Survivor Series build is here! I’ll try to update the state of the competition, time slots, and matches as we go along. This is the first time that the WWF has tried to build for a PPV that wasn’t WrestleMania. The Wrestling Classic was a one-off with no build. I’m very intrigued to see how this works out. To the matches!
– October 3rd, 1987, from Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts
Bob Orton Jr. vs. Don Muraco
Pre-Match Thoughts: This card drew 8,500 fans to the Boston Garden. That’s a light crowd, but considering the state of the crew, it could have been even worse. Billy Graham and Randy Savage were the only draws on the show. I think it’s imperative to review one of these matches considering what happened on TV to lead to them.
Match Review: Weird to see Muraco getting cheers. Orton attacks him to start the bout, and chokes him with his vest. Doherty’s on commentary, and he screwed up by calling wrestling “the business.” OH NO! Orton continues to punch Muraco, until Muraco comes back with some chops. He rams Orton’s face into the canvas as well, but Orton comes back with a rake to the eyes. Orton gives Muraco a shoulderbreaker, and rams his arm into the ring post as well. He puts a really weak looking armbar on Muraco, one that makes me question how anyone could think that wrestling is real. Orton’s hands were…caressing Muraco’s arm. They work this hold for a while, but Muraco eventually reverses it, until Orton re-establishes the hold by pulling Muraco’s hair for help. With the official’s back turned, Muraco hits Orton with a low blow. Well, then. Muraco drops a knee, and headbutts Orton in the groin. Dirty move. Orton is able to give Muraco a bodyslam, then tries a splash from the second rope, but misses. Muraco sends Orton into the buckle, but misses a charge and Orton tries to pin Muraco while holding the ropes. The referee catches it, Muraco reverses, and gets the pinfall win at 8:15.
My Thoughts: Less said about this the better. It wasn’t a solid match, but I don’t believe Orton is to blame for how the match turned out. Muraco just wasn’t very good anymore. *.
– Taped to air October 4th, 1987, on Wrestling Challenge, from Metro Centre in Rockford, Illinois
Danny Davis & The Hart Foundation (WWF Tag Team Champions, w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Jim Duggan & The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers
Pre-Match Thoughts: JIM DUGGAN GOT HIS FUCKIN’ JOB BACK. According to the WON, the announcers were supposed to pretend that Duggan never left. Before his entrance, I wondered how the fans will react. After his entrance, I realized that they reacted very loudly to him. Guess what happened with Sheik didn’t matter to them, if they even knew about it.
Match Review: Raymond and Bret will start the contest off, and they do an excellent bit where Bret’s cradle attempt is blocked, he gets dropkicked by Jacques, bodyslammed by Raymond, and splashed by Jacques. That gets 2. Jimmy Hart complains on an insert promo, as Duggan and Neidhart tag in. Duggan slams Neidhart and Danny Davis, as this has turned into somewhat of a free for all. Jacques tags in, and Bret quickly attacks him from behind. So many illegal moves and double teams going on here! Bret gives Jacques a backbreaker for a 2 count, and summarily tags in Neidhart. That does last long, Bret comes back in, and Davis has to hold Jacques in place. Jacques moves, Bret knees Davis, and Raymond makes the tag in. He puts a sleeper on Bret, and that causes Danny Davis to hit Jacques from behind with the MEGAPHONE. That gets Davis and the Foundation disqualified at 2:46.
My Thoughts: This was supposed to re-debut Duggan, regardless of how the announcers commented on him. It worked well enough. On the super short match scale, this was about *3/4. They tried to pack in as much as humanly possible into a match that was less than 3 minutes long.
– October 6th, 1987, from the Mecca in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Hercules (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Paul Orndorff (w/Oliver Humperdink)
Pre-Match Thoughts: The likelihood of this being a good match isn’t very high, but that’s not the point of my watching it. The point of watching it will be made clear soon.
