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Flashback: WWE Survivor Series 1988 Review

WWE Survivor Series 88Thursday, November 24th, 1988 – Richfield, Ohio – Richfield Coliseum – Welcome everyone to the recap of the second annual World Wrestling Federation Thanksgiving pay-per-view tradition, Survivor Series! Like mentioned in other recap blogs, I decided to review all these Survivor Series because I never sat down and watched all them before, so I thought if I do, why not write a review on them?

So we’re here at Survivor Series 1988. 1988 was a big year for the World Wrestling Federation – in Febuary, the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase paid off the Hebner twin brothers to screw WWF Champion Hulk Hogan out of the WWF title on a Saturday Night’s Main Event taping. When this happened, Andre the Giant (the man who defeated Hogan for the title) gave the Million Dollar Man the title. This was unacceptable to then WWF president Jack Tuney, so he had the title be put up in a 14-man tournament, taking place at WrestleMania IV. In the finals, Macho Man Randy Savage defeated the Million Dollar Man to win the title. Since then, Hogan and Savage teamed up to take on the team of DiBiase and Andre.

The show opens up with awesome 80’s graphics and Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “the Body” Ventura open the show. Ventura is wearing pilgrim getup. No surprise.

The Ultimate Warrior (WWF Intercontinental Champion), Brutus “the Barber” Beefcake, Sam Houston, the Blue Blazer, and Jim Brunzell versus the Honky Tonk Man, Danny Davis, Greg “the Hammer” Valentine, “Outlaw” Ron Bass, and Bad News Brown

I’m very happy that both teams for this match came out to the captain’s theme song. The Warrior’s team came out in cheers and Honky’s team came out to boos. Classic!

Valentine and Beefcake open the match and open the card! Monsoon reminded me right away on calling Beekcake “Bruti.” Valentine tagged in Davis right away and Davis got eliminated in record time to the Sleeper Hold.

Seeing the Blue Blazer makes me miss Owen Hart. That man died way too soon.

Monsoon keeps saying butt load of times that Survivor Series is a “hot” item and everyone’s wanting to watch it (if not come to it live).

One thing I wish current superstars would learn from the superstars from back then were how scarry the guys looked back then. Granted I was only five months old when this pay-per-view happened, I still wouldn’t mess with 1988 Bad News Brown. I still wouldn’t mess with 2012 Bad News Brown.

Bad News eliminated Brunzell with the Ghetto Blaster.

Bad News Brown eliminated himself via walk-out (which lead to a count-out) when Valentine accidently hit him. Ventura and Monsoon mentioned that Bad News doesn’t team up with people and isn’t a team player. This was a great way to build up a heel when he pulled a whippy move by walking out.

Ron Bass eliminated Sam Houston via a power slam. Simple moves equal simple finishes in the ‘80s, the “simple days.”

Poor Blue Blazer’s legs turned blue when Greg Valentine eliminated him with the Figure Four Leg Lock (giving three-on-two advantage heels)! Wooo! Then Beefcake went in to attack Valentine and it was mentioned by the announcers that those men were tag team partners about a year before. Thanks for the history lesson gentlemen!

Honky was about to hit Beefcake with his awesome finisher, the Shake, Rattle, and Roll, and Beefcake countered and Bass was tagged in to take out Beefcake. Bass did some damage and Warrior started to shake his ropes. Honky was tagged back in and Beefcake started to “Barber-Up” and slapped on the Sleeper to Honky. Both men got out of the ring and Beefcake slapped on the Sleeper again and got both men eliminated via count-out. Dumby Beefcake.

Bass and Valentine double-teamed the Warrior until the ref kicked one of them out.

Bass was eliminated by a double axe smash by the Warrior. Twenty second later, Valentine was eliminated the same way. This was a great way to put over the Intercontinental Champion.

Sole Survivor: the Ultimate Warrior!

Demolition (WWF Tag Team Champions), Los Conquistadores, the Brain Busters, the Rougeau Brothers, and Bolsheviks versus the Powers of Pain, the Rockers, the British Bulldogs, the Hart Foundation, and the Young Stallions

I love seeing the five team versus five team Survivor Series matches! A whole lot of man in these Survivor Series matches!

