Friday, 21 November 2008

WWF Survivor Series 1987 - DVD Review

With this year’s Survivor Series just a few days away, I’m going to carry on with the tradition I stared a while back by reviewing a past big four show, by going back in time twenty-one years to the very first Survivor Series, held on Thanksgiving Day in 1987. The legendary team of Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura are behind the microphone for this one.

The show begins with the Honkytonk Man’s team, featuring “King” Harley Race, Hercules, “Dangerous” Danny Davis, and “Outlaw” Ron Bass, against “Macho Man” Randy Savage’s team of Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. Even though I’ve never seen this show before, this match immediately brought back fond memories of some of the stars I watched and enjoyed all those years ago. The action here was top notch from start to finish, and even though there were some cuts, it didn’t spoil my enjoyment. In the end it came down to three-on-one, Savage, Roberts and Steamboat against Honkytonk, and after the Intercontinental Champion took a ton of punishment, he bolted for the door, getting counted out in the process and giving the victory to Savage’s team.

Match two saw the women in action, with The Glamour Girls, Dawn Marie, Donna Christianello and Sensational Sherri taking on Velvet McIntyre, Rockin’ Robin, The Jumping Bomb Angels and Fabulous Moolah. It made for a refreshing change to hear two commentators that didn’t constantly refer to the women’s vital statistics. Comparing the women’s action here to that of the current Divas division would be, as the old Bobby Heenan saying goes, like comparing ice cream to horse manure. The action here was terrific, with Sherri the standout in this match. My one criticism of this match would be about messrs Monsoon and Ventura, who didn’t do their research this well, especially as they didn’t seem to know the individual names of the Jumping Bomb Angels, which was particularly vexing as they were the second best thing in this match. Eventually it got down to the two tag-teams, the Angels against the Glamour Girls, with the Japanese team taking out Judy Martin and Leilani Kai in quick succession. Two good matches in a row here guys!

Then it’s on to the tag-team Survivor Series match, with Demolition, The New Dream Team, The Islanders, The Hart Foundation, and The Bolsheviks against The British Bulldogs, The Young Stallions, The Rougeaus, The Killer Bees, and Strike Force. The rules for this match were slightly different - if one member of a team got eliminated, then their partner had to go as well. Now, this is another example of how different the WWE of today is, and mainly because the WWE tag-team division of today is so damn poor. There’s ten great teams in this match, going all out in a great display to achieve victory, and it was a joy to behold, although it was hard to see what was going on at times because there were so many men involved in this one (which is why they used a camera crane for the same match the following year). There’s no real standout performances here, because each and every performance here is great. Two teams came out on top on this one, as B. Brian Blair, doing the old switcheroo with the mask on, pinned Tama of the Islanders to win the match, leaving the Killer Bees and the Stallions as the survivors.

Main event time, with Andre the Giant’s team, “Ravishing” Rick Rude, King Kong Bundy, “The Natural” Butch Reed, and the One Man Gang, against Hulk Hogan’s team, Bam Bam Bigelow, Ken Patera, “The Rock” Don Muraco, and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff. The crowd went absolutely wild during this one, which wasn’t surprising because this was at the height of Hulkamania. As with the previous matches, this one was filled with great action from start to finish, with the main focus being on the return of the Giant after Hogan defeated him at Wrestlemania III. It was kind of awe aspiring to see Andre, the Gang and Bundy on the same team, three of the best big men professional wrestling has ever seen. There were some really good performances in this one, particularly from Bigelow, although Andre, whose health problems were starting to take their toll on him by this stage of his career, spent a great deal of the match on the ring apron. Surprisingly, Hogan wasn’t the sole survivor here, as he was counted out while brawling with Bundy and the Gang, leaving Bigelow against the three evil behemoths. Bam Bam managed to take out Bundy after a slingshot splash over the top rope, and the Gang after the big man missed a top rope splash, but he couldn’t defeat Andre, who took Bigelow out after a double under hook suplex. Things didn’t end there though, as Hogan returned to the ring to clobber the Giant and chase him away. Well, I suppose you couldn’t end a WWF pay-per-view in those days without a Hogan pose down, could you?

In conclusion - this is actually the first time I’ve seen this show, and I wasn’t disappointed. Although some would consider these particular matches to be somewhat overlong, I enjoyed them immensely, and from start to finish, I wasn’t disappointed. The action was good, and it was also good to see some of the greats of wrestling’s past in action again, and as this is available as a tagged classic here (along with the 1988 Survivor Series, which I’ll review next year) in Britain (and probably via a torrent somewhere), I recommend that you try and see this show for yourselves, because, if, like me, you’re an old school kind of guy, you won’t be disappointed.