Match Review: Hercules attacks Orndorff to start the match off, knocking him out of the ring. For some reason Lanny Poffo is on commentary here. Hercules tries to throw Orndorff over the top again, but Orndorff skins the cat…I didn’t know he could do that! He knocks Hercules down with some punches, then throws him into the corner, but misses a charge. Hercules also misses a charge, and Orndorff kicks him on a backdrop attempt. Quick start here. Hercules hits Orndorff with a clothesline, then lands a second one for a 2 count. Hercules puts Orndorff in a bear hug, which is where good commentators are supposed to carry the match to hold your interest, but that doesn’t happen. Orndorff tries a small package, getting a 2 count, then hits Hercules with a clothesline. A knee lift follows, and Orndorff hits Hercules with a dropkick. That looked really bad. Orndorff lands an elbow from the top rope, and walks over to clock Heenan, who got on the ring apron. Orndorff goes for the piledriver, hits Hercules with it, and in comes RICK RUDE, getting Hercules disqualified at 6:23.
He attacks Orndorff, and clotheslines him. Then he throws Orndorff out of the ring, and I suppose this establishes Rude as a legitimate force. Orndorff rushes back into the ring with his manager’s cane, but Rude clears out before he can be attacked. Orndorff gets on the microphone, and says Rick Rude needs to get in the ring and face him. That’s quite unlikely.
My Thoughts: This wasn’t as bad as expected, but it was nothing spectacular. Started off well, but slowed way down. *1/2. Good angle after the match.
Now, at this time, Survivor Series is supposed to start at 7:30 PM, and Starrcade at 4 PM. The point is for them to avoid coming in direct competition for viewers. Crockett also believed that cable companies would allow both shows to be on their PPV system is they did that.
– October 16th, 1987, from Madison Square Garden, in New York City, New York
Butch Reed vs. Superstar Billy Graham in a STEEL CAGE MATCH
Pre-Match Thoughts: It’s time to continue the catastrophe with this BIG TIME STEEL CAGE MATCH. Apparently MSG sold out for this show. Monsoon is on commentary with NICK BOCKWINKEL!
Match Review: Superstar looks like shit walking to the ring. Reed hits him with a knee as he enters the cage, then pulls Superstar in for more punishment. The cage door finally shuts, and we’re underway. Reed rams Superstar into the cage, and chokes him with a headband or something like that. He has Superstar tied to the cage, and it looks like there’s a noose around his neck. Superstar blocks a charge, gets rid of that noose, and sends Reed into the cage. Now it’s Superstar’s turn to choke Reed, and he hits Reed with a clothesline too. Superstar tries to climb over the top, but Reed blocks that and goes back to work. He and Superstar collide in the middle of the ring, then Reed goes for the door…and gets stopped. Superstar tries a sleeper, but Reed rushes towards the cage, ducks down, and causes Graham to run into the cage. Reed starts working over Superstar’s right leg, and tries to leave the cage, but Superstar grabs Reed and causes him to crotch himself on the top rope. Superstar hits Reed with a knee to the nuts, Reed comes back with one of his own, and I’m getting really bored. Bockwinkel’s commentary is the only good thing about this match. Reed tries to climb over the top once again, and this time, Superstar follows. Both guys are near the top of the cage, and Superstar knocks Reed back into the cage with an elbow. Superstar shoots Reed into the ropes, and puts THE BEAR HUG on him. Eh. Reed rams him into the cage, then tries to climb over the top once again. Superstar prevents Reed’s escape by pulling Reed’s leg until he falls back into the ring, and we’re back at square one. Reed goes for BRASS KNUCKLES in his tights, but misses a series of fist drops. Superstar gives him an atomic drop, the kuckles fall off, and Superstar clocks Reed with them. He tumbles out of the cage, the crowd goes crazy, and he’s won at 10:59. HAHA.
