It’s Survivor Series week, so I’m going to re-post the five highest-rated Survivor Series events based on my thorough reviews that you can find in our Survivor Series section. I’m also going to add in updated 2020 thoughts in blue font as well. As for the top five, I have five of them rated 8 out of 10 or higher, so it’s up to me pick the order. Let’s get into it.
The ninth Survivor Series came at a time when WWE business wasn’t going so well. Diesel (Kevin Nash) was the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and the company was struggling. Attendance was down, Raw was challenged by WCW launching Nitro in September 1995 and pay-per-view numbers were down. It was also the first year where they started doing monthly pay-per-views, so they were asking fans to pay even more money to watch a product that wasn’t hot.
This was the first Survivor Series that took place on a Sunday night. I have some fond memories about this event, especially because I remember the main event being awesome and I haven’t seen it in a long time. It’s a match I look forward to watching and writing about for you in this review.
Another thing I remember about this show is that it was pretty good with some newer faces on the roster and some solid workers all over the place. That’s something to get excited about after the previous two years of shows that were largely forgettable.
The show bombed in terms of PPV buyrate with 128,000 buys. The year before did nearly double that number even though it was an awful show. Three years later, the buyrate number tripled, so they were on the right track eventually.
WWE Survivor Series
Landover, Maryland (Washington, DC)
November 19, 1995
The show began with the great Mr. Perfect walking to the ring. He’s on commentary.
A video package aired to set up Diesel vs. Bret Hart for the WWE World Title noting their match can only end by pinfall or submission.
Analysis: That was a very good video package. They didn’t do them that much in the years before. Over the years, amazing video packages have become a strength for WWE, so we can look back at this show as a start for them.
It looked like a packed house as Vince McMahon welcomed us to the show. He’s joined on the commentary team Jim Ross and Mr. Perfect.
The face team called The Underdogs entered first. The Bodydonnas heel team entered last. Razor Ramon tried to get into the ring to get after 1-2-3 Kid, who turned heel by joining Ted Dibiase the previous week on Raw. Referees prevented him from getting into the ring.
Survivor Series Elimination Match: The Bodydonnas (Skip, Rad Radford, Dr. Tom Prichard and 1-2-3 Kid w/Sunny and Ted Dibiase) vs. The Underdogs (Marty Jannetty, Hakushi, Barry Horowitz and Bob Holly)
Pre-match notes: The heels were the Bodydonnas and faces were The Underdogs as I mentioned. Kid turning heel by aligning with Dibiase was a big storyline going into the match. Also, Sunny in 1995 was in her prime and one of the hottest women in wrestling. I was 15 years old at the time. She was a favorite of my friends and I. It was good to see WWE using hot valets like her. This was the first Survivor Series for Holly, Hakushi, Radford and Skip. Horowitz was one of the knights for Shawn Michaels in 1993, but this is his first time using his wrestler name. He had a mini-push because he had an upset win over Skip after Horowitz was known as a major jobber for years.
Jannetty hit a back body drop on Prichard, who was also known as Zip as part of the Bodydonnas in his career. Holly worked with Radford and hit a nice powerbomb to counter a Radford move. Hakushi was called a “modern day kamikaze” as McMahon reminded us. Radford nailed Hakushi with a spinebuster. Kid up top and he hit a splash for a two count. Skip went for a back suplex off the top, but Hakushi countered by landing on top of him. Holly tagged in with there clotheslines on Skip. More shots of Sunny clapping at ringside are a good thing. Crowd chanting “Barry” for Horowitz. Prichard hit a slam for two. He went up top for a moonsault and Holly moved. Holly went up top, hit a cross body block and pinned him.
Tom Prichard eliminated by Bob Holly
Analysis: Prichard ended up becoming one of WWE’s most important trainers in the 2000s.
Skip went into the ring, hit the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Holly and pinned him.
Bob Holly eliminated by Skip
Hakushi nailed Skip with two impressive kicks followed by a splash attempt off the middle rope, but Skip got his feet up to block it. Skip up top with a Frankensteiner on Hakushi. Then Skip fell down after he delivered the move. Hakushi whipped Kid into the corner, he hit a cartwheel into a back elbow and a forearm smash. Hakushi up top with a shoulder tackle on Kid for a two count. Hakushi missed a springboard dive as Kid tagged in Radford. Kid with a kick to the back of Hakushi and then Radford covered for the elimination.
