over to Bravo, who hits Casey with an atomic drop out of the corner and sets up Race for a belly to belly and vertical suplex. Rude drops an elbow for two. Casey manages to tag Patera in again and the faces work on Perfect for a bit, with Duggan hitting a clothesline out of the corner. Perfect slugs away and Andre walks up the apron and gets a couple of swipes on Duggan, and it’s back to Casey again. Rude beats on him, but misses a charge, and Tito comes in and gets two. Duggan with a slam, but he misses an elbow, and both guys are down after a collision. Jesse astutely points out that Duggan recovers first because his head is hollow anyway. Patera comes in and SHOOTS THE HALF on Rude for two, but he charges and hits boot, and the Rude Awakening finishes him at 8:18. See? Not Bravo but same deal because Patera seemingly had one finish that he worked at that point.

Scott Casey comes back in and he gets beat up by the heels, but backslides Bravo for two. Side suplex ends him at 9:29, however. Next up, Tito is a house of fire and chases Bravo out of the ring before slugging away on Perfect, and a small package gets two. Perfect beats on Duggan, who makes a comeback right away, but Andre chokes him out in the heel corner and headbutts him from the apron. Duggan fights back and clotheslines Rude, then tags Tito, but the heels work HIM over right away thanks to more shenanigans from Andre on the apron. Tito with a crossbody for two and a sunset flip for two, but Race comes in with a piledriver for two. Clothesline gets two. Tito fights back with the flying forearm, however, and gets the pin at 13:20. Over to Andre, who finally tags in and he just destroys Tito in an epic foul mood. Chops and a butt splash follow as we get another bread basket reference from Gorilla. Tito fights back and Andre chops him down again, then sits on him to block a sunset flip and gets the pin at 14:45.

Duggan immediately clobbers Andre and ties him in the ropes, allowing Duggan and Jake to double-team him. Jake just continually chokes him, but Andre tags in Rude and Rick saves his giant friend and whips Jake into the corner. Perfect comes in and chokes him out on the ropes and follows with the catapult under the ropes, allowing Andre to head over and get some revenge for the earlier choking. Jake fights back but the heels swarm him and keep him from tagging out. Jake gets the short clothesline on Bravo, but takes too long setting up the DDT and Rude clotheslines him from the apron to continue the heat. Rude slugs him down for two and Bravo adds a pretty nice piledriver for two. He misses an elbow, however, and it’s hot tag Hacksaw. He grabs the 2×4 to counter Frenchie Martin’s interference, and gets DQ’d at 21:40, leaving Jake by himself against 4 heels. They all huddle to discuss tactics and Perfect starts out before Jake slugs him down. The heels confer again and Perfect takes a kneelift this time, so he’s had enough and lets Bravo have a go at it. Bravo tries a test of strength and Jake slips into the DDT attempt, but Bravo backdrops out of it and brings Rude back in. Jake wisely takes a breather outside and Jesse is pretty sure Jake is taking a walk on the match, but no. Back in the ring, Rude beats on him in the corner and slowly works him over as this gives me a chance to point out that Rude’s tights have a women’s hands airbrushed on them front and back. The back appears to be cupping his ass cheeks and penetrating him with the thumbs, while the front appears to be fondling his balls. I mean, hey, whatever works for Rude, I guess. Rude goes up with the flying fist and then stops to gyrate while Jesse is sure that Cheryl Roberts is going home with Rude, but Jake pops and KICK WHAM DDT ends it at 28:44. But then Andre decides that it’s time to finish this, so he comes in and just MAULS Jake in the corner like a grizzly bear, choking him out viciously until the ref calls for the DQ at 29:38. But then Jake is out, so Perfect pins him at 30:00 to win the match. That’s some high level strategy there.

Survivors: Mr. Perfect and Dino Bravo

Obviously Perfect couldn’t do a job here because of the perfect record gimmick, so you knew he was winning in some form. Very entertaining match with Jake going long at the end and even Bravo was tolerable. ***1/2

Akeem, Big Bossman, Ted Dibiase, King Haku & The Red Rooster v. Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Koko B. Ware, Hercules & Hillbilly Jim

Of course it’s Savage who has to have his gear drenched in ketchup and mustard to show solidarity with egomanic Hulk. Like, have you SEEN this monstrosity?