My Thoughts: That was a hot finish to a horrendous match. Wasn’t a lot of heat on this match either. It was what it was, and the finish brings it up to a DUD. Only one more Superstar match left to watch, now…
The Islanders vs. Strike Force in a best 2 out of 3 falls match
Pre-Match Thoughts: I’ve heard great things about this combination. Hopefully they put together something excellent. For years, the only Strike Force matches I had seen were their title victory, title loss, and WM V breakup. Not so anymore!
Fall #1: Haku and Santana will start the match off, and they trade bombs. Martel tags in, and they give Haku a double clothesline. That move looked spectacular. Martel gives Haku a dropkick, and tags in Santana, who shoulderblocks Haku. He gives Haku a THESZ PRESS, for a 2 count. Martel tags in again, and he works a headlock for a short time, then they do a cradle reversal bit, and Haku misses an elbow drop. Haku comes back with a back suplex, and tags in Tama for the first time. Tama gives Martel some headbutts, and a flying back elbow as well. Haku and Tama make an illegal switch, then legally switch, and Tama comes off the top rope with a flying chop. He covers for 2, and Martel comes back with a forearm to Tama’s face. Tama misses a charge to the corner after a whip, then Martel makes the tag out. Santana runs in, and cleans house. He puts a figure-four on Tama, but Haku rushes in to break it up. Martel comes in to clear the ring, gets ushered back to the corner, and Haku knocks Santana out of the ring with a headbutt. Haku then tags in, and rams Santana’s knee into the ring post. Haku drops a bunch of elbows on Santana’s knee, then Tama tags in to do the same thing. Santana tries to drive Tama back towards his corner, but Haku enters the ring. So does Martel. While the referee ushers Martel back to the corner, the Islanders give Santana a DOUBLE FLYING HEADBUTT. That gets them the pinfall at 7:11.
Fall #2: There’s supposed to be a rest period, but the Islanders don’t want that. Eventually, the match restarts, and it’s Santana in there with Tama. Tama continues to work on the leg, but Santana gouges Tama’s eyes to get him to let go. Tama tries a small package, but the referee is distracted. So, Martel rolls Santana on top, and gets a pinfall for Strike Force at 8:07. We’re tied up!
Fall #3: Haku switches in to start the third fall, which is cheating. They’re heels though, they get away with it. Tama tags back in, puts a half crab on Santana, and Haku switches in to do the same. Haku misses a big elbow drop, and tags in Tama for another double flying headbutt. They both miss, and Santana finally makes the tag out. Martel comes in, and the women in the crowd are going nuts. He gives Tama a backdrop, Haku a dropkick, and then pulls Tama out of the corner. Into the buckle Tama goes, and Martel gives Tama a springboard cross-body for 2. Wow. Haku sets up Martel for a flying knee, Tama hits his partner on accident, and Martel cradles up Tama for the win at 10:27. GREAT FINISH!
My Thoughts: That was such a hot finishing segment. No wonder the WWF decided to put the belts on Strike Force. The match started off well, went through a slight lull during the second fall, and then really picked up again. There were other matches between these two teams, and everyone should watch one of them. ***.
At this point, Crockett’s plans have already changed. They will apparently only be able to run a show of 2 and a half hours, due to the WWF buying satellite time. They have some closed circuit sites as well.
PILEDRIVER MUSIC VIDEOS
No dates on these, but I wanted to share.
That’s Strike Force’s video. That’s wack as hell and so is the song. In my opinion, anyway.
Mean Gene’s. I don’t even know what to make of this.
SLICK’S! IT’S THE BEST, JIVE SOUL BRO!
HERE COMES THE AX, HERE COMES THE SMASHER, WE’RE DEMOLITION, WALKING DISASTERSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! And until December, that’s all of them.
– Taped to air October 25th, 1987, on Wrestling Challenge, from Veterans Memorial Arena in Green Bay, Wisconsin
Terry Gibbs vs. THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR
Pre-Match Thoughts: It’s the debut of the Ultimate Warrior! He has no music. How sad.