Hakushi eliminated by Radford
Analysis: Good athleticism shown by Hakushi. I think he should have been in there longer and booked in a stronger way because he had a lot of potential.
It’s three heels against two faces. Kid worked over Horowitz with kicks in the corner. Radford nailed a gutwrench suplex on Horowitz. Horowitz with a jawbreaker on Radford, but then Radford came back with a clothesline as he lifted Horowitz’ head up to keep punishing him. Northern Lights suplex by Radford got a two count on Horowitz. Radford was doing pushups because he wanted to be a Bodydonna, so Horowitz did an inside cradle to beat him.
Rad Radford eliminated by Barry Horowitz
Horowitz with an arm drag, back elbow and flying knee attack on Skip. Kid tagged in, knee to the back of Horowitz and a running leg drop pinned Horowitz. Razor Ramon was watching backstage and he was mad about it.
Barry Horowitz eliminated by 1-2-3 Kid
It’s Kid and Skip against Marty Jannetty. Skip went for a powerslam, but Jannetty fought out of it. Skip went for a Powerbomb, Jannetty slid out of it and got a sunset flip for two. Jannetty hit the Rocker Dropper legdrop to the back of the head. Jannetty went up top, but Sunny pulled the rope to knock him down. Skip went up top, Jannetty nailed a Powerbomb off the top and pinned him. Vince busted out his favorite phrase: “WHAT A MANEUVER~!” JR said Powerbomb off the top to actually call the move.
Skip eliminated by Marty Jannetty
Analysis: Wow that was an impressive move by Jannetty and bump by Skip. I had totally forgotten about that. Not easy to make a Powerbomb off the top look that good.
Kid hit Jannetty with a spinning back kick and a leg drop off the top that earned a two count. Running dropkick by Kid. Kid slammed Jannetty and went up top again. Jannetty moved to avoid the attack. Dropkick by Jannetty. Psycho Sid walked down to the ring. He was a heel aligned with Dibiase. Jannetty hit a back elbow. Jannetty hit the Rocker Dropper on Kid. He did a slow cover leading to Kid getting his foot on the ropes and then he kicked out of another pinfall attempt. Dibiase was on the apron, so Sid snapped Jannetty’s neck on the top rope and Kid covered Jannetty to win. The match ended at the 18:45 mark.
Marty Jannetty eliminated by 1-2-3 Kid
Survivor: 1-2-3 Kid
Post match, Sid celebrated with Kid. A camera was shown of Ramon taking a small TV and throwing it against the wall because he was so mad about it.
Analysis: ***1/4 That was a really good match even when there weren’t a lot of big names. It featured eight guys who were all good to great in the ring and they were given a lot of time to tell an interesting story. That’s all any wrestler wants. The final sequence with Kid and Jannetty was awesome as well especially since they were former buddies. Kid going over made sense since he just turned heel prior to the match, so they needed to give him some momentum with a win. Making it a cheap win thanks to Sid being there helped get more heat on Kid. He was better as a face most of his career and obviously was known as X-Pac for much of his run.
(This was one of those sleeper matches that didn’t have a lot of star power necessarily, but everybody worked hard and it was a fun match to watch. It also added to the heat that 1-2-3 Kid was generating as a heel because it was a cheap win for him.)
There was an interview with Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Dean Douglas and managers Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji. They were on Razor Ramon’s team in the Wild Card match with Ramon as the only face as part of the team.
Survivor Series Elimination Match: Bertha Faye, Aja Kong, Tomoko Watanabe and Lioness Asuka (with Harvey Wippleman) vs. Alundra Blayze, Kyoko Inoue, Sakie Hasegawa and Chaparita Asari
Pre-match notes: Faye led the heel team while Blayze was the face. Blayze was the Women’s Champion at the time.
There was a giant swing early on. JR handled play by play and provided the names of the women as well. Blayze tagged in with a body slam. Asari tagged in and hit a sky twister press on Asuka (not the same Asuka that is in WWE today). Blayze hit the German Suplex on Asuka and eliminated her.
