Thanksgiving in the WWF can only mean one thing, Survivor Series! The Civic Center in Hartford Connecticut is the venue on the 22 of November for a ppv like no other. This year’s event truly lives up to the tag line as there is a giant egg in the arena, for some reason, and the main event is a Sole Survivor’s match, in which the remaining babyface survivors with take on the surviving heels. This is, also, the very first ppv to be aired on the Armed Forces Network as Operation Desert Shield is in full swing in the Saudi desert outside Iraq and Kuwait. Gorilla Monsoon and, a very hyped up, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper are on the commentary desk as they send it to the back for an interview.
The Ultimate Warrior’s team delivers an okay promo but there is little doubt that Warrior has some sort of screw loose by the end of it.
Match 1: The Perfect Team (Mr. Perfect and Demolition) VS The Ultimate Warriors (The Texas Tornado (Kerry Von Erich the Intercontinental Champion), The Legion of Doom, and Ultimate Warrior (The WWF Champion))
This match starts off pretty basic as the two side jockey for the advantage. Kerry goes for the Claw early but it’s not successful. He tags Warrior in who makes short work of Ax and eliminates him. Following the elimination, chaos erupts for a moment. It’s long enough for Crush to get the advantage over Warrior but he manages to tag in Hawk. Crush, likewise, makes a tag to Perfect who, while having the advantage over Hawk, still allows him to get off some big moves. His comeback is completed by a big flying clothesline off the top rope that brings about chaos once again. This time, both Legion of Doom and Demolition are disqualified. On their way out of the ring LOD get a standing ovation from the crowd.
Mr. Perfect is now alone against the guy he lost the IC title to and the WWF Champion. Kerry is on top of Perfect to start this part of the match but Perfect, coyly, rolls out of the ring to catch his breath. This turns out to be a bad idea as Warrior attacks both him and Heenan. The attack to Heenan allows Prefect to return to the ring and begin his comeback. A well timed thumb to the eye and a Perfectplex puts Kerry out for the pin and elimination. Following the elimination, Perfect puts in some great work on Warrior and manages to get him down for a two count but that’s all. Warrior “Hulks up” and delivers his five moves of doom to win the match.
The greatness of the match lies in Mr. Perfect. He is such a great worker that he makes anyone he’s in the ring with shine. The ending sequences with Von Erich and Warrior are very entertaining while making you want to see the babyfaces get over. Without him this would, probably, be a dud of a match.
Match Grade: B
Before the next match there’s a quick interview with Dibiase’s team in which he talks about, but refuses to name, the “mystery partner” on his team.
Match 2: The Dream Team (Dusty Rhodes, Koko B. Ware, and The Hart Foundation) VS The Million Dollar Team (“Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase, Rhythm and Blues, and Mystery Partner)
THE MYSTERY PARTNER IS THE UNDERTAKER!!!! I apologize for the all caps but it’s the freaking Undertaker in his first match in WWF. It’s such a historic moment for such a huge superstar that it still gives me goose bumps. If we can’t ‘mark out’ over Undertaker’s debut then what’s the point of being wrestling fans? This moment, though no one knew it at the time, would forever change the landscape of the WWF/WWE. If you’re going to watch this ppv then soak it in and enjoy it because it’s a giant moment in Professional Wrestling History.
Once Taker makes his way to the ring, he dominates right away. He delivers his very first Tombstone to Koko and pins him easily. He then tags out and the rest of both teams go back and forth looking for the advantage. Anvil, eventually, puts a vicious powerslam on Honky to eliminate him. Dusty and Dibiase end up in the ring together and Dusty is laying in some good work. He tags in Anvil who get distracted by Virgil and pinned. Taker is in for a minute but soon tags Dibiase who loses the advantage. He tags Taker in and watches as Taker comes off the top rope and puts Dusty down for the pin. Brother Love (Taker’s manager at the time) attacks Dusty on the outside so Dusty fights back. Undertaker goes to protect his manager and gets counted out.
Bret Hart is the last man left on his team but he evens the odds up quickly by eliminating Valentine via small package. He then proceeds to work over Dibiase until it really looks like he’ll win. Dibiase manages a meager comeback that puts them both on the same footing. There are then a flurry of close count false finishes capped off by Bret going to a cross body that Dibiase rolls through to get the pin and win the match.
Besides being historic, this match is fun. Seeing Taker make his debut adds a lot to it but the in ring work is spectacular. The last sequence between Bret and Dibiase is so fast and so well done that I was yelling at my TV when it was over. Undertaker does a great job getting himself over as an indestructible monster. There’s really not much to pick apart here. It's a fun match that is worthy of its place in history.
Match Grade: A
Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ team is interviewed prior to their match. Jake was the victim of an attack that “blinded” him in one eye. He’s wearing a full white contact in said eye, which makes him look even more menacing than usual.
Match 3: The Visionaries (Rick “The Model” Martel, Power & Glory, and Warlord) VS The Vipers (Jake “The Snake” Roberts, The Rockers, and Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka)
*Due to the involvement of Jimmy Snuka I will not be reviewing this match.
Match Grade: N/A
Next up is a promo from Hogan’s team where he touches on the conflict in the middle east and mentions Desert Shield. This one also serves to remind us all of how great a talker Big Boss Man was.
