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Random Network Reviews: WWF Survivor Series 1988

April 21, 2017 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Random Network Reviews: WWF Survivor Series 1988  

WWF Survivor Series 1988
November 24th, 1988 | Richfield Coliseum in Richfield, Ohio | Attendance: 8,500

Ah, the glory days back when Survivor Series was held on Thanksgiving night. I’ve always had a soft spot for late 80’s wrestling and have never seen this show before this review, so it should be fun. Macho Man was the WWF Champion after winning it at WrestleMania IV and slowly building towards a showdown with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania V. Guys like Andre the Giant were falling down the card and breaking down, while new stars, mainly the Ultimate Warrior, were on the rise. This was the second Survivor Series even in history.

No fancy video packages or anything like that. Just to the boisterous crowd and the commentary team of Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura.

Blue Blazer, Brutus Beefcake, Jim Brunzell, Sam Houston and WWF Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior def. Bad News Brown, Danny Davis, Greg Valentine, Honky Tonk Man and Ron Bass w/ Jimmy Hart in 17:50
The Ultimate Warrior had just won the Intercontinental Title from Honky Tonk Man at SummerSlam. Brutus Beefcake is introduced as co-captain, which absolutely seems like something he only got because he was Hogan’s friend. He opens with Valentine and the crowd is hot for what little they do. Tag to Danny Davis, who does next to nothing before getting eliminated to the sleeper hold at the 1:18 mark. I just hate that Beefcake is called “Bruti”. It’s so dumb. The faces tag in and out a few times to work over Valentine. Bad News Brown blind tags in and eliminates Brunzell with the Ghetto Blaster at 5:12. Brown just beats on Houston. He and Valentine miscommunicate and Brown gets hit so he walks out on the team and gets counted out at 7:50. Man, he was notorious for not taking pinfall losses. Ron Bass gets some time and works over Houston. He sends him packing with a powerslam at 10:09 to end the most boring sequence of the match so far.

Sensing trouble, Warrior enters and cleans house while the crowd goes wild. He does tag in the Blazer and tosses him onto Bass for two. Now the Blazer gets in his offense for a bit, until Honky knocks him off the top. Blazer lands on his knees, so Valentine slaps on the figure four and Blazer submits at 12:29. Beefcake comes in rather hot and counters Shake, Rattle and Roll with a backdrop. He puts the sleeper on Honky and they fall to the outside together. Both men end up counted out at 15:44, leaving Warrior alone. It doesn’t matter though to be honest. They double team him but this is the next big star we’re talking about here. Warrior rallies and eliminates Bass with a damn running axe handle at 17:30. Ventura thinks Valentine was the legal man. Warrior ducks a shot from Valentin and wins it with another axe handle. A fun opener that was booked very well. They played to the strength of most guys, especially the Warrior. Good pacing, the right guy looked strong and the crowd ate it all up. (Sole Survivor: Ultimate Warrior) ***

British Bulldogs, Hart Foundation, Powers of Pain, Rockers and Young Stallions def. Bolsheviks, Brain Busters, WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition, Fabulous Rougeaus and Los Conquistadors w/ Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart and Mr. Fuji in 42:18
Twenty men, ten tag teams, three managers and two referees. It’s quite the sight. If one member of a team gets pinned, both members have to leave. Some early tagging in and out from both teams. Both members of the Rockers take some abuse from their opposite number. By the way, this is Shawn’s PPV debut. Most teams get a chance to shine early on but Bret gets the biggest pop when he’s tagged in. At 5:37, Bret pulls Raymond Rougeau into a small package to eliminate them. Reportedly, there was heat between the Rougeaus and Bulldogs, to the point where they were planning on fighting after the match, so the WWF sent one team home early. Mr. Generic, Paul Roma, busts out a springboard on Nikolai. More shine from multiple guys until Shawn Michaels starts to take the heat, including a dope spinebuster by Arn Anderson. Marty gets the tag and comes in with fire. We get some Tully vs. Davey Boy work, which is quite fun. Things even out when the Bolsheviks are gone after a cross body counter on Jim Powers sends the Young Stallions out at 15:20. Knowing they’re overmatched at times, the heels tag in and out to work over Barbarian. It’s hard to build a hot tag spot when you’re almost always near your teammates since they take up nearly the entire ring. Jannetty uses a sunset flip from out of nowhere to eliminate the Bolsheviks at 18:09. Davey Boy is next to get worked over the heel group. The Hart Foundation come in after and really do a number on one of the Conquistadores, but don’t eliminate him. We are treated to some Hart/Blanchard work. Bret hits Blanchard with a German suplex and seemingly gets three, but Tully gets his shoulder up and since Bret’s were down, the Hard Foundation is out at 27:03.

The Rockers and Brain Busters start brawling without tagging and the referees toss both teams at 28:47. They fight to the entrance leaving the Bulldogs and Powers of Pain against Los Conquistadores and Demolition. The Conquistadores do surprisingly well and survive a tandem elbow from Davey Boy and the Barbarian. Dynamite Kid hits his awesome snap suplex but misses a diving headbutt. Smash clotheslines him and gets rid of the Bulldogs at 36:02. The Powers of Pain have no help anymore. They get worked over for a while until Mr. Fuji pulls the ropes down on Smash and he gets counted out at 39:33. Demolition argue with Mr. Fuji and end up slamming him outside. After they leave, the Powers of Pain help Fuji up and seem to be on his side. Fuji trips up Uno and Barbarian hits a diving headbutt to end things. It looks like they went with a double turn. Fun match but I think it went too long and dragged near the final portion. Still, everyone got their shine and we were treated to some really enjoyable exchanges. (Survivors: The Power of Pain) ***½

Bad News Brown gets interviewed about walking out. He says that he doesn’t have any friends or partners and wants a WWF Title shot. The Powers of Pain and Mr. Fuji get interviewed next and hype up their new partnership. The heel team for the next match also gets promo time but nothing special gets said. The main event babyface team does too and it’s great because of how over the top and nuts it is. Hogan, Savage, Hillbilly Jim, Hercules and Koko B. Ware. Incredible mix of personalities.