Lioness Asuka eliminated by Alundra Blayze
Watanabe went after Blayze and missed a moonsault. She went to the floor, so Blayze jumped off the top to knock her down. Hasegawa nailed five double arm suplexes in a row as Mr. Perfect asked whatever happened to the All-American lady and said these women should be at home making their man something to eat. Way to support women’s wrestling! (I’m being sarcastic) Kong nailed a punch on Hasegawa, who came back with a kick and then a one armed overhead suplex twice for a two count. Kong with a back suplex onto the head to eliminate Hasegawa.
Sakie Hasegawa eliminated by Aja Kong
Kong nailed Asari with a clothesline. Kong jumped off the middle ropes and nailed a splash to eliminate Asari, who was the smallest person in the match.
Caparita Asari eliminated by Aja Kong
Inoue nailed a clothesline on Kong. Inoue went for a sunset flip, so Kong sat on top of her to eliminate Inoue.
Kyoko Inoue eliminated by Aja Kong
Analysis: Dominant performance from Kong with three eliminations in a row. She was a known a bit by the WWE fans.
Blayze was left alone against the three heels. Snap suplex by Blayze on Watanabe (thanks JR for giving us the names of the women) and then a sloppy piledriver eliminated her.
Tomoko Watanabe eliminated by Alundra Blayze
Faye went after Blazye. Then Faye went for an attack, but Blayze moved and Faye hit Kong. Blayze hit a bridging German Suplex on Kong. As soon as the pin happened, Faye rolled out of the ring right away like nothing was wrong. You have to sell there! She didn’t.
Bertha Faye eliminated by Alundra Blayze
Kong with headbutts on Blayze with JR noting this was a great rivalry going back to Japan. Superplex by Kong. They did a corner spot where Kong rubbed her butt into Blayze. Nice hurricanrana by Blayze for a two count. Missile dropkick by Blayze followed by a standing moonsault for a two count. Blayze went up top, so Kong threw her down. Kong to the middle rope and Blayze kicked her. Kong knocked her down with a headbutt. Running body attack by Kong and she did it a second time. Spinning back first by Kong led to the pinfall win to end the match at the 10:01 mark.
Alundra Blayze eliminated by Aja Kong
Survivor: Aja Kong
Analysis: *** That was a fun match to watch. They did a good job in the ten minutes they were given. It was wrestled at a fast pace with a lot of quick eliminations, but I liked some of the cool moves too. Blayze got all the eliminations for her team while Kong got all of the eliminations for her team. Since Blayze was the champion, it made sense to have her lose.
I was going to write that it set up Kong to be a top contender for the title, but a month after this was when Blayze tossed the WWE Women’s Title in the garbage can on WCW Nitro. That killed the women’s division for about three years.
(It was pretty simple here where they got ten minutes and booked it in a smart way by having the champion Blayze lose, which is what you would expect in a non-title setting. As noted above, it did not set up a title feud because Blayze was gone soon after this.)
There was an interview with a Bill Clinton imposter conducted by Todd Pettengill. Bad mid-90s WWE comedy.
(I’m sure Vince McMahon thought it was hilarious, so that’s all that matters to him.)
Goldust vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Pre-match notes: Goldust was new to the company in 1995 and he was a heel on the rise. He debuted two months before this. Bigelow was a veteran face.
Goldust nailed some punches. Bigelow tried to fire back, but Goldust bailed to the floor to do some stalling. They went outside the ring where Goldust missed a punch and hit the ring post. Goldust with a clothesline that sent Bigelow over the top to the floor. Goldust did his thing where he touched himself with JR saying it made him uncomfortable. Knee lift by Goldust. Goldust dumped Bigelow over the top to the floor again. Goldust rammed Bigelow face first into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Bigelow hit a back suplex. Bigelow missed a headbutt off the ropes. Vince said that Goldust “gives you the willies” to say he makes you feel uncomfortable. Bigelow got out of a chinlock and hit the electric chair drop to knock Goldust down. Leaping clothesline by Goldust followed by a knee drop. Another back suplex by Bigelow followed by three clotheslines for a two count. Bigelow went for a corner charge, Goldust moved and hit a bulldog for the pinfall win after 8:18 of action.