Like the first match, each team came out to the captain’s theme song. I feel like each team is more unified than each team coming out to their own theme song (like what happens nowadays).

One of the Conquistadores and the Davey Boy starts out the match.

I believe I mentioned it in the 1987 Survivor Series blog that I think it’s sad that the tag team division nowadays looks really bad looking at the Tag Team Survivor Series matches in the first few years of the Series PPVs.

One thing I enjoy about this Series match is that there are a lot of quick tags between the teams. I guess that’s what happens when you have twenty men who want to try to show off their in-ring skill on one of the biggest shows of the year when there are a lot of eyes on them.

The Rougeau brothers were eliminated by the Harts when Bret small packaged Raymond. This was a great way to get over the “Excellence of Execution” nickname over.

Ventura said that the Brain Busters could keep up with the Hart Foundation hold-for-hold. I wish the Four Horsemen would have come over from the NWA to the WWF back in 1989. They would have gone over huge in the WWF and made a lot more money (in my opinion) then they could of in the NWA. The Brain Busters easily could have feuded with the Hart Foundation, Flair could of feuded with Savage and Hogan, etc. the

Monsoon told us that Axe and the Warlord was the match-up of this match that we wanted to see. Really? And what is a Warlord? Someone who loves to be in a war?

After a powerslam that Anvil gave to Tully, there was a nasty rash under Anvil’s arm. Gross! I wouldn’t want to wrestle him if I seen that before the match. I wonder how he got that! I wonder why he didn’t bandage that up.

Jim Powers got eliminated by Boris Zhukov with a reverse cross body.

After Powers got eliminated the match slowed down a lot since the start.

Boris got eliminated after Jennetty pinned him with a sunset flip! Go Rockers! Go rock the night away with all the pretty ladies! You guys will be main eventers sometime in the future…maybe. I have a feeling that one of you will become a main eventer some day, and it isn’t who we all think.

Out of the two Survivor Series matches so far on the card, I have to say this match is better than the Warrior/Honky match. It might be due to this match is getting more time than the other match, or it could be that there are better wrestlers in this match. It also could be these men’s styles are more to what I’m interested it, which could be the case. Either way, I highly suggest YouTubing this match.

I always find it odd to see odd seeing grown men wearing hot pink tights.

There was a swerve when Bret Hart hit Tully with a German Suplex and Tully’s shoulder was up but Bret’s shoulders were down. In essence, he pinned himself. I can be a jerk and say it’s because he’s Canadian, but I live maybe four hours away from the Canada/Minnesota border, so I won’t go there. I’m pretty Canadian to those darn Texans.

The Brain Busters and the Rockers got double disqualified. Dumbies. Bobby Hennen (the Busters’ manager) was pretty upset that his team got eliminated by being stupid. Sorry Brain!

The Bulldogs were eliminated when Dynimate Kid got eliminated by a clothesline from Smash. That close line was sloppy and makes John “Bradshaw” Layfield’s Close line from Hell look like the Sweet Chin Music!

Fuji was on the apron and the ref was counting at him to get him down. That didn’t work. When Smash went to the ropes, Fuji opened the ropes, making his man get counted-out. Fuji was stunned because of it and Axe got in his face, confronting him on why did he make his team get eliminated. Fuji turned on his team and nailed Axe with his cane. Axe body slammed Fuji on the floor outside the ring. The Powers of Pain went out and helped Fuji up and helped him over to their corner. Was this suppose to be a double-turn?

In the end, the Powers of Pain won.

Sole Survivors: The Powers of Pain.

Demolition came back and they pounded the Powers of Pain. Fuji yelled at the Powers of Pain to get out and walked out with them. Yes, this was a double-turn. I remembered seeing this when I watched this originally two years ago with a old roommate when he pointed that out to me. Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer mentioned this past week on a call-in edition of his podcast that this was one of the crappiest double-turns that he can recall. That’s saying something, in my opinion.