Match Review: Monsoon puts Warrior over as being bigger than Rick Rude. Good idea. Gibbs attacks Warrior to start the match, and Warrior responds with a hip toss. He picks up Gibbs, slams him, and gives him an atomic drop. YES, AN ULTIMATE WARRIOR INSERT PROMO! Warrior hip tosses Gibbs again, and hits him with a clothesline too. Warrior press slams him, lands a big splash, and that is all at 1:38.
My Thoughts: Could anyone have expected Warrior to become what he became? Sort of. Everyone knew Vince wanted a big guy to push post-Hogan, and he found one. It was a matter of whether or not Warrior would improve. He did improve, although to what degree was up for debate. No rating for the match.
– November 1st, 1987, from Maple Leaf Gardens, in Toronto, Ontario
Rick Rude vs. Paul Orndorff in a STEEL CAGE MATCH
Pre-Match Thoughts: I suppose this is the blowoff match for their mini-feud. Hopefully this is better than the Reed/Graham match. According to Monsoon, the ramp at ringside does not count towards winning the match. Hm.
Match Review: Orndorff attacks Rude on the ramp, and throws him in the cage. He lands an elbow from the top, and follows that with an atomic drop on Rude. Rude tries to ram Orndorff into the cage, but gets thrown into the turnbuckle. He blocks an Orndorff charge, follows with a clothesline, then rams him into the cage for real this time. The last of those looked like it really hurt. Rude gives Orndorff a backbreaker and goes for the door, but takes time to taunt, which allows Orndorff to catch up to him. Orndorff pulls Rude back into the ring, and goes to climb over the fence. He makes it out of the cage, but Rude pulls him back in by his hair. Rude gives Orndorff a bodyslam, and makes his way up to the top rope. He decides to head to the top of the cage, and goes for…a BIG FIST DROP. He lands it, and poses for the ladies. Good for him. To the door Rude goes, but Orndorff blocks that. Rude slams Orndorff again, gives him a couple of fist drops, and on a whip, Rude hits the back of his head on the cage. Wonder if that was legit. Orndorff goes for the door, but Rude catches up, and goes back to work. This kind of sucks. Rude goes to the top rope, lands another fist drop, and tries to climb out of the cage now. Orndorff goes up as well, confronts Rude, and crotches him on the top rope. Orndorff tries to climb out, and does so for the victory at 7:29.
My Thoughts: That was so boring. Not to be a massively negative guy, but nothing about that was entertaining. Of course, Orndorff had to win the match because babyfaces in the WWF always win cage matches, and the crowd always goes home happy. Good for them. 1/2*.
– Taped to air November 7th, 1987, on Superstars, from War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York
Strike Force vs. The Hart Foundation (w/Jimmy Hart) for the WWF Tag Team championships
Pre-Match Thoughts: Huge match for TV. I’ve been eagerly anticipating it, as I’ve never watched it before. Strike Force was over, there’s no question about that. That’s appealing to Vince because these are his kind of babyfaces. The Hart Foundation have had a good title reign, with plenty of good matches. Let’s see how this goes.
Match Review: Martel and Bret start the match, with Martel hitting Bret with a pair of dropkicks. Martel follows with an arm drag, and Santana heads in so they can give Bret a double back elbow. He tries a cradle on Bret too, but Bret blocks it and tags out. Neidhart and Santana trade bombs, then Bret hits Santana in the back with a knee as Santana runs the ropes. Neidhart drags Santana off the ring apron, then distracts the referee so that Bret can elbow Santana. The Foundation also does an illegal switch, which is cool with the referee. Okay. Neidhart tags in and tosses Santana to the outside, where Bret launches him into the guardrail. Back in, Neidhart covers for a 2 count. After Neidhart makes Santana taste the canvas with his face, he tags in Bret for their backbreaker-elbow combination. That gets another 2 count. Bret then slams Santana, but misses an elbow drop. Bret tags the Anvil, who comes in and distracts the referee so that Bret can choke the challenger. Bret comes back in, and gets destroyed with a throw to the turnbuckle. I love that bump. Martel finally makes the tag in, and he goes toe to toe with Neidhart. Eventually he dropkicks Neidhart, knocks Bret off the apron, and gives Neidhart a springboard cross-body for 2. Such an impressive move for the time period. Santana kicks Bret out of the ring, and Strike Force gives Neidhart a double bodyslam. Martel puts Neidhart in a BOSTON CRAB, and Neidhart…GIVES UP AT 9:08. The crowd cannot believe it!