Winner by pinfall: Goldust
Goldust celebrated the win as gold dust rained down. The announcers acted as if this was an upset.
Analysis: *1/4 It was a simple match to put over Goldust. It was boring at times. His character was still new and he wasn’t doing some of the crazy stuff he did over the next couple of years as this character. This was Bigelow’s last match in the WWF.
(A bad match, but the goal was to have Goldust get a quality win over a big-name opponent. Bigelow main evented WrestleMania in 1995, so it was effective in terms of Goldust winning.)
There was another segment with fake Clinton, Pettengill and they were joined by Bob Backlund. There was some bickering that I don’t need to recap.
The Undertaker faced Mabel at King of the Ring 1995 earlier in the year. Mabel did a leg drop to beat Undertaker thanks to interference from Kama. Then there was a clip from Raw one month earlier with Mabel attacking Undertaker after a match with the story of Mabel crushing the face of The Undertaker with a leg drop.
The heels were in the ring with Jerry Lawler doing a promo about The Royals team. The three faces were in there and then The Undertaker made his big return after being away for over a month.
The Royals (King Mabel, Jerry Lawler, Isaac Yankem DDS and Hunter Hearst Helmsley w/Sir Mo) vs. The Darkside (The Undertaker, Savio Vega, Fatu and Henry O. Godwinn w/Paul Bearer)
Pre-match notes: This was the Survivor Series debut for Triple H, Yankem (he was Kane two years later), Vega and Godwinn. Fatu was in another gimmick change as a guy “making a difference.” Undertaker led the faces while Mabel was the leader of the heels. Undertaker was wearing a mask to cover his eyes from his nose and above because they had the angle where Mabel broke his face.
Fatu started with Helmsley. It led to Helmsley getting scared of Undertaker when he got in his face. Yankem faced off with Godwinn with Godwinn hitting a body slam and elbow drop. Yankem shoved Godwinn into the turnbuckle followed by a back suplex. Vince noted that Helmsley was undefeated at this point in his career. Mr. Perfect noted that Helmsley liked being called Triple H, which was his nickname among the Clique guys behind the scenes and obviously his wrestler name several years later. Godwinn with a press slam on Helmsley. Vega worked with Lawler with Vega hitting a dropkick followed by a punch. Fatu tagged in with a headbutt for Lawler followed by ten head slams into the turnbuckle. Yankem hit a knee to the back of Fatu leading to the heels working over Fatu for a bit as Yankem hit a leg drop. Mabel missed a corner splash on Fatu and Vega tried to go after Mabel. Huge sidewalk slam by Mabel on Vega that looked really impressive with Vince saying he was 568 pounds. Suplex by Mabel on Vega. Nice dropkick by Yankem and Helmsley got in there for a bit. Lawler hit Vega with a piledriver. He took a while to cover, so Vega kicked out of it. Vega nailed Helmsley with a move we came to know as the Rock Bottom from The Rock. Crowd was going wild urging Vega for the hot tag. Lawler hit a piledriver, but Vega got out of it. Undertaker finally tagged in. None of the other heels would tag Lawler. Undertaker choked Lawler. Undertaker hit Lawler with a Tombstone to eliminate him.
Jerry Lawler eliminated by The Undertaker
Yankem went after Taker, but Taker came back with a leaping clothesline. Taker hit the Tombstone to eliminate Yankem.
Isaac Yankem eliminated by The Undertaker
The crowd was going wild as The Undertaker was on an amazing role. Helmsley went to leave, but Godwinn had the slop bucket and scared him back into the ring. Undertaker grabbed Helmsley on the apron and hit a Chokeslam to eliminate him.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley eliminated by The Undertaker
That’s three eliminations in about two minutes by Undertaker. Crowd was going wild for it. Mabel hit a belly to belly suplex. Mabel hit a leg drop. Undertaker sat right up, so Mabel hauled ass out of the ring and ran away.
Mabel eliminated by countout
Mo was in the ring, so Undertaker hit a Chokeslam to him. The match went 14:21.
