Wrestling Rewind: Survivor Series 1997

October 24, 2018

 

Review for WWF Survivor Series 1997, November 9, 1997, Montreal, Canada

Well, this one is infamous for some reason, can’t remember why, though. But is it any good? Let’s find out.

Hosted by Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler

SURVIVOR SERIES MATCH: Headbangers & New Blackjacks vs Road Dog Jesse James, Billy Gunn & The Godwinns

Not quite the New Age Outlaws yet, they'd only decided to be tag partners a few weeks earlier. The entrance music, the catch phrase, and the heat would come later. Road Dog (not quite the DOGG yet either) goes for the cheap heat calling the face team "Steers and Queers" and then calling the Headbangers the "Buttbangers". Windham starts with Phineas, a couple of shoulderblocks and Phineas bails for a rest. Back in, they go for a test of strength but Windham sucker punches him. Bradshaw tags in and gets powerslam for 2. Blind charge and Phineas clubs away. He wants to tag the Road Dog but neither him or Billy want to get in there so he tags Henry. Henry hammers Bradshaw, Bradshaw tries a suplex but it's countered. Bradshaw rolls him over and cradles him for 3 and Henry it done. Phineas in and they trade punches. Windham back in suplex for 2 and follows it with lariat for 2. Windham runs into an elbow and a lariat ends his night. Mosh comes in, and elbow drops Phineas, armbar is countered by biting but he dropkicks Phineas down. Armbar again and Phineas works his way back up and tags in Billy to huge heel heat. Billy plays to the crowd and gets more heat and there's a huge "faggot" chant (Lawler thinks it's French). Mosh counters a charge with a boot and clothesline. Well, the heat came here for Billy. Mosh goes for a Bulldog in the corner and it's countered into a 3 count and he's done. Thrasher in and Billy tags Phineas. Thrasher fires the crowd up, but immediately kills them by applying a headlock. Arm wringer and biting come after but Phineas fights up. Hiplock by Thrasher but Phineas starts mule kicking. They run the ropes goes for armbar and headlock. Faceplant and stage dive send Phineas out. Road Dog sneaks in and nails Thrasher. Thrasher takes over and tags out to Bradshaw. He takes advantage and goes to work on Road Dog until Billy distracts him on the apron and Road Dog school boys him for 3. Bradshaw doesn't want to go and kills Road Dog and Billy with lariats. Thrasher in and pummels Road Dog. He goes for a pump handle slam but it's countered. Billy gets a blind tag and comes off the top with leg to the back of Thrashers head and finishes it at 15:25.

Ugh what a horrible match. Absolutely nothing interesting going on at all as far as wrestling goes. The (not quite yet) Outlaws were at least catching on and got a lot of heat, though, but yeah, brutally bad and terrible choice of opener. (-*)

SURVIVOR SERIES MATCH: The Truth Commission vs The Disciples of Apocalypse

Oh god, we go from bad to worse. They all run in for a brawl and The Interrogator (who would be Kurrgan) traps Chainz, he no sells some offense and plants Chainz with a sidewalk slam to eliminate him. Skull & 8 Ball try to double but the Truth Commission come to his aide. Recon hits a clothlesline and powerslam. Jackyl in and drops a top rope knee, which is no sold, and he gets finished off with a sidewalk slam. Jackyl joins for commentary afterward. Sniper in and hammers away. Recon tags but misses something off the top and gets trapped in the corner. Crush in and drops some legs and hits a belly to bellt. Recon flips over a backdrop and superkicks 8 Ball. They hit heads and Skull illegally swaps with 8 Ball and levels Recon for the 3 count. Sniper runs in a hits a neckbreaker. Interrogator cheap shots Skull and he's eliminated. 8 Ball in and stomp away, corner clothesline takes down Sniper Crush in and hammers away. Suplex gets a near fall and apples a head scissors, he sits in that for a while. 8 Ball returns, double throat chop by 8 Ball but Interrogator makes a blind tag. DDT by 8 Ball but Interrogator sidewalk slams him for 3. Crush in and Interrogator no sells some offsense and tags Sniper. Crush powerslams him and he's out. Interrogator charges in with a sidewalk slam (apparently his only move) and finishes Crush to be the sole survivor at 9:56. 