Sean Mooney interviewed Bad News Brown backstage. Bad News said that everyone wants to be the first to defeat him and he isn’t willing to give anyone that satisfaction. He also called the card “Survival Series.” He also said that he should be challenging Randy Savage for the WWF title and he has defeated everyone that came in front of him. Bad News Brown made his intentions clear on why he feels like he should be the number one contender for Macho Man’s title.

“Mean” Gene Okerlund was backstage with Mr. Fuji and the Powers of Pain. Fuji said he made Demolition and the rest of what he said I couldn’t understand.

The announcers discuss the next two Survivor Series matches. The interviews must be a bathroom break for the card.

“Mean” Gene is back with Andre’s team. I enjoyed this interview. Every guy who talked put over their partners. Also, there are two Minnesotans wrestling and a Minnesotan manager. I like this heavy-Minnesotan team! I surely hope they win!

Sean Mooney was backstage with the Mega Powers’ team. The bird is going crazy! The bird must be on the booger sugar! These men seem to have a shorter time to talk than Andre’s team. Could it be due to Hogan needing a lot of time? Hogan feels sorry for the opposing team because they’ll lose. Hogan always calls Ted DiBiase the “Multi-Million Dollar Man.” I never understand why. Isn’t it implied that he has more than one million dollars by his nickname?

Jake “the Snake” Roberts, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Ken Patera, “El Matador” Tito Santana, and Scott Casey versus Andre the Giant, Dino Bravo, “the King” Harley Race, Mr. Perfect, and “Ravishing” Rick Rude

Rick Rude can say that he was able to team up with Andre the Giant on the first two Survivor Series (and it’s sad that both men aren’t with us anymore; I’m happy they both are in “Wrestlers Heaven”).

It’s really odd to see Mr. Perfect in plain black tights, black knee pads, and white boots. He was very heelish to wear black tights and knee pads and white boots.

Patera got eliminated by the Rude Awakening and the announcers said that “no one gets up from that!” I’m happy that they also put over the simple finishers, making it seem real to the fans watching at home that if they get hit with the Rude Awakening by the Ravishing One, they won’t get up right away.

When Santana hit Perfect with a small package, I’m surprised that Ventura didn’t make another racist joke against Santana. Especially when Ventura’s another guy hailing from the great state of Minnesota. I wish I could take a trip there sometime….

Race hit Santana with a piledriver and tried to pin him but didn’t hook the leg, which let Santana kick out. It got Race in trouble because he got high crossed and got eliminated.

Andre came in right away to take out Santana. Its four-on-three, advantage heels. It’s really looking good for the heels. Andre sat on Santana’s chest to get the victory.

Duggan made a mad-dash in to attack Andre and Andre got tied up in the ropes (which is his spot at the end of his professional wrestling run) and both Duggan and Roberts took advantage of Andre being tied up.

Andre looks like he’s in real bad shape when he’s out on the apron. If it wasn’t for the ropes, I’m not sure if he’d be able to stand on his own. I feel bad for that guy and give him props for wrestling when he isn’t doing well.

Duggan got himself eliminated when he grabbed his 2×4 and nailed Bravo with it. This was a stupid choice for leaving Roberts by himself against four heels. Duggan should have given it more thought.

Rude got DDTed and eliminated by Roberts. When the count was being made, Andre came in to attack Roberts right away.

Andre got himself eliminated by choking Roberts to the five-count, which left him weak to get eliminated right away.

Sole Survivors: Mr. Perfect and Dino Bravo.

“Mean” Gene’s backstage with the Big Boss Man’s team and the Boss Man was huge back then! He looked a lot better later in his career when he was smaller. He was always agile for being a big man and that’s a great thing for him.

Big Boss Man, Akeem, “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, King Haku, and the Red Rooster versus Hulk Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage (WWF Champion), Koko B. Ware, Hercules, and Hillbilly Jim

It was odd for me to see Ted DiBiase to walk out to Slick’s theme song (the manager to Akeem and the Boss Man at the time).

To no surprise, the Mega Powers team had to come out to two themes. The four men to Macho’s theme and Hogan to his own theme song. What a selfish jerk!

I think it’s sad that the WWE had to block out the letters “WWF” and the scratched WWF symbol, enough that Koko’s booty was blurred for the match cause he had “WWF” on his butt. That’s kind of awkward for him.