Survivors: The Darkside Team
Analysis: *1/2 The match was all about putting over Undertaker strong. He didn’t tag in until the last few minutes and beat the heels easily. The crowd was really into it, so from a booking perspective it’s fair to call it a success since the fans were really into it. It was an impressive performance by Undertaker as he cleaned house to win for his team.
(The finish was lame, but the fans were into the Undertaker feud with Mabel at least.)
There were comments from Bret Hart in the locker room with him talking about how he knows Diesel and said that the truck stops here. He told Diesel he doesn’t have the technical ability.
Diesel was shown in his locker room. He spoke about how he’s going in there to hit high impact, power maneuvers like only Big Daddy Cool can do. Diesel said he’s going to survive.
The Shawn Michaels-led wildcard team did a promo.
The next match is a wildcard elimination match, so I’ll tell you who the faces and heels are. Yokozuna (heel) & Owen Hart (heel) entered first for one team. Dean Douglas (heel) was the awful teacher gimmick done by Shane Douglas. Razor Ramon (face) was the Intercontinental Champion at the time, so the story is that he won’t get along with his team.
The other team featured the British Bulldog (heel) managed by Jim Cornette, who was also a manager for Yokozuna and Owen Hart. Bulldog got the next title shot at the December PPV. Sycho Sid (heel) walked out with his manager Ted Dibiase. They spelled it “Sycho” instead of “Psycho” so they could trademark the name. Ahmed Johnson (face) was making his pay-per-view debut as they said in the introduction. They had really high hopes for him as a power wrestler on the rise. Shawn Michaels (face) was the last man out for his team. He was on the receiving end of a huge push by this point and it was clear that he was going to be “the man” in WWE going forward. Vince McMahon was going crazy calling him the most resilient superstar in the WWF today with Perfect saying this guy has nothing on him. Perfect was yelling at Vince to sit down.
Analysis: I always liked the idea of wildcard teams. It’s something they should have done before and after this because it’s a creative idea that changes things up a bit.
(My comment about Vince going crazy for Shawn is true. Vince tried so hard to get Shawn over as a face with his commentary and I mean it certainly worked to some degree, but it was also a bit silly at times with how enthusiastic Vince was.)
Team Michaels (Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, The British Bulldog, and Sycho Sid w/Ted Dibiase and Jim Cornette) vs. Team Yokozuna (Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Razor Ramon and Dean Douglas w/Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette)
Pre-match notes: This was a unique match that they billed a Wildcard Survivor Series match where partners were randomly picked on teams.
Michaels worked with Hart with Michaels sending him out of the ring with a headscissors takedown. Cornette got involved, so Michaels hit him in the butt with his own tennis racket. Powerslam by Hart. Douglas with a suplex on Michaels. Michaels did a hard whip into the corner followed a forearm smash and a double axehandle off the top rope for a two count. Douglas with a knee to the face, but then he missed a splash. Michaels up top and he a hit a moonsault press for two as Hart made the save. Johnson tagged with an axe kick for Douglas and a kick for Owen. He wasn’t able to slam Yoko, so the three heels on the other team worked on Johnson. You could tell Yoko looked bigger than in the years before this. The heels worked over Johnson in the corner and even Ramon hit Johnson with punches. Johnson came back with a huge powerslam on Douglas. Michaels tagged in, Johnson picked him up and tossed him onto Douglas. Michaels went for the superkick, but Douglas left the ring. Ramon went over there, so Douglas shoved him. Ramon punched Douglas (his teammate) and Michaels did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! to eliminate Douglas.
Dean Douglas eliminated by Shawn Michaels
Owen and Bulldog faced off with the announcers noting they were brothers in law. Spinning heel kick on Bulldog and then Michaels tagged in for the heels, so Hart tagged in Ramon. They referenced the epic ladder matches between them. Clothesline by Ramon on Michaels, back elbow by Michaels and a running forearm attack. Ramon teased a Razor’s Edge and he connected with it, but Johnson broke up the pin attempt. Big knee lift by Ramon on Michaels as Perfect mocked the greasy hair of Michaels. They ran the ropes and did a collision spot so both guys were down. Sid was tagged in for his team as he pounded away on Ramon. Sid’s offense was basically just punches and kicks. They did a double clothesline spot where both guys were down for a bit. Sid went to the top for some reason, so Ramon slammed him off of there. Sid hit a one handed Chokeslam on Ramon. Michaels tagged in, Sid held Ramon, it led to Ramon moving and Michaels hit Sid with a Superkick. Down goes Sid with Shawn not looking too upset about it since Sid was a heel. Ramon covers, Bulldog goes in for some reason and misses everything with a leg drop. Ramon covered Sid to eliminate him.