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Dibiase starts with Savage and slugs away in the corner, but Savage gets the clothesline and it’s over to Hercules, which sends Dibiase running. Rooster comes in with a jawbreaker on Herc, but Koko comes in for the long-awaited avian showdown! But it only lasts a moment, as Rooster lets Akeem come in and beat on his black brother. Haku misses a legdrop and Herc comes back in and slugs Haku down. Hulk comes in and drops elbows, and a double boot with Jim gets two. Gorilla reminds us that Hulk gave Jim his wrestling boots in 1985, but this raises some disturbing questions, like “Why has he been wearing the same wrestling boots for three years?” Nasty. Koko comes in to continue the bird battle with the Rooster, and he goes up with a missile dropkick for two. Hulk hits Rooster with the big boot and graciously allows Savage to drop the big elbow at 6:07 and Terry is cock-a-doodle-done.

Haku goes next and gets double-teamed by the Megapowers, but fights back with a dropkick on Hogan. Hulk of course no-sells it and gets the corner clothesline, and Hercules drops elbows for two. Haku cuts him off with a side suplex and Akeem comes in and misses an elbow, allowing Hillbilly to get his shit in on the African Dream. Big boot and bearhug, but Akeem squashes him in the corner and flattens him with the big fat splash at 9:54. Koko attacks Akeem from behind to continue the pattern of black-on-black violence in America, allowing Team Hulk to work Akeem over in their corner like a bunch of cowardly backfighting cheaters. Herc with a back elbow and Koko slugs away and dropkicks him into the corner, but he misses a charge and the Twin Towers beat on him before Bossman gets the slam to finish at 11:54.

Back to Hogan, as he slugs away on Bossman and adds an atomic drop to allow the babyface side to triple-team Bossman. Corner clothesline and Bossman won’t go down, so Hulk hits the big boot and slams him, only to walk into a spinebuster. Serves him right, the cocky bastard. Over to Akeem for the double-team and Haku gets a headbutt for two before Bossman chokes him down. Dibiase with a clothesline and fistdrops for two, but Hulk pops up and no-sells it, before tagging Hercules back in. Herc with the backdrop and he slugs away on Dibiase before hitting some clotheslines, but Virgil trips him up from the floor and Dibiase gets the cheap rollup for the pin at 16:35. So the Megapowers are left 4-on-2, although Hulk’s ego counts for three so it’s really even. And then Savage runs in and rolls up Dibiase for the pin at 17:00 while he’s yelling at Hercules.

Haku chops Savage and misses a headbutt, so Savage brings Hulk back in and Haku quickly cuts him off with the thrust kick and the heels get the heat on Hogan. Akeem comes in and pounds away, and that’s probably why Hogan had such a problem with his people dating his daughter. Haku with a suplex for two and he goes to the good old nerve hold on Hulk. Bossman comes in with the Bossman Slam, but chooses to celebrate instead of pinning and then goes up to the top and misses a flying splash. Hot tag Randy Savage, but Slick nails him from the floor and Savage goes flying to put the heels back on offense. Slick goes after Elizabeth, trying to turn her out in the middle of the match, but Hogan makes the save because pimpin’ ain’t easy. So the heels cuff Hogan to the bottom rope, and that results in Bossman getting counted out at 23:38. LAME. But then he beats on Hogan with the nightstick on the way out and redeems himself. GIVE HIM ONE RIGHT IN THE BREAD BASKET, BOSSMAN! DO IT FOR AKEEM! So this leaves Haku and Akeem, who I will dub TEAM HAKEEM, and they double-team Macho until Akeem gets DQ’d at 25:00. The racial profiling in this match continues to disgust me. Hulk probably loves laundry day because it’s the only time he can separate whites from coloreds in a socially acceptable fashion.  So the Megapowers are left with Haku 2-on-1, and the King works on Savage with an elbow for two. Slick stupidly taunts Hulk with the handcuff key while Haku misses a dropkick and Savage makes the comeback. Savage goes for the tag but of course Hogan is selfishly messing around on the floor. Slick tries to interfere and Haku superkicks him by accident, allowing Liz to dig in his pocket and find the keys. He probably could have freed himself any time he wanted and just wanted to screw with Savage because he’s JEALOUS of the Macho Man. Hogan of course gets the tag now and hits the big boot and legdrop to finish at 29:13. Kind of fell apart due to the series of shit finishes with only a couple of the deadwood guys doing actual jobs, but it was pretty good overall. ***1/4

Survivors: Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan

And does Hulk even check on his partner? Nope, he just poses, obviously trying to impress Liz because of the lust in his eyes. You know, had she been black, Macho Man would probably still be World champion today.

Recommended show, of course.