In the most recent Six of the Best (Where I covered Survivor Series) a poster in the comments section mentioned that Survivor Series 95 had a lot of great matches and that they were upset it didn’t feature more on the list. Seeing as we’re still a couple of weeks away from December, it seems a bit premature to do the lists for Armageddon and Starrcade, so I decided I’d fill some of the gap with a review of the show.
The event is emanating from Washington D.C on the 19th of November 1995
Calling the action are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Mr. Perfect
Marty Jannetty, Hakushi, Bob Holly and Barry Horrowitz
Skip, Rad Radford, Dr Tom Pritchard and 1-2-3 Kid
Radford is Louie Spicolli and Skip is Chris Candido, before either of them went to ECW and got much needed gimmick make overs. The Kid had sold out to Ted Dibiase the previous week on Raw, going heel in the process. Razor Ramon tries to storm the ring to get The Kid but a host of refs pull him to the back before he can get his hands on his ex-best friend. Pritchard and Jannetty start the match proper and Jannetty ends up in the heel corner, but he manages to fight all four of them off and get a back body drop to send Pritchard scuttling to the outside.
Radford comes in next to go at it with Holly, and ends up on the wrong end of a Hardcore Hurricanrana. Radford tries his own rana in reply, but Holly counters it into a powerbomb to put a stop to that. Hakushi comes in, to a big pop, but runs into a spine buster from Radford and The Kid follows up with a big Frog Splash for two. Kid gets the kick combo in the corner and then brings in Skip for a super back drop, but Hakushi shifts his weight and lands on top. Holly comes in with some clotheslines before settling for an arm bar as the fans chant for Horrowitz. Pritchard comes in and tries delivering a moonsault to Holly, but there’s no water in the pool and Holly comes off the top with a cross body block to eliminate him. Skip shoots in quickly with a roll up however and Holly is also gone.
Hakushi is quickly back in and he hammers away on Skip, but takes some knees to the gut when attempting a pump splash. Skip hammers away and gets a super frankensteiner, but then he falls over after banging his head on the way down. Candido had such brilliant timing for comedy stuff like that. Both guys are down but Skip manages to bring The Kid in with a tag. Hakushi out kicks The Kid and then gets a blistering series of moves that has the crowd rocking. How the hell did the WWF not do more with this guy when they had such a dearth of talent at the top of the card? He was an awesome breath of fresh air during a very stale era for the company.
Hakushi misses a high flying move though and Kid uses the chance to tag in Radford, who manages to get a cheap shot and a roll up to send Hakushi to the showers (Which will probably be quite a long soak considering all the paint he has to wash off). Horrowitz comes in and gets double teamed as the crowd give him their support. Horrowitz was another guy the WWF completely lucked into getting over and still wasted. No wonder WCW would soon be handing them their arses!
Radford pounds away on Horrowitz, but Skip orders him not to eliminate him so he can have the honour himself. Rad makes the eternal error of stopping to showboat though, and this allows Horrowitz to catch him with a roll up to eliminate him, leaving us with Jannetty and Horrowitz against Skip and Kid. Horrowitz and Skip renew their rivalry from the summer, with Horrowitz getting the advantage, but Kid gets a blind tag and a cheap shot to eliminate him and leave Marty 1 on 2.
Marty and Skip have a great segment, which ends with Marty getting a Rocker Dropper before heading up top. Sunny puts a stop to that however, which allows Skip to head up for an attempted superplex. Marty manages to fight him off though and hits a big powerbomb from the top rope to eliminate Skip. Skip would eventually go on to use the same move and name it “The Blonde Bombshell” in honour of his missus.
Kid quickly gets a top rope leg drop onto his former Tag Team Championship partner, but Marty is out at two. Kid heads up again but misses an attempted swanton bomb and both guys are out. Jannetty recovers first and hammers away in the corner, before getting a dropkick for two. This is the cue for Sycho Sid to come down to help his fellow Dibiase client. Marty manages to hit the Rocker Dropper on Kid but Mr. Waltman gets his foot on the rope to break up the resulting pin. Dibiase distracts the ref and this allows Sid to whomp Marty and give Kid the win.
SURVIVOR: 1-2-3 KID
This was all action from start to finish and a lot of fun as consequence. Razor destroys his locker room in anger at The Kid’s win and allegiance with Dibiase.
