The SmarK Retro Repost – Survivor Series 1997

– Well, hit #200,000 on the Archives came and went, and the winner was…ME! No, just kidding, it was Tom Carroll, who is apparently a sado-masochistic freak because he picked this show, one which I specifically said I didn’t want to do many times before this. Well, hey, I’m not bitter or anything, just because this is the show that ripped the hearts out of every Canadian wrestling fan in the country. Well, I suppose it could be worse — I was going to do Slamfest 95 and “Razor Ramon” for another Coliseum Video rant, but I scanned through them and they’re boring as shit. Well, Slamfest has a ****1/2 Kid-Ramon v. Diesel-Michaels tag title match from late 94, and a pretty good Owen-Anvil v. Bret-Bulldog match, but the rest is horribly boring.

– Live from Montreal, Quebec.

– Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

– Opening match: The Headbangers & The Blackjacks v. The Godwinns, Billy Gunn & Road Dog Jesse Jammes. No entrance music, no catchphrase, no heat…who the hell are these guys that look so much like the New Age Outlaws? Roadie does some ultra-cheap heat drawing on the way to the ring, calling the face team “Steers and Queers” and then coining the phrase “Buttbangers” for Mosh and Thrashers. Billy Gunn doesn’t ask anyone to suck it, but then he probably wouldn’t get any response even if he did. Future compatriots Bradshaw and Phineas (Mideon) start in the early going. The Outlaws both refuse to tag in. Henry comes in, lumbers around for a while, and gets pinned on a rollup by Bradshaw. Phineas gets routed by Windham, but gets a clothesline on Windham and pins him. Pathetic. Mosh comes in and dominates Phineas, and Billy Gunn finally tags in, to pretty good heel heat. Fans chant “faggot” en francais, but Gunn still manages to reverse a bulldog for the pin. Phineas comes back against Thrasher and gets dominated by a wristlock, which he proceeds to confuse with a wristwatch. Ahem. See, because Gorilla Monsoon’s favorite saying is…oh, never mind. They literally just stand around for a minute at the time, not really doing anything. What a mess. Thrasher goes to the top with a buttdrop for three. We’re down the NAO v. Thrasher & Bradshaw. Bradshaw whoops JJ, but Jammes gets a fluke pin on a rollup. The Outlaws double-team Thrasher and get the win after a bad-looking Gunn legdrop off the top, which misses by a foot. Ugh. What a horrible choice to start. -** For point of reference, it was generally considered a bad idea by the smart community for Gunn & Jammes to get the win here, showing that Vince is a either a genius or has someone in his organization with a better eye for future talent than I.

– The Truth Commission & Jackyl v. The Disciples of Apocolypse. Jackyl decides to do color commentary and allow his guys to wrestle 3 on 4. Sadly, Jackyl is the BEST WRESTLER IN THE MATCH, and he’s doing the friggin’ color commentary. Pier-seven brawl to start. The Interrogator gets a quick pin on Chainz with a side slam. Jackyl makes his one appearance in the match, hitting a kneedrop on Skull before being pinned with a sidewalk slam and eliminated. Recon gets whomped by Crush (to a big face pop), but makes the comeback against 8-Ball. The switcheroo causes him to get pinned after a clothesline, however. That’s a popular finisher tonight. Sniper gets double-teamed by DOA, but a cheap shot from Interrogator (Kurrgan, in case you didn’t know) allows Sniper to get the pin with a bulldog. So that leaves Crush and one of the twins against Sniper and Interrogator. Dumb note: There’s a guy at ringside with a very accurate looking Sting outfit. The twin gets pinned with a side slam from Interrogator. Crush pins Sniper with a half-assed tilt-a-whirl, and Interrogator pins Crush about 2 seconds later with his one move, you guessed it, the side slam. Better than the first match, but we’re still not out of the negative stars yet. Maybe next match… -*