Andre the Giant, Dino Bravo, Harley Race, Mr. Perfect and Rick Rude w/ Bobby Heenan and Frenchy Martin def. Jake Roberts, Jim Duggan, Ken Patera, Scott Casey and Tito Santana in 30:03

Andre’s team won their match at the inaugural Survivor Series a year earlier. Again, the fans are molten for all of this. Mr. Perfect isn’t even wearing a singlet tonight. He’s out there in trunks and, along with Rude, does a good chunk of the work for his team, which makes sense since they’re the best. Hacksaw gets a pretty big pop when he comes in and beats up Perfect. Credit to Hennig, who is bumping all over the place for the babyfaces. Patera is first to go home following a Rude Awakening at 8:18. I have to be honest, I’m not even sure who Casey is. He comes in next and doesn’t get in much. He falls to a side suplex at 9:27. Those two getting eliminated first makes sense. Tito, or Chico as Jesse calls him, starts to take the heat until he nails a cross body. He busts out the flying forearm to send Race packing at 13:19. Captain Andre comes in to stop momentum and beats the shit out of Tito. Tito makes the critical mistake of trying a sunset flip on Andre, who just sits on him and gets the three at 14:40.

Duggan runs in and gets Andre tied up in the ropes. He and Jake just hammer away on him while the crowd goes nuts. Andre gets untied and the heels take control again. They use some underhanded tactics to really do a number on Jake. Jake starts nailing Bravo and hits the short clothesline. He signals for the DDT and people pop hard. Rude breaks it up and gets the tag. Duggan gets the hot tag shortly after and does his really basic stuff. Like an idiot, Duggan tries to combat their cheating by using his 2×4 blatantly in front of the referee. He gets disqualified at 21:22 and has the nerve to shout BULLSHIT when they toss him. Duggan is such a moron. Jake is now left alone against four men. Jake fights like a man down 4-1. He doesn’t just power up and beat everyone. He wisely sticks and moves. He takes breathers outside. It’s great. Rude wears him down and Monsoon makes a good point that they should be tagging in and out to take advantage of the numbers game. Rude plays around too much and taunts, leading to him falling to the DDT at 28:45. Andre was too slow to break it up. He starts violently choking and biting Jake. He gets disqualified for not breaking at the count of five at 29:39. Mr. Perfect wisely sneaks in and pins Jake following an Andre headbutt. Better than I thought it would be. Expertly booked to get around the limitations of some of the older, broken down guys. Jake played his role well and the right guy got the winning pin. (Survivors: Dino Bravo and Mr. Perfect) ***¼

The main event heel team is interviewed and all shout insults at the babyface unit. This entire promo is made by Akeem’s random little dance moves.

Hercules, Hillbilly Jim, Hulk Hogan, Koko B. Ware and WWF Champion Randy Savage w/ Miss Elizabeth def. Akeem, Big Bossman, King Haku, Red Rooster and Ted Dibiase w/ Bobby Heenan, Slick and Virgil in 29:10
This is already amazing because the heels come out to “Jive Soul Bro.” Egomaniac Hulk Hogan HAS to come out on his own, to his own theme, after the WWF Champion brings out the other team members. What a dick. The teams trade early advantages and allow the lesser guys like Koko and Rooster, to get some shit in. Akeem’s mannerisms are just hilarious. Rooster starts taking offense from everyone, including the Hogan big boot and Macho Man elbow to send him home at 6:11. Haku busts out a dropkick to take down Hogan. Nothing of real note happens again until Akeem splashes Hillbilly to eliminate him at 9:59. Koko attacks Akeem from behind, only to tag Hogan back in instantly. They take turns trying to get Akeem off his feet. Bossman comes in and gets rid of Koko with the Bossman Slam at 11:45. Bossman also delivers a great spinebuster to Hogan as the Twin Towers work him over. That is, of course, until he Hulks up. He makes the mistake of tagging in Hercules. He does beat up Ted Dibiase, but a distraction by Virgil allows Ted to roll him up at 16:36.

Randy Savage comes in and repeats WrestleMania IV by beating Dibiase, this time with a schoolboy of his own at 16:57. Hogan is back in to take some of the heat. The three heels left tag in and out frequently to keep a fresh man in. Jesse yells at them for not going for the pin on Hogan and he’s right. Bossman climbs to the top and wastes time taunting, so he misses his splash. Savage gets the hot tag, but then Slick nails him and it stops the momentum. The Twin Towers handcuff Hulk Hogan outside and Bossman gets counted out because he was the legal man. Akeem gets disqualified for shoving the referee and double teaming Savage at around 26:00. So they’re protecting the Twin Towers for their eventual loss to the Mega Powers. All of a sudden, Haku finds himself alone with the Mega Powers. He beats up Savage a bunch until Hogan takes out the manages. Elizabeth retrieves the handcuff keys and Hogan is free. He gets the hot tag and it’s big boot, body slam and leg drop time to finish it. Another good match for this show. It was again wisely booked and kept the right people strong. They worked the crowd very well. (Survivors: Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage) **¾

Hulk Hogan picks up Elizabeth like Randy Savage did at WrestleMania IV, causing Savage to give him a crazed look. The seeds have been set for WrestleMania V.

The final score: review Good
The 411
These old Survivor Series shows are just a blast. Nothing on this show screams must see, but with the card only being four matches long and full of constant moving parts, it is such an easy watch. The booking was spot on, the matches were enjoyable and it’s just good television.