Meanwhile, Todd Pettengill is with Yokozuna, Owen Hart and Dean Douglas who say Razor better get his head straight for when he teams with them in the Wildcard match later.
Bertha Faye, Aja Kong, Lioness Asuka and Tomoko Watanabe
Alundra Blayze, Kyoko Inoue, Sakie Hasegawa and Chapparita Asari
These ladies were all brought in at the request of Blazye herself, with the goal of giving the floundering women’s division a shot in the arm. Lioness Asuka, the idol of her namesake in WWE, starts out by giving Asari a Giant Swing for two. Blayze comes in and gets a slam on Asuka which sets up a Sky Twister Press from Asari. With Asuka reeling from that, Blayze comes in with a German Suplex to end her night. Watanabe comes in and goes for a standing moonsault on Blayze, but she moves and knocks her outside before following with a dive.
There’s too much action to call here, as the women are hitting some crazy top rope moves and slams, including Hasegawa getting multiple underhook suplexes. Kong comes in and goes at it with Hasegawa and gets a devastating back suplex to get her out. She bulldozes through Asari next and heads to the second rope with a big splash to eliminate her as well, leaving Blayze’s team 2 on 3. Inoue is next to try taking on Kong and comes in and with some clotheslines before trying a sunset flip, but Kong decides to go route one and just plain sits on her to end the rally and eliminate her.
That kind of looked like a mistake, almost like Inoue should have kicked out. However, the fact remains that she is gone and now Blayze has to take on the nasty heels all by herself. Blayze gets triple teamed but is able to get a piledriver on Watanabe and holds her down for three. Bertha now comes in and pounds away but some miscommunication with Kong leads to an ugly looking German Suplex from Blayze to eliminate her as well.
I haven’t seen much of Faye’s work in Japan, where I hear she was a big star, but my word was she ruddy awful during her run in the WWF. Thus we now get a one on one battle between Kong and Blayze. Kong has her way with Blayze but takes a rana for two. Blayze gets another two from a standing moonsault, but gets shoved off on a leapfrog attempt. Kong keeps hammering away on Blayze and smashes her with an open hand strike to the face for the winning fall.
SURVIVOR: AJA KONG
This was a good match that got a little disjointed towards the end. It could have done with another 5 minutes to be honest, so that they would have had more time to tell a story. Rather than revive the division, the influx of Japanese talent ended up spelling the end for it as the male wrestlers complained about the hard hitting style of the women and basically got the idea kyboshed. An enraged Blayze got her revenge by jumping to WCW at the end of her contract and dumping the WWF Women’s Title in the trash live on Nitro, in an iconic moment of the Monday Night War™.
Todd Pettengill is talking with a Bill Clinton impersonator. Rumours that a watching Christopher Hitchens thought it was the real Clinton and turned off the show in disgust are unfounded…
Bam Bam Bigelow Vs Goldust
Goldust was still new to the WWF at this point and didn’t have Marlena with him yet. His entrance takes about 5 minutes, which annoys Bigelow no end. Bigelow had of course main evented WrestleMania XI earlier in the year, but now he was basically a jobber winding down his contract. Goldust peppers Bigelow with right hands to start and then bails before taking any comeuppance.
From a character standpoint Goldust was always rather good in the way he would play mind games with his opponents, but the down side was that his matches were normally fought at a snail’s pace with about two minutes of contact, if he was feeling adventurous. Considering he’d been one of WCW’s better in ring workers before jumping to the WWF, seeing him parade around doing the square root of sod all in his new gimmick was pretty jarring.
Goldust actually keeps the stalling to a minimum at first, and takes it to Bigelow by knocking him outside. Back inside the ring, Bigelow fights back with some head butts but takes a knee lift for his trouble before getting stuck in a front face lock. Goldust throws Bigelow outside again and introduces him to the ring steps before sending him back in. Bigelow fights back with a back suplex, but misses the follow up falling head butt. Goldust goes to yet another hold, a camel clutch, as the fans try to get behind Bigelow.
Bigelow powers out of the hold into an electric chair drop but can’t capitalise on it. Goldust gets a big clothesline and knee drop for two, before deciding that’s enough action and applying a side headlock. Bigelow gets another back suplex to get out of that and follows with some clotheslines for two. Bigelow goes for a charge in the corner but Goldust dodges it and then drops him with a bulldog for the winning pin.