Sycho Sid eliminated by Razor Ramon
Analysis: The problem with that is that Sid tagged Michaels into the match, so Ramon pinning Michaels made no sense. None of the announcers even mentioned it. I’m not sure what the hell Bulldog was doing. He must have thought it was another spot in the match.
Bulldog went after Ramon. Sid brought Michaels into the ring and dropped him with a Powerbomb that Michaels sold as a big deal. Bulldog left the ring, so Michaels was the legal man again. Ramon was down, but then he crawled over and put an arm on top for a two count. Hart nailed Michaels with a back body drop. Yokozuna was throwing punches at Michaels, so Vince was yelling about how the ref should stop it. Hard whip into the corner by Yoko that Michaels sold by flipping upside down. Yoko with a vice grip to ground Michaels. Hart tagged in for a headbutt off the top, but Michaels moved. Johnson got the hot tag with punches for the other team. Johnson caught Owen and hit the Pearl River Plunge to eliminate him.
Owen Hart eliminated by Ahmed Johnson
Ramon worked with Johnson with Ramon hitting a knee to the face followed by a bulldog. Johnson nailed a sloppy looking spinebuster that Vince just called a “devastating maneuver.” Johnson posed on the turnbuckle like an idiot, so Ramon hit a Razor’s Edge. That looked awful. Bulldog just went into the ring to break up the pin and the ref did nothing. He’s not legal, yet he was in the ring. Sid, Kid and Dibiase walked down to ringside. Ramon hit a fallaway slam for two followed by a clothesline. Kid grabbed Ramon’s leg, Ramon punched him and Bulldog capitalized with a running powerslam to pin Ramon.
Razor Ramon eliminated by British Bulldog
Analysis: There was another fall that shouldn’t have counted because Bulldog never tagged in. He just saved Johnson from a pin and the ref Tim White did nothing about it.
Yokozuna was the last guy left for his team. He decked Michaels with a punch to the face. Leg drop by Yoko to Michaels. He teased the Banzai Drop, but he took so long that Michaels was able to move out of the way. Michaels stumbled into the corner to tag in Johnson. Johnson hit a body slam on Yokozuna that looked sloppy, but it was close enough. Bulldog broke up the pin from the guy on his own team. Michaels and Johnson knocked Bulldog out of the ring with a double clothesline. Michaels with a Superkick on Yokozuna, Johnson hit a big splash and pinned Yokozuna at 27:24.
Yokozuna eliminated by Ahmed Johnson
Survivors: Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson & British Bulldog
Post match, Michaels and Johnson raised their hands. Cornette celebrated the win with Bulldog.
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a good elimination match with a cool twist due to the wildcard nature of the teams. I liked the they did spots like Michaels being the reason Sid was eliminated, so Sid got his revenge with a Powerbomb right away. Ramon was screwed out of the loss by Kid and Sid, which furthered that storyline. It’s easy to see why they chose those three to survive: Michaels was on the road to being the top guy, Johnson was a new star on the rise and Bulldog was getting the WWE Title shot at the December 1995 PPV, so they wanted him to look strong. It was a fun match from start to finish with two good guys winning in the end.
(This match was so much fun. I thought the Wildcard concept was a great idea back then and I still think that. I know that in today’s WWE with Raw vs. Smackdown they can basically do the same thing with heels/faces on the same time. I just don’t think it’s as interesting as this match was.)
There was another interview with “Bill Clinton” eating some popcorn while Sunny sat on his lap. They flirted as he spilled some popcorn on her cleavage.
There were more comments from pre-taped comments from Bret Hart and Diesel talking about their previous matches.