My Thoughts: This wasn’t as spectacular a match as you may have thought, but it was still pretty strong for a WWF TV match. Title changes can be like that though. It’s impossible to know what’s going through a person’s head when they’re losing the title in those days. Maybe they think they’re on the outs, that they won’t get their push back, who knows. Considering that those thoughts can go through somebody’s head if they don’t know how secure their place was, a title match can be underwhelming. **1/2. I thought the Foundation were great champions, but it will be nice to see them in more mid-card matches, as they were generally longer affairs in that time period.
Now, after this aired on TV, JCP announced that they would be airing Starrcade on PPV in a very small amount of markets. They also announced that the closed-circuit showings would take place on tape delay, at 8 PM. In doing so, they now compete with Survivor Series directly for viewers, and it’s Thanksgiving, so people don’t have to go out at 4 PM to watch the show.
– Taped to air November 14th, 1987, on Superstars, from War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York
MILLION DOLLAR MAN BASKETBALL CHALLENGE
DiBiase had an injured knee, so he couldn’t wrestle at this taping. They had a different plan instead, which was to show one of his already taped segments. He’s going to give somebody a chance to win his money! It’s a kid this time! Why does he have to kick the ball away from the black kid? The racist connotations there are hard to miss, although possibly unintentional.
Butch Reed (w/Slick) vs. Superstar Billy Graham
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is the big feud ending match, shown on TV to make everyone happy! Although, which part would make them most happy, I do not yet know. The match or the feud being over.
Match Review: Reed attacks Superstar as he gets in the ring, and we’re off. He chokes Superstar with his own tank top, then Reed rams Superstar’s knee into the corner of the ring. With Slick distracting, Reed hits Graham on that knee with a steel chair. Ouch. Reed continues to work over the leg, and we’re treated to an insert promo given by the One Man Gang. Reed now heads up top, and gets hit in the gut on the way down. Superstar clobbers Reed until he falls out of the ring, then drags in Slick. Superstar puts THE BEAR HUG on Slick, which causes One Man Gang to hit the ring and attack Superstar from behind, leading to Reed getting DQ’d at 2:25.
The crowd chants for Hogan, but Gang splashes Superstar repeatedly on his bad hip. Don Muraco eventually hits the ring, takes out Reed with Slick’s cane, and that puts an end to the beating. The medics are there to put Graham on a stretcher, but Reed attacks Muraco from behind, which gives Gang yet another chance to splash Superstar. DAMN.
My Thoughts: This was pretty much the end of Graham’s in-ring career. He was no longer good enough to have a decent match, but that’s still sad. 1/4* for the bout. Post-match was better, and it led to Muraco replacing Graham in the Survivor Series main event.
That’s it for November, or at least the pre-Survivor Series stuff. Going to review what happened after Survivor Series later. Personally, I have never watched Survivor Series 1987 or Starrcade 87 in their entirety before. I’m in the small minority of hardcore wrestling fans who have not. I’m eagerly anticipating it, and I’m going to watch Starrcade first as it occured earlier in the day. Both PPV’s have been presented as a huge deal, and I’m hoping that they can live up to that. Unfortunately, Bob Orton got fired at the end of November, and I don’t know why yet. Hopefully I’ll find out. Sadly, there wasn’t much good stuff here, I’m hoping for some improvements. So, Starrcade…next week. See you guys then!
Best: The Islanders vs. Strike Force. Solid match.
Worst: Butch Reed vs. Superstar feud. This was so bad that I watched it to see what new lows would be reached.