Little more than a semi-energetic squash for Goldust, but it was better than the usual cure for insomnia that were his matches in this era.
Todd is back with the fake Clinton. Bob Backlund shows up and hilarity ensues.
Jerry Lawler, King Mabel, Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Isaac Yankem
The Undertaker, Fatu, Henry Godwinn and Savio Vega
Undertaker is wearing a protective mask here due to Mabel and Yokozuna teaming up to smash his face up on Raw a month before, and he hasn’t especially seen the funny side of things. Yankem would go on to be the fake Diesel before finally getting over as Kane, whilst Mabel would go on to be Viscera. Fatu is comparatively svelte to how he would look when portraying Rikishi four years later. Helmsley and Fatu start out, with Fatu mocking the HHH bow. HHH tries to Pedigree Fatu but backs off when he gets too close to Taker.
Godwinn, Helmsley’s main rival from this period, comes in and HHH promptly bails to tag out to Lawler, who then tags in Yankem in a funny moment. Yankem hammers away on the Hog Farmer, but takes a hip toss and body slam in reply. Yankem pounds Godwin down and HHH is now brave enough to come back in and choke him on the ropes. HHH gets a high knee for two but Godwinn fires back with a press slam. Lawler and Savio go next, with Savio getting the better of that. Fatu comes in and rams Lawler’s head into the corner 10 times, as they’re honestly just killing time before Undertaker gets in there.
Yankem cheap shots Savio and comes in to work him over. Lots of cheap shotting happening in this show isn’t there? Mabel comes in and crushes everyone who comes near him. Savio gets worked over by the heels for a while, but none of them try to really eliminate him. Lawler gets a beauty of a piledriver on Savio, but hesitates before covering, which allows the former Kwang to kick out. Savio manages a Rock Bottom on HHH (Luckily Fatu isn’t quick enough on the draw to mow Bret Hart down with a car to help Savio’s career) but takes another piledriver from Lawler, which still doesn’t stop him making the tag to Undertaker.
Lawler is left alone with The Deadman is quickly Tombstoned and eliminated. Yankem comes in and he is also quickly disposed of via a Tombstone. It would take 2 more at Wrestlemania XIV to get the job done on that occasion. HHH tries to run away but is stopped by Godwin and gets thrown in for a Choke Slam to leave Mabel 1 on 4. Mabel comes in and gets a big leg drop, but Undertaker pops right up, so he flees in fear for the count out
SURVIVORS: UNDERTAKER, FATU, GODWINN AND SAVIO
Seeing Taker annihilate everyone was fun but the match sort of plodded along until that bit. Undertaker would defeat Mabel at the December In Your House event to end their issue before moving on to Diesel for WrestleMania season.
Bret Hart and Diesel give their thoughts on the main event tonight and the prospect of fighting #1 contender British Bulldog at In Your House V.
Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, Sycho Sid and British Bulldog
Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Dean Douglas and Razor Ramon
The deal here was that WWF President Gorilla Monsoon decided to spice things up by putting heels and faces on the same teams to create as exciting a match as he could. Michaels and Owen start out and have a great opening segment full of counters and reversals. The fight spills outside, where Michaels spanks Cornette with the tennis racquet in a moment I’m sure Corny just loved having to sell for considering his feelings on HBK.
Back inside, Owen gets an overhead belly to belly suplex and tags in Douglas, who gets a hanging vertical suplex. Michaels fights back with a running forearm and an axe handle from the top for two. Douglas replies with a body slam, but misses a pump splash and Michaels gets a moonsault press for two.
Ahmed comes in (Thankfully not injuring either himself or one of his opponents in the process) and hammers away on Owen and Douglas, but gets triple teamed before he can slam Yoko. Douglas goes to a rear chin lock and rakes the face for good measure. Owen comes in for some double teaming but Ahmed fights back and smashes Douglas with a powerslam.
Ahmed presses Shawn onto Douglas for two and Douglas bails before he can get hit with Sweet Chin Music. However, Razor nails Douglas after a row on the outside and Michaels gets a roll up to send The Dean back to the classroom. Owen and Bulldog go at it next, with Owen going nearly 10 feet in the air from a monkey flip. With their segment done, Owen and Bulldog tag out to Razor and Shawn respectively so they can renew their rivalry.