– Steve Blackman, Marc Mero, Vader and Goldust v. Doug Furnas, Phil LaFon, Davey Boy Smith & Jim Neidhart. Huge face pop for the Canadian team. Jim notes that the atmosphere is like the Stanley Cup finals, with the Canadiens taking on the Rangers. Obviously JR isn’t a big hockey fan. Mero and Bulldog start off as the fans chant for Sable. Vader comes in and destroys Bulldog, but falls prey to his patented “come off the second rope and get powerslammed” move. Mero and LaFon go next and Mero gets caught in the face corner. Blackman comes in and looks pretty good against LaFon, but then *I* could look good against LaFon. Blackman fights out of the ring and gets ambushed by Team Canada and counted out. Neidhart and Vader wallop each other next, but a Vader splash ends the Anvil’s night. LaFon comes in with some spinning kicks, sending Vader out of the ring. Vader comes back and dominates, hitting a second rope splash for the pin. Furnas tries his luck but gets nowhere, as Vader nails him and Mero comes in to clean up. Merosault gets two. Bulldog comes in and beats the crap out of Mero. Powerslam, but Mero escapes. Mero and Furnas have a show of fisticuffsmanship, but sneaky Furnas gets a wrestling move in there (a rollup) for the pin. Vader’s back in to beat on Furnas, but Bulldog gets the tag. Vader goes for the tag, but Goldust refuses. He has a broken hand, you see. This was the start of TAFKA Goldust. Furnas hits a lowblow with the ref’s back turned and gets two. Vader goes for the tag and Goldust walks. Furnas hits an awesome overhead belly-to-belly on Vader and gets two. Rana gets two. Nice bumping from Vader there. Vader gets the advantage and forcibly brings Goldust in, who rolls out and heads for the dressing room. Vader fights off Doug Furnas and the Bulldog long enough to hit the pump splash on Furnas for the pin, but Bulldog nails Vader with the ring bell while he’s celebrating for the winning pin and a HUGE pop. Now THAT’S more like it. ***

– Video package recapping the debut of Kane.

– Kane v. Mankind. Kane destroyed Dude Love to set this up, as Mick changed back to Mankind to deal with the problem. In one of the stupider ideas of the 20th century, the entire match is done under Kane’s red light. This is Kane’s in-ring debut. Mick takes the steps off the head pretty quickly. Kane absolutely destroys Mick. Ve-ry Slow-ly. Kane puts his head down and gets piledriven. Mick gets the Mandible Claw on Paul Bearer, which allows Kane to sit up and shove him off the apron, through the poor, abused Spanish table. Mick nails Kane in the Titanium Testicles and DDTs him on the floor. He drops the elbow off the apron. Kane hops back up and slams Mankind off the apron, to the floor. Mankind pulls himself into the ring, crawls to Kane’s feet, and painfully pulls himself up to his feet…and Kane casually tombstones him and gets the pin. Awful match with a couple of good bumps. *

– Michael Cole interviews Vince McMahon backstage, who promises that the match will actually happen tonight.

– Faarooq, Kama, D-Lo Brown & The Rock v. Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson & The Legion of Doom. It’s hard to hear the pre-match interview with the faces over the “Rocky Sucks” chants. You know, now might be a good time to do a reunion of the Nation, with Rocky, Godfather, D-Lo and Mark Henry all enjoying huge babyface heat right now. Anyway, Rocky pins Hawk with Rock Bottom about 30 seconds in. Ahmed gets beat on in the Nation corner — and there’s that chant again. Ahmed escapes the Dominator and hits the Tiger Driver for the pin on Faarooq. D-Lo comes in with the Lowdown as Faarooq lingers at ringside. Ahmed with a Falcon Arrow, and Rocky tags in. Ahmed comes off the ropes and Faarooq hooks the leg, and Rocky pins him. Ahmed and Faarooq fight back to the dressing room. Shamrock comes in and dominates, trading kicks with Kama. Animal and Kama do a boring segment. Astonishingly, there’s three future IC champions left in the match. Fans amuse themselves by chanting…well, you know what. It’s about Rocky, at any rate. Kama showboats and gets rolled up by Animal for the pin. D-Lo has a try and gets killed by Shamrock. With the ref distracted, however, they do a double-team ballshot and take control. And the fans chant their favorite phrase. Man, Vince must have been creaming at the heel heat for Rocky. D-Lo misses a moonsault by a mile and Shamrock hot tags Animal. But the Outlaws come out and piss off Animal, who chases them and gets counted out. So Shamrock is 1 on 2 against Rocky and D-Lo. He clotheslines Rocky out of the way and anklelocks D-Lo for the submission, leaving Rock v. Shamrock. Rock blindsides him with a chair, but it only gets two. Hurricane DDT gets 2 1/2. People’s Elbow gets ZERO reaction…and a two count. Shamrock reverses the second DDT attempt into a Northern Lights suplex. Double KO. Both up, and Shamrock hits a rana. He snaps and applies a Herb Kunze armbar into the anklelock for the tap-out and the victory. Ending sequence saved it from mediocrity and sent both guys on the road to stardom…well, some more than others. ***

– Michael Cole talks to some dumbass Quebecois in the cheap seats.