The announcers talked about the main event. Bret “Hitman” Hart made his entrance to a good ovation. Diesel also received a big ovation from the crowd.
WWE World Championship: Diesel vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart
Pre-match notes: Both guys are faces going into the match. There are no disqualifications and no countouts.
The match started with Diesel taking off one turnbuckle pad and Hart taking off another turnbuckle pad. Diesel pounded on him early on. Hart left the ring to take a break, so Diesel followed him with a double axe to the back. Diesel dropped Hart throat first across the guard rail. They went back in the ring with Diesel hitting Hart with forearms that knocked him out of the ring again. Diesel drove Hart back first into the ring post. Diesel grabbed a chair from ringside and hit Hart in the back with it as Vince noted that Hart did that to Diesel back at the 1995 Royal Rumble. Diesel with a hard whip into the corner followed by a hard clothesline. Hart avoided a Powerbomb attempt and bit the head of Diesel. Eye gouge by Hart. Hart kicked away at the left leg of Diesel to try to chop down the 7 footer. Hart stomped away on the leg some more. Hart applied the Figure Four Leglock in the center in the ring. Diesel was able to use his big frame to crawl over to the ropes. When Hart tried another leg submission, Diesel hit him in the eyes to stop it. Diesel kicked Hart away with Hart bumping back first into the exposed turnbuckle. Hart bounced back by tripping up Diesel and ramming the left leg of Diesel into the ring post multiple times.
Hart tied some cable to the ring post and then used the other end to tie up the foot of Diesel. A boot to the face by Diesel earned a “WHAT A MANEUVER~!” from Vince. The left foot of Diesel was still tied to the post, so Hart hit an elbow smash off the middle ropes. Hart brought the steel chair into the ring. Diesel kicked him away to block the chair shot. Hart grabbed the chair again, hit Diesel in the back with the chair as well as shots to the knee with the chair with Perfect saying he’s never seen Hart so vicious. Backbreaker by Hart. When Hart went for an attack with the chair, Diesel blocked it on the top rope and slammed him down. Diesel took the cord off and he was free. Sidewalk slam by Diesel gets a two count. Diesel with a hard whip into the exposed turnbuckle that Hart took sternum first, which was his famous bump. The announcers noted Hart had been in all nine Survivor Series events and it was his 41st PPV match. Diesel was limping and jumped on the back of Hart. Diesel with the snake eyes onto Hart on the top turnbuckle although it was not an exposed turnbuckle. Diesel picked him up, Hart slipped out of a slam attempt and sent Diesel face first into the exposed turnbuckle right on the steel. Running clothesline by Hart earned a two count. Hart was on the middle rope, Diesel was staggered and Hart nailed a bulldog for a two count. Russian legsweep by Hart gets a two count. Clothesline by Hart sent Diesel over the top to the floor. Hart went for a slingshot dive over the top, but Diesel moved and Hart had a hard landing on the floor. That was a nasty landing. Hart stumbled onto the ring apron. Diesel charged in, shoved him off and Hart bumped off the apron and went crashing through the announce table. It was the Spanish announce table. Hart was down in a heap.
Analysis: That was one of the biggest bumps in WWE history at the time. People did not go through tables that often, so when that happened it was a huge thing. I remember being shocked by it and thinking how cool it was at the same time.
Diesel rolled Hart back in the ring. Diesel was still limping as he sold the left leg injury. He slowly made his way back into the ring. Diesel set up Hart for the Jackknife Powerbomb, but Hart collapsed to the mat. JR suggested that Diesel just pin him. Diesel went to pick him up again, but when he did that, Hart locked him up with a small package for the one…two…and three! Hart wins at the 24:54 mark. JR: “He did it! He did it! He did it!”
Winner by pinfall and New WWE World Champion: Bret Hart
Analysis: ****1/2 Awesome match. That’s four and a half stars out of five. It’s one of the best WWE Title matches ever. The easiest story in wrestling is the big man vs. the little man. In this case, you had two guys that were both faces with the bigger man (Diesel) working a heelish style at times to get the crowd behind Hart more. I liked the creativity in the match with the use of the chair and Hart tying Diesel to the post at one point as well. They busted their asses for 25 minutes, wrestled a very physical style and had a number of different points in the match where it looked like it could end at any time for either guy. The finish was brilliant because it was an example of how smart was as a technician in the ring. He took a beating the entire match, but he was smart enough to play possum to pin him with an inside cradle. This match was the perfect playbook on how you tell the best wrestling story when it’s a big man versus a smaller guy. Great job by both of them. This match holds up very well 21 years after it took place.