Shawn sends Razor outside but The Bad Guy comes back with a clothesline before taking a flying forearm in response. Razor actually manages to successfully hit Shawn with The Razor’s Edge, but Ahmed saves at two and both guys are down. They make their way to their feet, but bang heads and are down again. C’est la vie I guess. Sid gets tagged in and hammers away on Razor in the corner. Sid yells “shut up” at the crowd and stomps a lot, which is par for the course for the big lug.
Yokozuna comes in for a semi save attempt, but does no good and Razor has to fight back himself. A double clothesline leaves both Side and Razor down. Sid gets up first and heads up to the top rope of all places, but Razor throws him off. Sid gets the Choke Slam and then holds Razor up so Michaels can go for Sweet Chin Music, but Michaels misses and hits Sid by accident instead before giving an a hilarious “oh well” look. That of course leads to Sid’s elimination at the hands of Razor. Sid takes this loss with his usual good grace by crushing Michaels with a powerbomb before leaving, which Razor gets two from.
Owen comes in with a back breaker and back body drop on Shawn and oh no, here comes Yoko! Yokozuna pummels Michels in the corner and whips him into the other turnbuckle, which Shawn sells in dramatic fashion. Yoko then grinds my gears by going to his awful nerve pinch hold, despite the fact Owen and Razor are right there if he’s tired and needs to tag out. Michaels attempts a comeback but runs into an elbow to stop that. Owen comes in with a vertical suplex and heads up top for a swandive head butt, but ends up eating nothing but canvas when Michaels moves.
Ahmed gets the hot tag and runs wild, thankfully not causing any fatalities in the process. Owen takes the Pearl River Plunge and that’s enough for him to be pinned. Razor comes in with some right hands on Ahmed and preps for a second rope Bulldog, but Ahmed wanders too far across the ring, which puts a stop to that. Razor hammers everyone in the corner but then ends up on the wrong end of Big Johnson spinebuster to put him down.
Ahmed stupidly taunts in the corner instead of pressing the advantage, and this allows Razor to bring him down with The Razor’s Edge. However, unbeknownst to him, Bulldog gets a blind tag on Ahmed before he hits the canvas and this allows him to come in and hammer away on Razor for two. 1-2-3 Kid and Sid choose this moment to come down to the ring to go after Razor, and the distraction is enough for Bulldog to get the Power Slam for another elimination.
Thus hated heel Yokozuna is forced to gallantly fight 1 on 3 against a team that contains two babyfaces. Well, it’s different I’ll give you that. Michaels slugs away on Yoko but that goes about as well as you’d expect and soon enough he’s on the wrong end of Yoko leg drop. Yoko stupidly decides to drag Michaels into the corner rather than pin him though, which allows Michaels to dodge the Bonzai Drop at the last second. Michaels makes the tag to Ahmed, who manages to slam Yoko but Bulldog breaks up the pin for his stablemate. Michaels and Ahmed dump Bulldog and finish Yokozuna for the win.
SURVIVORS: MICHAELS, AHMED AND BULLDOG
In a funny moment, Bulldog actually has the gall to try and celebrate with Michaels and Ahmed at the end of the match despite trying to cheat them during the bout itself. Now THAT’S a heel!
Champion: Diesel Vs Bret Hart
This match stemmed from both men having two PPV matches that went to non-finishes, so this match was given the No DQ stipulation to ensure that there would be a clear winner. Both men undo turnbuckle pads to start to show they both mean business. Stand-off leads to Bret shoving Diesel into the corner. Diesel pounds his way back and corners Bret, leaving him open to some big right hands.
Bret bails to buy himself some time, but Diesel slowly stalks him and beats him up in the aisle. Bret gets dropped neck first on the guardrail and then sent face first into the apron for good measure. Bret rolls outside again and Diesel follows, choking him with his boot on the floor. Back inside, Bret gets some kicks to the knee but Diesel slugs him down and sends him outside again, where Bret gets sent into the steps. Diesel is tapping into his old heel persona here to casually demolish Bret.
Bret gets sent spine first into the ring post and Diesel nails him out there with a chair as well. Back inside the ring, Bret gets sent spine first into the turnbuckle and collapses. Diesel signals for the Jacknife but Bret fights it off with everything he has. Bret slugs his way back into the match and even starts biting Diesel as both men continue to show no mercy to one another. Bret goes to work on Diesels legs in hope of weakening them for the Sharpshooter. Bret locks in a Figure Four as he continues the work on the legs of Diesel, but Big Daddy Cool refuses to uncle.