I’m surprised, when Hogan came in to face the Rooster, there really wasn’t any crowd reaction. Hogan hit him with the Big Boot, tagged in Macho (who got a big reaction), and Savage hit the Big Elbow to eliminate the Rooster.

Poor Hillbilly Jim got splashed by Akeem and eliminated. I guess Jim never had any pigs or cows that splashed him on the farm. If he did, he’d be able to counter that and out-smart Akeem.

Koko tried to splash Akeem into the corner and got batted face-first into the turnbuckle and Boss Man got tagged in and hit the Boss Man Slam onto him and pinned him for the first elimination from the Mega Powers team.

Hogan came in to go toe-to-toe with the Boss Man and the crowd goes wild for their encounter. Hogan would go on to bite Boss Man, hit him with a Big Boot, body slam him, and try to shoulder block him twice and got spinbustered. Oh Hogan, you should have used your smarts.

Akeem came in to soften Hogan some more.

Hogan would get beat up from the four opposing members and would be hit with a small Hulk-Up and let Hercules go against the Million Dollar Man. The Herc would also hit DiBiase with a knee lift (but not a Million Dollar knee lift). He’d go on and get pinned, leaving the Mega Powers to go four-on-two.

With that, Savage ran in and school-boyed DiBiase, causing him to be eliminiated.

Hogan got nailed by the Boss Man Slam and Boss Man wasn’t to smart and didn’t cover Hogan. The announcers even were questioning that choice. Boss Man went to the top rope and went off and Hogan rolled out of the way.

Hogan got handcuffed to the bottom rope on the outside, leaving Savage by himself. With this, Boss Man got counted out, which gave him apple opportunity to hit Hogan with his nightstick. We all know Hogan is a criminal and needed to get beat-up! Shortly after, Akeem got himself disqualified. What dumb big men!

Macho went and tried to tag Hogan but he wasn’t there! It’s all because the Boss Man handcuffed him! If Haku was smart, he’d defeat Savage and easily win and Hogan would have to be counted out! With Macho being a few fries short of a combo meal, I’m sure this would “push” Macho off into the deep end.

Slick and Bobby Heneen got nailed and Elizabeth got the keys to the handcuffs and Hogan went to his corner and was cheering Savage to get a tag. Hogan got it when Haku nailed Savage into Hogan for the tag.

When Hogan got in, he hit the Big Boot, hit the body slam, hit the Big Leg Drop, and got the victory. That easy. Poor Macho got beat up when the story was being told that Hogan was getting out of the handcuffs by his wife! What a jerk Hogan is!

Hogan would go on posing when Elizabeth is checking on Savage, making sure he’s okay.

Sole Survivors: Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage.

Hogan picked Elizabeth up in celebration and we all could tell that Savage had “that eye” towards Hogan. Like said in the 1987 review, Hogan has to end the pay-per-view and make it about him and his posing. Who cares about anyone else. He’s a jerk and no wonder why nobody liked to team with him.

Philosopher’s Corner: The tag team Survivor Series match was the highlight of the night and if you wanted to see the Mega Powers lead towards their explosion, their main event Survivor Series match is a must-see. I have to say the 1987 Survivor Series was a lot better than this year’s but the 1988 Survivor Series is light years better than the last few years Survivor Series, hands down.

So if you want to watch this Survivor Series for the historical aspect of it, go right ahead. But looking at it as a whole, its okay if you pass this Survivor Series for another one. It was nice to see a select few wrestlers that I mentioned when they came on the screen, but other than that, it really didn’t matter to me much. They were either on the 87 Survivor Series or the 89 Series. But anyways, thanks for reading and stay classy!

Eric Darsie is known as a ‘common-man’ among his peers, at least he thinks so. He works hard with his hands in the heart of Minnesota and on his free time, he thugs and a bugs with his family and friends. Whenever he doesn’t do that, he’s found to be writing. Now more of a rare thing, he’s gems could be found here. If you would like to see more of Eric’s work outside of the professional world, check him out at http://vintagedarsie.wordpress.com/, http://www.writerscafe.org/Darsie/writing/, and on Twitter @IAmDarsie.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric’s work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

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