The Lost Review:
- Live from Landover, MD. The 1995 edition of the Survivor Series marked the first time (and permanent) straying from the whole "thanksgiving or thanksgiving eve" tradition. Commentary duties for tonight will be done by Vince McMahon, Good Ol' J.R., and the returning for the 87th time Mr. Perfect. That was a nice little surprise for a little mark like myself. I would keep hoping he'd make a return to the ring, but that wouldn't happen until jumping to WCW at the beginning of 1997, and by then, it wasn't really worth the wait.
If you couldn't tell from the lineup in this one, the crowd isn't very into it, except for when the Kid is in, or the inevitable confrontation between Horowitz and Skip. Jannetty gets the little girl pop, too, but that doesn't matter since those aren't real fans. Before the match, Ramon tries to bum rush the ring to get his hands on the Kid, but to no avail. Pretty fast paced match to begin with, as it seems everyone gets in the match at one point, sans Horowitz, but who cares about him, anyway? The first elimination comes when Holly pins Prichard with a flying cross body at 5:41. Skip runs in from behind and rolls up Holly, pinning him at 5:47. Well, easy come, easy go, you might say. So now the least important members of each team are gone. Hakushi comes in and works a pretty decent mini-match with the Kid, but he fails to tag out when he's in trouble, and a heel kick to the back of the head finishes Hakushi off at 8:34. Horowitz comes in for the first time and gets whooped by the Kid and Radford. Skip eventually tags in to get him some of the Jobbing (Explitive Deleted), but then he tags out to Rad Radford soon after. Radford does some push-ups to impress Skip, and Horowitz cradles Radford for the "shocking" three count at 11:49. The Kid becomes the hired gun again, as he attacks Horowitz from behind, and quickly dispatches of him with a sharp leg drop, sending Horowitz back to the locker room at 12:48, leaving Jannetty against two men. Jannetty and Skip do their thing, and it's the most into the match the crowd has been so far. It goes back and forth until they head to the top rope, and Jannetty knocks Skip out with a powerbomb. Obviously, that's enough for a three count, at 15:26. Now it's time for Jannetty and the Kid to have a nice little match, and Jannetty dominates for the most part, getting two counts on his various signature moves. The end is near, so out comes Sid to run a foul of the rules. The referee gets distracted, and Sid drops Jannetty throat first across the top rope, allowing the Kid to pin Jannetty and be declared the Sole Survivor, at 19:09. Backstage, Ramon is pissed off, throwing various things around. Really good match, for the most part, even though most of these guys were either gone from the company soon after, or repackaged into terrible gimmicks. The stuff between the Kid and anyone was enjoyable and had good heat, and the last 5-6 minutes in particular was very entertaining.
I could say, without much hesitation, that this was the worst elimination match in the history of the Survivor Series. Yes, even worse than the stuff featuring Doink's in 1993 and 1994. At least those matches had a couple of cheap laughs. This one just blows. Roughly ten-minutes goes by, and it's pretty much a standard tag team match, with no eliminations and a lot of dead heat segments. Then, the Undertaker gets the hot tag, his first action in the match, and it's time to clean house. Jerry Lawler is gone at 12:20. Isaac Yankem is next in, and is gone roughly 30-seconds later. Don't worry, he would get his revenge two years later pretending to be the Undertaker's long-thought-to-be-dead half-brother... don't ask, if you don't know. Hunter Hearst Helmsley tries his luck, and a chokeslam across the entire length of the ring sends him to the locker room at 13:35. Mabel, sorry, KING Mabel, playing the role of Honkytonk Man, says fuck this, and takes a walk, meaning the Undertaker is the Survivor at 14:21... oh wait, he had partners, too, I guess. Savio, Fatu, and H.O.G. What a wonderful collection of suck.
I've always had mixed feelings about the quality of the match. It's not outstanding, but it's not bad, but at the same time, it just seems to drag because there really is no purpose to this. Nothing that happens here really carried over to anything else, in terms of tension between teammates. Douglas works a lot of the match before becoming the first victim of betrayal, with partner Ramon screwing him over, and allowing HBK to hit Sweet Chin Music for the pinfall at 7:30. Things drag for a while, with Sid working Ramon over for too long. Sid and Shawn attempt a double-team, but Shawn's SWM accidentally KO's Sid, and to this day, Shawn's "oh well" reaction still kind of makes me laugh. Ramon recovers to eliminate Sid at 16:18. Sid, pissed off, comes to and lays Shawn out with the Powerbomb. The trend the entire match seems to point out a lot of major head-shots to Shawn, including a big leg drop from Yokozuna, and an enziguri from Owen Hart. FORSHADOWING! Things go south for Wild Card Team #2, fast. Ahmed Johnson puts Owen away with the Pearl River Plunge at 21:49, and Davey Boy finishes Razor Ramon off with the powerslam and some distractions from the 1-2-3 Kid, at 24:08. Yokozuna fights off Ahmed and Shawn, and Bulldog actually saves Yokozuna from being pinned, but he ends up being taken out by his own partners, Ahmed slams Yokozuna again, and hits the suckiest splash for the final elimination at 27:24, making Shawn, Ahmed, and Bulldog the Survivors. Yes, the Bulldog celebrates the victory like he didn't try and screw his own team over. This one is worth a look for curiousity sake, but overall, it's a major let-down from what it could've been.
Other than his WWF swan song at Good Friends, Better Enemies, this is probably the best match I have ever seen from Kevin Nash. Things start off on a cute note, with both men undoing turnbuckles from opposite corners of the ring. Like in their previous matches, Bret controls mostly by taking Diesel off his feet and working the legs, which gives Diesel a bit of sympathy heat. I don't understand why fans boo'ed Bret for doing that, but then he starts heeling it up, bashing Diesel's leg with a chair and tying him up with some cables from ringside. By any means necessary! Diesel ends up fighting that monster Hart off, using his limited arsenal of power moves to his advantage, and pacing himself enough not to show how little he normally would do. Towards the end of the match, the action spills outside the ring, and we get a historic moment, as Diesel shoves Bret Hart off the apron, through the Spanish announcers table. This was like "HOLY SHIT!" to us back in 1995, especially those of us who didn't know what ECW was. Bret Hart plays the role of barely mobile corpse, dragging his sorry 'self back into the ring. Diesel sets up for the Powerbomb, but Bret collapses like a sack of potatoes. Diesel pulls Bret back up, but FAKE OUT! Bret is fine, cradles Diesel, and wins his third WWF Championship at 24:54. Diesel kind of looks on in shock, then snaps, and powerbombs the new Champion into oblivion, kicking off "Tweener Diesel", which eventually lead to "I'm leaving for WCW Diesel." Again, a magnificent main event, and well worth checking out the show, just for this one match. It's too bad that Bret Hart's reign was booked like a total joke, fluke, or second fiddle, depending on your point of view.
Final Thoughts: It's hard to not recommend this edition of the Survivor Series. There's a few clunkers in the middle of the show, but the main event more than delivered, and three of the elimination matches were quite fun, even if the highest profile of them disappoints a little bit. Much like any Survivor Series from the early years, if you're fine with very little angle development going on, and like a bunch of tag team matches, then this is the show for you. Just try not to shake your head too much at the lame gimmicks and odd teams put together and you'll be fine. Wasn't this review worth the near-11 month long wait to be completed?