Both men have brought a methodical approach to this match and as a result the crowd is fixated on the action. They’re not going nuts but are watching intently, it really has a big fight feel to it. Bret tries the Sharpshooter but Diesel is just too big and kicks him away into the exposed turnbuckle. Bret fights back by wrapping Diesels leg around the ring post a few times and the takes things to a new level by getting an electric cable and tying Diesel to the post so he can’t move.
Diesel is now trapped in the corner with nowhere to go, so Bret is able to hit the now stationary big man with an axe handle from the second rope. Bret made use of the match rules and his ring smarts to take Diesel’s size advantage right out the equation there, which is the sort of sound storytelling you’d expect from The Hitman. Bret grabs the chair Diesel hit him with earlier and tries to dish out some meticulous payback, but Diesel is able to kick him away in desperation. Bret has success on a second attempt however and is able to drive the chair into Diesels left leg a few times.
Bret drops some elbows now and successfully delivers a back breaker to his bigger foe. Bret grabs the chair again and heads up top, but Diesel recovers in time and crotches Bret on the top before flinging him across the ring. The break in the action gives Diesel a chance to undo the cable around his foot and now he’s exceedingly unhappy to say the least. Diesel gets a side slam for two before sending Bret chin first into the unprotected corner, which Bret sells fantastically.
Diesel gets the snake eyes and then tries it onto the unprotected corner as well, but Bret is able to counter just in time and send Diesels face into the metal bolt instead. Bret follows up with the Hart Attack clothesline and second rope bulldog, but both moves only manage to net him a two count. Bret gets a Russian Leg Sweep for another two count and sends Diesel outside. Bret goes for a plancha but Diesel shows off the best way to counter such a move by simply moving out of the way. This leaves Bret knocked out on the floor as Diesel rolls back inside.
We then get one of the most business changing moments in history, as Bret stumbles back onto the apron and Diesel sends him tumbling off through the Spanish Announce Table. 23 years later and that spot is still happening. It’s lasted longer than the Hulkamania and Attitude era’s combined! Though it may be a bit of a running joke these days, back in 1995 this was shocking and cutting edge moment, and Bret is smart enough to sell it like absolute death. Back inside in the ring, Diesel tries for the Jacknife but Bret just collapses. Diesel shows a momentary hesitation before going to pick Bret up, only for Bret to catch him with an inside cradle out of nowhere to win his, then, third WWF Title.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: BRET HART
This is one of the best examples of storytelling in a wrestling match that I can think of. Everything from start to finish had me engrossed in the action, with every move meaning something. I know a lot of people think the Shawn Michaels match in April 1996 is Kevin Nash’s best, but this one absolutely runs it close. After the match Diesel does the mother of all beat downs by dropping Bret with THREE Jacknifes before taking out about 10 officials for good measure as well. Now THAT’S a sore loser! This not only brought an end to Diesel’s awful smiling babyface act, but it also immediately rejuvenated him as a character as well. Ironically, he went from a character floundering as the champion to a character that could have easily carried the title, all in the act of losing the title itself. Wrestling is bloody weird sometimes isn’t it?
This show is, at its worst moments, watchable and, at its best ones, excellent, with even the Goldust match being slightly higher tempo than usual. I could really recommend it just for the main event alone, but the opener is all action and the Wildcard match is a heck of a lot of fun as well. Definitely worth a watch on the WWE Network if you’ve never seen it.
I also write for the website Gaming Respawn, where I look at Retro Wrestling and Video Games. You can access my archives by clicking right HERE
And whilst you’re here, why not take a goosey gander at other great content on the Blog of Doom?
Our Glorious Leader Scott Keith recently did a review of WCW Bash at the Beach 1997, and you can read what he thought of Dennis Rodman’s wrestling acumen by clicking right HERE
Rock Star Gary continues his journey into 1993 era WWF with a recap of Monday Night Raw from the 16th of August 1993, and you can read what he thought by clicking right HERE
And finally, Logan Scisco decided to indulge in some straight up masochism by watching WCW’s pretty awful Uncensored Pay Per View from 1995. You can share his pain by clicking right HERE
Thanks for reading and take care till next time!