by Logan Scisco
–Jim Ross &
Jerry “the King” Lawler are doing commentary tonight and they are live from
Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This is the
first exclusive pay-per-view pairing of Ross and Lawler, as Vince McMahon has
given up regular commentary duties.
Contest: “The Road Dogg” Jesse James,
“Bad Ass” Billy Gunn & The Godwinns defeat The Headbangers & The New
Blackjacks when James and Gunn are the survivors after Gunn pins Thrasher with
a flying leg drop at 15:25:
Other Eliminations: Bradshaw pins Henry Godwinn with a cradle out
of an abdominal stretch at 3:51; Phineas Godwinn pins Barry Windham with a
lariat at 5:11; Gunn pins Mosh after countering a bulldog with an inverted slam
at 8:40; Thrasher pins Phineas with a Mosh Pit at 12:37; James pins Bradshaw
with a schoolboy at 13:44
This is the entire tag team division, Legion of Doom
excluded, as we approach the end of 1997 and when you look around it’s not that
surprising that the WWF was willing to give James and Gunn a run with the titles. James and Gunn are actually the most over
team in the match, with Gunn booed heavily when he steps into the ring and
enduring some chants questioning his sexual preferences. Gunn just rolls with it and gives the crowd a
one finger salute, only riling them up more.
As it is, this match is just a vehicle to continue James & Gunn’s
rise through the tag division and give them a justification for facing the
Legion of Doom for the tag team titles later in the month. The crowd isn’t into most of the guys in this
thing so it dies a slow and painful death and on a couple of eliminations it’s
not clear whether wrestlers are pinned or not.
It reminds me of the accelerated Survivor Series tag match on the Free
for All the previous year. Gunn
completely whiffs on his finishing move, which just makes it all worse. Last year’s tag team opener with Furnas &
LaFon this wasn’t. Rating: DUD
–Kevin Kelly and
Sunny tempt us to call the Superstar Line to find hear from the night’s winners
and losers. I have a feeling that when
the real controversy broke out later in the evening that people were
flooding in calls, but they got little for their money.
Commission beats The Disciples of Apocalypse when The Interrogator is the sole
survivor after pinning Crush with a sidewalk slam at 9:58:
Other Eliminations: The Interrogator pins Chainz after a sidewalk
slam at 1:18; Skull pins the Jackal with a spinning sidewalk slam at 2:50;
Skull pins Recon after a lariat at 5:20; Sniper pins Skull with a bulldog at
6:29; The Interrogator pins 8-Ball with a sidewalk slam at 8:50; Crush pins
Sniper with a powerslam at 9:47
The good thing about the Survivor Series in this format
is that it allows you blow off factional feuds like this fairly easily. The Truth Commission head into this at a
disadvantage because the Jackal has to wrestle to make this a true four-on-four
encounter and predictably, he’s the first man on his team to be
eliminated. However, he just goes and
does commentary for the rest of the match, which has no heat. On the bright side, if you love sidewalk
slams this is your match. Before there
was the Great Khali you had the Interrogator, who was repackaged three
different times and failed to get over in any of those incarnations so
eventually the WWF let him go. However,
this was at the time where they really wanted to make him the star of the
group, so regardless of the fact that the DOA were still cheered by parts of
the fan base, they are jobbed out again.
By the way, this was Crush’s last WWF pay-per-view appearance before
jumping to WCW, thereby finishing up his run of futility with the company. The reason this isn’t a DUD is that it kept a
pretty good pace. Rating: *
–Fans share their
thoughts on who they think will win tonight’s championship match between Bret
Hart and Shawn Michaels.
America Online’s chat about the show.
Steve Austin is participating in the chat and says that he is going
forward after his neck injury.
–Team USA (Vader,
Goldust, Marc Mero, and Steve Blackman) give a promo. Blackman doesn’t relay much intensity, but
promo work was never his strong point.
–Team Canada (The
British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart, Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon) sees Furnas
renounce his American citizenship.
