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Richfield Coliseum – Richfield, Ohio – November 24, 1988
MATCH #1: Survivor Series Elimination Match – Ultimate Warrior, Brutus Beefcake, Sam Houston, the Blue Blazer & Jim Brunzell vs. Honky Tonk Man, Danny Davis, Greg Valentine, Ron Bass & Bad News Brown
Warrior and Beefcake are co-captains, as are Honky and Valentine. Beefcake and Valentine start the match. Davis quickly tags in and Beefcake quickly eliminates him with the sleeper at 1:19. Valentine comes right back in. More tags are made and we end up with Brown and Brunzell in the ring. Brown evens the odds by delivering the Ghetto Blaster to eliminate Brunzell at 5:13. Houston comes in and Valentine tries to help Brown double-team him but ends up blasting him with a forearm to the face. Brown shoves Valentine and bails on his team, taking the countout at 7:49. Houston again tries to give his team the advantage but the Outlaw is able to keep him grounded. Bass hits Houston with a powerslam to eliminate him at 10:11. Warrior comes in for the first time and cleans house. Blazer comes in and flies all over the ring. Valentine comes in and they blow a leapfrog, of all things. Blazer goes up top and Honky pushes him off, giving Valentine the chance to lock on the Figure-Four Leglock and Blazer is gone at 12:22. Beefcake and Honky get in the ring now and Beefcake is all over him. He locks on the Sleeper and they tumble to the floor, and Beefcake again locks on the Sleeper and they both get counted out at 15:41. That leaves Warrior at a two-on-one disadvantage. Even so, Warrior fights back and drills Bass with a Polish Hammer to eliminate him at 17:27. Moments later he hits Valentine with another Polish Hammer to get the win at 17:50. I don’t remember Warrior using that as a finisher, ever. This was solid for an opener and I really like how they used Bad News Brown.
MATCH #2: Survivor Series Elimination Match – Demolition, Los Conquistadores, the Brain Busters, the Rougeau Brothers & the Bolsheviks vs. Powers of Pain, the Rockers, the British Bulldogs, the Hart Foundation & the Young Stallions
Team Demolition is accompanied by Mr. Fuji, Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart, and Slick. This may be an even better collection of teams than last year’s tag teams match. Davey Boy Smith and Jacques Rougeau start the match, but you know with 20 guys out there no one is going to stay in very long in the early going. Ventura’s inability to tell the Rougeau Brothers apart is truly mind boggling. It’s worth noting that Bret Hart gets a sizable pop when he enters the fray. The crowd is right to be excited, as Hart quickly traps Raymond in a small package to eliminate the Rougeaus at 5:38. The crowd also gets jazzed when the Powers of Pain and Demolition get in the ring together. Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy watching Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard? It’s ridiculous. Marty Jannetty is awesome at this point too. The action is coming fast and furious and never stops. Jim Powers tries a cross body block off the second rope on Boris Zhukov but Zhukov rolls through and gets the pin at 15:35. My, how far the Young Stallions have fallen in a year. Bodies continue flying all over the place, and Jannetty is able to pin Zhukov with a sunset flip at 18:19. After about another 10 minutes of continuous action, Hart delivers a German Suplex to Blanchard, but he neglects to lift his shoulder and Blanchard does exactly that to eliminate the Hart Foundation at 27:07. The Busters and the Rockers get into a four-way brawl pretty quickly after that and both teams are disqualified at 28:08. We’re down to two teams apiece now. The Bulldogs use their power to dominate the Conquistadores, and the Powers of Pain follow suit. Dynamite goes for the diving headbutt on Smash but misses, and Smash flattens him with a clothesline to eliminate the Bulldogs at 36:17. The powers of Pain get worked over and Fuji gets on the apron for some reason. Smash goes to bounce off the ropes but Fuji holds the ropes open and Smash crashes the floor and gets counted out at 39:47. Ax gets in Fuji’s face about it, and shrugs off Fuji’s cane shots. Smash throws Fuji into a bodyslam on the floor before they make their way to the back. Meanwhile the match is down to two teams. The Powers of Pain come over to check on Fuji and they appear to have adopted them as their manager! This is one of the more famous double-turns in WWE history. Fuji then trips one of the Conquistadores with his cane, and Barbarian hits a falling headbutt to finish the match at 42:23. That was rather lengthy but with all the great action and the awesome double-turn at the end it was more than worth it. It wasn’t quite as good as last year’s version but it’s pretty close.