Match 4: The Natural Disasters (Earthquake, Dino Bravo, Haku, and The Barbarian) VS The Hulkamaniacs (Hulk Hogan, “Hacksaw” Jim Dugan, Tugboat, and Big Boss Man)
The bell rings and the usual back and forth to gain an advantage begin. The heels get up on Dugan for a bit but a tag to Boss Man sees that disappear as he quickly pins Haku. A distraction my Heenan on the outside results in Boss Man getting sent into the post and the momentum changes once again. Dugan is soon tagged in only to tumble to the floor when Jimmy Hart pulls the ropes down as he hits them. He becomes irate and comes back into the ring with his signature 2x4, which gets him quickly disqualified.
Following Dugan’s exit, Hogan and Quake are in the ring together. Hogan slams Quake and gets to work trying to wear him down. Quake, however, gets enough separation to tag Bravo in, only for Hogan to roll him up in a small package and eliminate him. Boss Man tags in but Quake dispatches him in short order to even the teams up at two apiece.
Hogan comes back into the match and sets to working Quake over yet again. However, a tag to Tugboat and some fighting outside the ring leads the two big men to be counted out and eliminated. As one would expect, Barbarian works over Hogan for a bit until they hit a double clothesline. Hogan “Hulks Up”, hits his five moves of doom, and pins Barbarian to win the match. Hogan poses.
At this point, Hogan’s shtick has gotten really stale for me and leads to me not really enjoying this already mediocre match. There’s very little to really hang one’s hat on here and the formulaic finish all but buries it.
Match Grade: C-
Next, we are treated to a great interview of “Macho King” Randy Savage by Mean Gene. The purpose of the interview is for Savage to call out Ultimate Warrior and he does so in classic Macho King fashion. Being that it’s thanksgiving, he calls him the ultimate turkey. He goes on to refer to him as the ultimate chicken and the ultimate loser as well. No one delivers a promo like Savage and this one does not disappoint.
Match 5: The Alliance (Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana, and The Bushwackers) VS The Mercenaries (Sgt. Slaughter, Boris Zhukov, and The Orient Express)
On the way to the ring, Slaughter delivers a very long-winded promo that never really goes anywhere. It’s not his best work. Once they make it to the ring and the bell rings Tito hits Boris with a flying forearm and eliminates him, almost immediately. The Bushwackers eliminate the first and then Tito the second member of The Orient Express.
This leaves Slaughter all alone against the four babyfaces. He takes it in stride though as he quickly eliminates Volkoff, Luke, and Butch in very short order. He has quite the problem with Tito, though. He works him over for quite a while but the pinfall keeps eluding him. Slaughter runs Tito into the ref in order to knock the ref out. Tito manages to hit a flying forearm but fails to capitalize after the beating he’s taken. Slaughter’s manager attacks Tito with the Iraqi flag he carries and Slaughter goes for the pin. The bell rings but it’s announced that Tito is the winner by disqualification.
I enjoyed this match. I’m a big fan of Tito Santana and it’s nice to see him get most of the offense in this one. It’s a fun match that isn’t the most exciting but delivers where it counts.
Match Grade: B-
Following the match, we get a promo from the five members of the heel team in the main event. Since it’s going to be five against three they are quite confident.
The segment that follows is one of the worst decisions ever made in professional wrestling. All ppv the commentators have been talking about this giant egg in the arena. Well, this is when it hatches. Mean Gene is beside it and as soon as the ridiculous looking turkey costumed person stands up, the crowd immediately boos. It’s the debut of the Gobblety Gooker. The thing drags poor Mean Gene to the ring and makes him hit the ropes and dance. Monsoon and Piper are doing their best to try to put it over. At one point Piper says “The kids love it” as the camera shows an arena full of confused and bewildered faces. It’s just awful.
After that segment, it’s a relief to get a promo from the members of the babyface main event team. It’s pretty good promo but listen for Warrior to say “Arriba-derci”. I kid you not; I had to rewind it to make sure that it’s actually what he said.
Main Event: Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, and Tito Santana VS “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase, Rick “The Model” Martel, Power & Glory, and The Warlord.
Once again, Tito delivers a flying forearm almost immediately after the bell rings and eliminates Warlord. He misses again Dibiase though and gets pinned for his efforts. Hogan comes in after the elimination but the heels get right on top of him. They take turns working him over for a while. Power & Glory set him up and deliver they’re ‘superplex and splash’ finisher but it only yields a two count. Shortly afterwards, Hogan reverses a move by Roma and eliminates him.
Warrior comes in and works over Martel until he gets him set up for Hogan’s big boot. Martel decides he’d rather take a walk and gets counted out. The rest of the match follows the Hogan and Warrior finish script to a tee. Hogan works over Dibiase, gets the leg drop, and eliminates him. Warrior does his five moves of doom on Hercules and pins him. Hogan and Warrior are the sole survivors.
It’s great to see Tito in a main event match, even if it’s only for a few minutes. This isn’t a bad match by any means but they do kind of telegraph the finish. Of course it’s the two biggest stars in the company so what else could the finish be?
Match Grade: C+
Let’s be honest, this is an average ppv. The one thing that sets this apart is the debut of The Undertaker. If he hadn’t debuted here then we’d remember it for the Gobblety Gooker, so I’m glad he did. The matches range from meh to very good. The first two matches really carry the brunt of the positive things about this ppv while the rest serve to drag them down. If you want to watch the rest, then be my guest, but I’d probably stop after the second match.
Overall Grade: C+