–Team Canada (The
British Bulldog, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon)
beats Team USA (Vader, Goldust, Marc Mero & Steve Blackman w/Sable) when
the Bulldog is the sole survivor after pinning Vader after hitting him with the
ring bell at 17:46:
Other Eliminations: Blackman gets counted out at 5:44; Vader pins
Neidhart after a splash at 7:31; Vader pins LaFon after a splash off the second
rope at 9:07; Furnas pins Mero with a rollup and holding the tights at 11:57;
Goldust gets counted out at 16:58; Vader pins Furnas after a Vader Bomb at
This is the blowoff for the 1997 feud between Canada and
the United States and it ends with more of a whimper than a bang. The Patriot suffered a debilitating bicep
injury before the show, so he was penciled out and Blackman was put into the
match. This is an odd match on paper
because Furnas and LaFon just returned and only one of the wrestlers on Team
Canada was actually born there, a fact that Ross brings up on commentary. Team USA are the heels, but it’s nothing like
the dynamic that was present at Canadian Stampede four months prior. The Bulldog does get a massive pop for
vertically suplexing Vader, though.
Blackman is presented as the new “supreme fighting machine” (my words,
not the WWF’s) and his karate-style is put over strong and the heels have to
gang up to eliminate him. Goldust is
brooding over family issues and has a broken hand so he refuses to tag in and
Vader tires of that and tosses him into the ring. Goldust just decides to walk out after that,
which sets up a new feud with Vader and basically costs Team USA the
match. The match had some fun moments, like
a great power match between Furnas and Vader, but when the Goldust-Vader issue
took over it limped over the finish line.
to get a new Steve Austin t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping & handling)!
–Ross and Lawler
talk to Jacquelin Cook, who won the Survivor Series Super Supper Sweepstakes so
she and ten friends can have dinner with a WWF superstar. Luckily, she picks Steve Austin and not Bret
Hart for her dinner guest.
–A long video
package hypes Kane-Mankind.
–Mankind says that
the next match won’t be a wrestling match because it is going to be him against
a brick wall.
Bearer) beats Mankind with a Tombstone at 9:29:
I’m surprised that they didn’t put this match after the
first two in order to break up the string of Survivor Series matches. Like Sin Cara and Glacier, Kane had special
lighting for his early matches, but it makes some spots on the arena floor hard
to see. This is Kane’s first televised
singles match and Mankind takes his usual sick bumps to get him over. Heading in, everyone knew who the winner of
this match would be, but Mankind gives this a good effort and produces a pretty
good David-Goliath struggle. Rating:
interviews Commissioner Slaughter and Vince McMahon. Slaughter says security has been stepped up
in the backstage area and McMahon says that Bret-Michaels will hopefully happen
tonight, since it has been cancelled several times before. Cole asks him who is going to win, as a wink
at the smart fans, to which McMahon replies “I don’t know” which leaves you
with the impression that something is wrong.
It just feels eerie.
interviews Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson & The Legion of Doom.
Ahmed Johnson & The Legion of Doom defeat The Nation of Domination when
Shamrock is the sole survivor after making Rocky Maivia submit to the ankle
lock at 20:37:
Other Eliminations: Rocky Maivia pins Hawk with a Rock Bottom at
2:15; Johnson eliminates Faarooq with a Pearl River Plunge at 4:39; Maivia pins
Johnson when Faarooq trips Johnson and holds his leg down at 6:18; Animal pins
Kama Mustafa with a schoolboy at 10:53; Animal gets counted out at 15:00; Shamrock
forces D-Lo Brown to submit to the ankle lock at 17:12
This Ahmed-Nation issue is a little out of hand, since
this feud has been going on since the summer of 1996. I mean we have headed into Tito Santana-Rick
Martel territory here. Ahmed gets a measure
of revenge on Faarooq by eliminating him, but Faarooq returns the favor and
they brawl to the locker room because the feud must continue! After those sequences, the crowd completely
dies as Animal takes the offensive. The
only thing that wakes them up from time to time is to taunt Maivia. As the crowd works up a “Rocky’s gay” chant,
I have to wonder what future generations will think of these fans since it is
no longer acceptable to chant those things and how editing that stuff out will
butcher future releases of this show.