(It’s an excellent match with Diesel on offense for most of it, Bret taking the big bump, which he didn’t always do, but it told the story perfectly because it set up the surprising finish. This will always be one of my favorite matches in WWE history since I’m a huge Bret Hart fan and I was ready for Diesel’s title reign to end. As I have said in the past as well, this was not a carry job. Both guys worked their asses off. I recommend it if you’ve never seen it.)
After the match was over, Diesel sat up and was swearing. Diesel shoved down referee Earl Hebner. He picked up Hart and dropped him with a stiff Jackknife Powerbomb. The crowd booed. Three refs ran in the ring and Diesel punched all of them. Diesel hit Hart with another Jackknife Powerbomb. Vince pointed out that Diesel had the chance to do it earlier, but he didn’t do it. Hebner got back to his feet with the title, Diesel grabbed it and threw it on Hart. Diesel stood in the ring shouting: “I’m back! I’m back!” He’s referring to the heel turn.
Analysis: That was an excellent heel turn by Diesel. He was pissed off that he lost the WWE World Title that he held for nearly one year. He lost because he eased up when he had the match won. It made perfect sense. It also turned him heel after being a top face for one year.
Diesel walked up the aisle and then highlights aired from earlier in the night.
The announce team tried to make sense of things as they talked about Diesel’s actions after the loss. Mr. Perfect said he liked what he saw and wondered if Hart could defend the title. Hart was laying on his back getting looked at by officials.
Analysis: Hart ended up holding the WWE World Title until WrestleMania 12 when he dropped it to Shawn Michaels. Diesel was a heel after his actions in this match, had a WrestleMania 12 loss to Undertaker and left the company for WCW where he was known as Kevin Nash for most of the rest of his career.
(The heel turn of Diesel was great. His final six months in the WWF – before he left for WCW – may have been the best work of his career.)
The show had a run time of 2 hours and 41 minutes.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– This show was way better than what WWE put on in the two previous years. The roster was pretty good although they weren’t that deep yet. They were bringing on some new guys, the long term main eventers like Hart, Undertaker and Michaels were in featured roles while the likes of Nash and Ramon performed admirably.
– The main event was one of the best WWE World Title matches of the 1990s. It was an example of how great of a storyteller Bret Hart was. It also showed that Diesel wasn’t as bad as people thought. Yes, he had a lot of stinkers when he wrestled the likes of Mabel and Sid earlier in the year, but this match with Hart as well as others with Michaels were the best performances of his career.
– The Wildcard match was a great idea. Why wouldn’t they do it every year? I don’t think that would get old to have heels and faces on the same team with people randomly turning on eachother. That’s an easy way to tell a story.
– It was good to see guys like Triple H and Kane (Yankem) making their Survivor Series debuts. Both of them obviously played big roles in the history of the show over the next twenty years.
– As much as I loved Mr. Perfect in the ring, his commentary work was below average. Jim Ross was also better as a play by play guy rather than an analyst, but he worked fine with Vince.
Best Match: Bret Hart vs. Diesel
Worst Match: Goldust vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Most Memorable Moment: Bret Hart’s table bump; Hart winning the WWE World Title. I cheated and picked two moments from the same match.
1. Bret Hart – Amazing performance. Diesel didn’t have many great matches, but Bret worked his ass off to make it look awesome.
2. Diesel – One of the better matches in his career. He was at his best working with a smaller guy like Bret.
3. Shawn Michaels – Clearly the star of his elimination match.
4. The Undertaker – The match sucked, but his performance was great.
5. 1-2-3 Kid – Really good job by him.
Show rating (out of 10): 8
Fantastic show. I remembered Hart/Diesel being awesome, but forgot some of other stuff being above average too.
This was the first Survivor Series where I enjoyed the whole show from top to bottom. It took them nine years to get it right.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.