MATCH #3: Survivor Series Elimination Match – Jake Roberts, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Ken Patera, Tito Santana & Scott Casey vs. Andre the Giant, Dino Bravo, Harley Race, Mr. Perfect & Rick Rude
Roberts and Duggan are the co-captains of their team, while Andre and Bravo are the co-captains of the opposing team. Bobby Heenan and Frenchie Martin are with the Andre/Bravo team. The main feuds here are Roberts versus Andre and Duggan versus Bravo. I don’t recall any of the other participants being engaged in a feud. Patera and Rude start the match. As is the case with most Survivor Series matches, they don’t last too long as lots of tags are made and everyone gets a chance to go in the early parts of the match. After some back and forth between all 10 guys, Rude taps Patera in the Rude Awakening to get the pin at 8:21. Moments later Bravo catches Casey with the Side Suplex to eliminate him at 9:30 and give his team a five-on-three advantage. Santana gets worked over for a bit but he’s able to catch Race with the Flying Forearm for their first elimination at 13:19. Andre comes in and immediately wears Santana down with strikes and chokes. Santana foolishly tries a sunset flip and Andre sits down to eliminate him at 14:42. Duggan comes in and clotheslines Andre, tying him up in the ropes! I love how Andre loved doing that spot. Roberts comes in and is quickly overwhelmed by the numbers game. Finally he makes a hot tag to Duggan, who goes to work on Bravo. Martin grabs Duggan’s leg from the floor and he tumbles out. Duggan gets pissed and brings his 2×4 in the ring and blasts Bravo with it right in front of the referee for the DQ at 21:22. Roberts is facing ridiculous odds at this point. Team Andre uses the numbers game and keeps a fresh man in on Roberts at pretty much all times. Rude takes their advantage a little too lightly, and Roberts catches him with a quick DDT to eliminate him at 28:45. Andre immediately comes in and chokes Roberts in the corner, and doesn’t break at the count of five, so the referee disqualifies him at 29:32. Roberts is pretty much lifeless at this point and Perfect comes in to pick the bones and win the match at 30:01. That was a little bit long but I love the structure of the eliminations and I really dig the finish.
MATCH #4: Survivor Series Elimination Match – Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Koko B. Ware, Hercules & Hillbilly Jim vs. Big Boss Man, Akeem, Ted DiBiase, King Haku & the Red Rooster
The Twin Towers’ team has Slick, Bobby Heenan, and Virgil in their corner. The main feuds here are Hogan and Savage versus Boss Man and Akeem, and Hercules versus Ted DiBiase. Savage and DiBiase start the match, and they wrestled many times in 1988. They go back and forth briefly and when Hercules gets tagged in DiBiase bails and tags the Rooster. More tags are made as everyone gets a chance to show their stuff in the early going. Rooster gets isolated and Hogan bodyslams him, putting him in perfect position for Savage to hit the Macho Elbow and score the first elimination at 6:12. Hogan and Savage work over Haku for a bit. More tags are made and Akeem is in there with Hercules. Akeem misses an elbow and Hercules makes the tag to Hillbilly. After a brief flurry Akeem knocks Hillbilly down and hits the 747 to even the odds at 9:56. The Mega Powers’ team goes right to work on Akeem, trying to eliminate the big man. Ware comes in but falls victim to the size advantage of Akeem. Boss Man gets tagged in for the first time and hits the Boss Man Slam to eliminate Ware at 11:47. Hogan comes in and this is the matchup the fans paid to see! It takes a while for Hogan to knock Boss Man down, but eventually he bodyslams him. Hogan then celebrates, allowing Boss Man to hit a huge spinebuster. The heels work on Hogan for a bit, but when DiBiase tags in, Hogan powers up and makes the hot tag to Hercules! This is the other match fans wanted to see here. Virgil trips Hercules from the outside, allowing DiBiase to hit a knee to the back and a rollup to eliminate Hercules at 16:36. DiBiase jaws with Hercules, and Savage sneaks in for a quick rollup to eliminate the Million Dollar Man at 16:59! That was quick thinking by on Savage’s part. Unfortunately for the Mega Powers, the Twin Towers team takes over on Hogan and wears him down using their size and power. Boss Man hits the Boss Man Slam but does not go for a cover for some reason. He goes up top but misses a big splash! That allows Hogan to make the hot tag, and he’s a house afire. Slick grabs his leg and trips him up, giving control back to the Boss Man. Then the Doctor of Style tries to manhandle Elizabeth and Hogan comes to her rescue. Akeem and Boss Man come out to save their manager and it’s a melee. The Twin Towers handcuff Hogan to the bottom rope and Boss Man gets counted out at 23:24! The referee tries to subdue Akeem but gets shoved out of the way and Akeem is disqualified at 24:59! Imagine how much more intimidating Akeem would be at this time if he was still the One Man Gang. What a weird decision. That gives the Mega Powers a two-on-one advantage but they have been severely worn down. Haku works on Savage but can’t quite put him away. Eventually Hogan knocks out both Slick and Heenan, and Elizabeth recovers the key! Haku hits Savage with a splash off the top rope but Savage kicks out! Back on their feet Haku foolishly kicks Savage right into his corner and Hogan gets the hot tag! Hogan immediately hits the big boot, a bodyslam, and the Legdrop to get the pin and win the match at 29:11. Like the last match that was a bit long but not quite as interesting because of the anticlimactic ending. I do like how this match advanced the Mega Powers/Twin Towers angle.
Tags: Big Boss Man, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, survivor series