Jesse James and Billy Gunn come out and get Animal eliminated, but don’t
fear because that allows Shamrock to mount the comeback and by proxy, build up
a feud with Maivia that will carry into 1998.
This thing had a hot start, but completely died around the eight minute
mark. Shamrock-Maivia brought it back at
the end, but it took forever to get there.
some fans about who is going to win the WWF championship match later tonight.
–A video package hypes
Steve Austin-Owen Hart.
Championship Match: “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin beats Owen Hart (Champion w/Team Canada) with a Stone Cold Stunner to
win the title at 4:01:
This is a weird dynamic for Austin’s return, since he’s
in hostile territory but he manages a mixed reaction to show how over he
is. Jim Neidhart tries to attack Austin
before the bell, but eats a Stunner and that allows Owen to get the advantage. Sensing trouble, Owen tries to get counted
out and when that doesn’t work he chokes Austin with a microphone cord and
tells the referee “disqualify me” and when the referee tells him no and to
break it, Owen says “NEVER!” Shortly
after that, Austin gets Owen in the ring and then hits the Stunner and wins the
title. Really awkward match to watch,
but Austin came back too quickly and was very fragile. Also, if someone broke my neck in the ring I
wouldn’t want to be out there with them very long either. Watching this at the time, though, I had a
lot of reservations about Austin’s future in-ring career. Thankfully, those reservations proved to be
unfounded, at least in the short term. Rating:
–A video package
hypes Bret Hart-Shawn Michaels.
Match: “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn
Michaels (European Champion) beats Bret “the Hitman” Hart (Champion) when Bret
submits to the Sharpshooter to win the title at 11:00:
Well, this is the infamous “Montreal Screwjob” whereby
Bret refused to lose to Michaels in Montreal and instead of running with the
agreed upon finish, which was a double disqualification, Vince McMahon had
referee Earl Hebner ring the bell when Michaels had Bret in the Sharpshooter to
cause a title change. While this match
is tough to watch as a Bret fan, I do believe that McMahon and crew were justified
in what they did because it made no sense to have Bret forfeit the belt and
head to WCW as an undefeated champion.
They couldn’t have run Michaels-Bret on RAW and had a title switch
there, which would have cheated the paying pay-per-view customers, so that was
off the table. You can sense the
frustration that the WWF booking staff felt if you watch Jim Cornette’s 1997
Timeline shoot interview, as he says it was chaos trying to come up with a
reasonable finish for the match. In the
end, all parties are to blame for what unfolded, some more than others. Watching this match fifteen years later, with
the entrances showing both guys coming to the ring from their locker rooms, it
feels a lot like a funeral to the “Bret Hart” era that has existed in the company
since he won the WWF title in 1992. This
match is probably the most controversial and arguably most significant match in
wrestling history, as it generated some of the momentum that led to the WWF
overtaking WCW, helped cement Vince McMahon’s status as a heel, and it still
generates a great deal of debate today. There
is some nice continuity in the sense that five years ago when these two faced off
at the Survivor Series they both had singles titles, with Bret as the WWF
champion and Michaels as the Intercontinental champion. As a match, it is actually a good prelude to
the Austin era since they brawl into the crowd and up the aisle before the
official bell. The pacing is a little
slower than usual and there is only one near-fall, which might be owed to Bret
being paranoid about a fast count finish.
It’s a little weird to rate this match, since the screwjob ended it
abruptly and before it was supposed to, but I guess you have to work with what
you have. Rating: ***
The Final Report Card: The only real appeal of this show is the
screwjob, but if you hope to see any extracurriculars after the bell rings then
you aren’t going to get them on the Coliseum Video release, as the show ended
very quickly after the bell and missed Bret Hart destroying equipment and
everything else. This is a show that you
can easily bypass as it has little redeeming value outside of the legacy of the
main event. In fact, I would say it’s
the worst Survivor Series up to this point.
Show Evaluation: Thumbs Down