– Intercontinental title match: Owen Hart v. Steve Austin. Of course, Owen broke Austin’s neck at Summerslam 97, but lost the match and the title. Austin forfeited the title, and Owen won the tournament for the title. This is the rematch. Crowd is about 50/50 here, but Austin quickly adapts the heel role, jawing with the fans. Crowd chants for Owen to “break his neck”. Man, that’s cold. Owen goes for a piledriver early to a big pop, but Austin reverses. Owen gets posted and runs, so they fight to the entrance and back. Austin tosses him back in and Owen rolls out again, so they brawl by the announce position. Owen chokes out Austin with a cable, yelling “Disqualify me!” so he’d keep the title. Slugfest in the ring, which Austin wins. Stunner and it’s over just like that. This was like a RAW match. 1/4* Team Canada attacks and gets Stunnered as well. It was obvious Austin should NOT have been wrestling here.

– The last appearance of Bret Hart in the “Attitude” video before he’s written out of WWF history…well, until this November. 🙂

– End of show.

– Well, a pretty lacklustre show all around, with nothing terribly noteworthy happening and…

What do you mean there’s another match left?

Oh, yeah, that’s right…*that* match.

– WWF World title match: Bret Hart v. Shawn Michaels. Everything that can possibly be said about the events surrounding this match have been said, so I’ll just talk about the match, which is something no one has done for a year and a half. Shawn brings a Canadian flag with him, which he proceeds to wipe his ass with, pick his nose with, and then throw on the ground and hump to firmly establish him as the heel. The interviews leading up to this match established the template for the 20-minute interview to open RAW. Bret attacks Shawn before the bell and they brawl into the crowd, with Bret pounding the hell out of Shawn. The Stooges and Vince come out to try to talk some sense into them, thus giving Vince a viable reason to be at ringside. Michaels rams Bret to the stairs and chokes him out with a flag, then they brawl back into the crowd again, and down the aisle to the entranceway. Michaels takes a nasty suplex on the concrete, and visibly calls a spot while he recovers. Bret tosses him over a barricade and nails him with a fire extinguisher. Vince stands ominously in the background, trying to convince them to go back to the ring. They do so, and the bell finally rings to start the match. Bret chokes Shawn out with the flag of Quebec, legdrops him, and gives him an inverted atomic drop. Shawn comes back with the flying forearm (big boos) and kips up. He punts Bret right in the head. That looked a little stiff. They fight outside the ring again and Shawn drops Bret on the steps, then rams the Canadian flag in Bret’s throat. The pole, not the flag. Shawn throws him back in and hits an axehandle off the top, then applies a front-facelock. Bret tosses him off to escape as Ross points out the insult involved in using one’s own move on them. Shawn takes control with a slam and a bodypress off the top, reversed for a two count. Bret kicks at Shawn’s knee and applies the ringpost figure-four. Bret continues working on the leg. Fans chant “Bret sold out” and he applies a standard figure-four. Shawn reverses and Bret makes the ropes. Cross-corner whip and Bret starts the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM. Legsweep, suplex, backbreaker, but Shawn pulls Earl Hebner in the way of the elbow off the second rope. *Cue ominous music* Shawn rakes the eyes, and applies the Sharpshooter, and, well, you know what happens from there. ***1/4

The Bottom Line: You know, I was watching American Justice last night, and one of the stories for “Bad Cop Week” was the Rodney King beating. The description of the trial talked about how the jurors had to watch the tape of the incident over and over, hundreds of times over the months that the trial dragged on. In the beginning, one of the jurors would break down and cry at the violence and brutality displayed in the video, but after seeing the same thing over and over, frame by frame, they learned to ignore the emotional nature of the video and view it objectively in order to make a fair decision. In fact, by the end of the trial, the weak juror made a turnaround and had become one of the strongest supporters of acquital for the police being tried. The point? Sometimes it just hurts less after a while, I guess, no matter how bad it was to begin with.

But maybe that’s just the cynic in me talking.

Can’t really recommend the show — If you’ve never seen the match, rent Wrestling with Shadows instead, which has all the backstage stuff to boot.