WWF Survivor Series 1995
by Scrooge McSuck
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.
The Underdogs vs. The Body Donnas (w/ Sunny & Ted Dibiase):
(Barry Horowitz, Marty Jannetty, Hakushi, Bob Holly vs. Skip, Rad Radford, Dr. Tom Prichard, The 1-2-3 Kid)
What an incredible way to start off the show. The Body Donnas were originally down a member, losing Jean Pierre-Lafitte sometime in the few weeks leading up to the show, so the Kid, who turned heel no less than a week earlier, costing Razor Ramon a Non-Title match to Sid, is here to replace him and go over... I mean, take up a roster spot. For those foreign to the year in wrestling: 1995 edition, yes, the WWF not only gave Horowitz a mild push, but they turned him babyface in the process, gave him snazzed up music resembling "Avah Nagilah", and buried Chris Candido in the process, who happens to be who he was feuding with at the time. Hakushi had turned face at SummerSlam following miscommunication with Skip, and Rad Radford (Louie Spicolli and former enhancement talent for years) was a Body Donna flunkie. The inclusion of Jannetty and Prichard is filler, as well as Bob Holly, who is subbing for Al Snow, who was working his Avatar gimmick, at the time.
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.
Alundra Blayze, Kyoko Inoue, Sakie Hasegawa, Chaparita Asari vs. Bertha Faye, Aja Kong, Tomoko Watanabe, Lioness Asuka:
This is certainly an interesting match to put on a WWF PPV, since only Blayze and Faye are known to WWF fans, and there was zero hype for it, from what I remember (see also: 1987 Women's Survivor Match). Jim Ross calls most of the match by himself, since Vince has no idea who the hell any of these women are. The action is incredibly fast for the match, and eliminations strung close together, which is a shame because I've always enjoyed this match, even as a kid. Blayze draws the proverbial first blood, pinning Lioness Asuka, with her signature German suplex, at 1:43. From there, Aja Kong goes insane on everything walking. Hasegawa puts up a valiant effort, but gets knocked the fuck out and pinned at 3:57. Asari (who appears to be 16 years old and weighs 60 pounds) comes in against the massive Kong, and, well, if you don't know what happens, you don't know rasslin'. She just bounces off of Kong, and gets finished off with a big splash at 4:26. Blayze comes in to get a little offense in, but then tags out to Inoue, who gets squashed trying for a sunset flip, and pinned at 5:03, leaving Blayze against Kong, Faye, and Watanabe. Blayze has her way with Watanabe, and eventually pins her with a poorly executed piledriver at 6:32. Bertha Faye is next on the hits list, as she is disposed of quite easily with the German Suplex at 7:13. Much like in the previous match, we get a pretty sweet mini-match between Blayze and Kong. Blayze gets some good moves in, but it's not enough here, and Kong eventually back-hands Blayze into WCW for the three count at 10:03, to become the sole survivor of the match. The Blayze/Kong issue would never be resolved, as Blayze left the WWF roughly three weeks later, dumped the women's title in the trash can on an episode of Nitro, and has never been seen again in the WWF/E. Pretty good match, but way too short to really pick up steam and go anywhere.
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Goldust:
Time for the show to start going downhill. Goldust (Dustin Rhodes) had been hyped up for most of the summer, using a series of bizarre vignettes of him cutting promos, quoting famous movies and just being strange, and only debuted the previous month at In Your House, squashing Marty Jannetty. It wasn't until later, from this point, that the "homosexual" behavior to freak his opponents out became part of his character, and actually give him some heat. There's no backstory to this, other than Bigelow doesn't like Goldust, and needs to job to someone on his way out of the company. It's been 14 years (not the Guns N' Roses song), and I still hate this match. It's just a slow, plodding pile of junk that really makes you want to stab yourself in the eyes. Goldust dominates for the most part, but it's mostly with restholds and ways to stall. Bigelow eventually mounts his comeback, but he ends up missing a charge to the corner, and Goldust puts him down with a running bulldog (Dustin's old finisher in WCW!) for the three count at 8:20. DUD Absolutely nothing redeeming about this match. Bigelow wasn't trying hard, and Rhodes was still working the kinks out of the Goldust gimmick, so expecting anything that resembles a well structured match was asking for a lot.
The DarkSide vs. The Royals:
(The Undertaker, Savio Vega, Henry Godwinn, Fatu vs. King Mabel, Jerry Lawler, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Isaac Yankem D.D.S.)
Blech! This match, on paper, looks ugly, and the overall execution wasn't much prettier. Anyway, some backstory. The Undertaker and Mabel was the key feud here. On an episode of Raw a few weeks earlier, Mabel attacked the Undertaker, and the beating was so bad, the Undertaker's face was CRUSHED. So, in order to compete here, the Undertaker is wearing a mask designed to protect his face from further destruction. Other notables in the match is the feud between Henry Godwinn and Helmsley, because the Greenwich snob/hillbilly farmer market had yet to be cornered, I guess. Everyone else is filler, I guess, but come on, we've got Makin' a Difference Fatu and an evil dentist here, too. That's entertainment, folks!
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.
Wild Card Match:
Woah, woah, woah... what the hell is going on here? That was my exact reaction when this PPV originally aired. In storylines, it just happened, without little explanation. Internet mythos is that it was done to balance out the card, due to a lack of balanced heels and faces... I don't know how much I believe that. You could've easily, EASILY, done Shawn, Razor, Ahmed, and maybe Bam Bam vs. Sid, Bulldog, Owen, and Yokozuna, or throw Douglas in Sid's place, it doesn't matter. Teaming Shawn with Sid and Douglas with Ramon is meant to add tension to the match, because of their histories. I'm surprised that the WWF didn't beat the dead horse more by having the Tag Champs (Yoko and Owen) on opposite teams, just to add further emphasis to the plot... (thinks for a second) Wait, they weren't Tag Champs anymore, I don't think. It might've been the Smoking Gunns, but they aren't on the card for whatever reason (sucky tag team division). Ahmed made his debut a few weeks earlier, and at the time, I still had no idea how his name was pronounced, thanks to Vince McMahon's marble-mouth (Ah-MAAAAD, as he would say). Ahmed made a "big" impression by slamming Yokozuna on an episode of Raw. Take THAT, Lex Luger. Fuck you for jumping to a company that was willing to use you for more than opening act tag team wrestler.
Shawn Michaels, Sycho Sid, The British Bulldog, Ahmed Johnson vs. Dean Douglas, Razor Ramon, Owen Hart, Yokozuna:
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.
WWF Championship, No Holds Barred Match:
Welcome to the end of the road for the magnificent title run of Big Daddy Cool. It was a year earlier, when Bret lost the title to Bob Backlund, who then lost the title days later to Diesel at Madison Square Garden. What we got from there is largely considered one of the worst championship runs in WWE history, and with programs against the likes of Sid and Mabel, it's hard not to accept that majority opinion. This marks the third match between these two in the last 18-months, and neither of their previous matches had conclusive finishes. At the 1994 King of the Ring, Diesel won by DQ due to interference from the no-longer employed Jim Neidhart, and at the 1995 Royal Rumble, they went to a No Contest due to excessive interference from Shawn Michaels, Double J, and Bob Backlund, hence the No Holds Barred sanctioning of the match.
Diesel © vs. Bret "Hitman" Hart:
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?
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