Even worse than the previous match. The sidewalk slam suddenly became a devastating move for this match, I wonder why that didn't get over. We're still in negative stars, not a good way to start the show. (-**)

SURVIVOR SERIES MATCH: Steve Blackman, Marc Mero, Vader and Goldust vs Doug Furnas, Phil LaFon, British Bulldog & Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart

Oh, stop the pain. Oh wait, this one actually has some decent wrestlers in it. This is actually Team USA vs Team Canada (despite LaFon beind the only Canadian on the Canadian team). Goldust has a broken hand so he won't be doing much here. Team USA come out The Patriots theme despite The Patriot not even being here (that music would later be Kurt Angles). Team Canada use Bret Harts theme, which gets a monster pop. This was Meros big return after his injury. Bulldog takes him down and plays to the crowd, Mero shows us what would come later by getting pissed off at a Sable chant. Vader tags but gets overpowered by the Bulldog. Each guy gets a chance to get some moves in. Blackman kicks LaFons ass for a bit, he's very green and pretty sloppy here. He brawls outside but apparently doesn't know what a count out is and gets counted out like an idiot. Mero and Anvil go at it. Neidhart gets a clothesline off a missed corner charge. He misses a second rope knee drop and Mero tags Vader. Vader and Neidhart have a power exchange but Vader wins that and splashes him to get rid of him. Lafon in and gets in some offense, he leg lariats Vader out and LaFon gets some cheaps shots in. Back in, Vader sends LaFon flying across the ring and hits a belly to belly. Second rope splash and LaFon is out. Furnas in and dropkicks Vader. Mero comes in and does some of his (what would become) patented boxing stuff. He hits a double jump moonsault for 2. Furnas tags Bulldog to a huge pop and he beats down Mero. Mero counters the powerslam and hits Bulldog with a jab. Furnas comes back in, he kicks out of a rollup and gets his own to eliminate Mero. Crowd is sad because Sable is leaving, so Vader poses for them. Vader and Bulldog go at it, Vader gets a suplex and wants to tag Goldust but Goldust isn't interested. Furnas in and applies a headlock but Vader suplexes him. Vader tries to tag out again but Goldust still refuses. Furnas low blows Vader, The Bulldog heads in but gets levelled by Vader. Goldust continues to have no interest in any of this, and drops off the apron this time to avoid the tag. Furnas hits an overhead belly to belly suplex in an impressive move. He follows with a rana for 2. Vader nails Furnas and wants to tag Goldust, but he turns his back, so Vader slaps him and flings him into the ring, which is a tag. Goldust walks out on the match and eliminates himself. Bulldog grabs the ring bell while Vader eliminates Furnas with a Vader bomb. Referee is busy getting Furnas out and Bulldog clobbers Vader with the bell to finish the match at 17:47. 

It was fun while Vader was in and pretty bad when anyone else was in. Bulldog and Furnas were good in this match. This did also set up a long feud with Vader and Goldust. I wouldn't say it was good but it was ok. (**1/2)

Kane vs Mankind

No house lights for this match, as it's contested under Kanes red light, it looks different but it just doesn't work. Mankind attacks but Kane whips him into the steps. He goes in and does his corner pyro. Mankind hits a cactus clothesline to no effect. Kane throws the steps in his face. I guess the ref isn't going to be DQing anyone here. Kane continues to dominate with a lot of very slow offense. Mankind eventually finds an opening and sends Kane into the steps and blasts him with a chair, but Kane no sells it. Pulling piledriver takes Kane down, but he goes to Paul Bearer with the mandible claw. Kane sits up and throws Mankind from the apron through the Spanish announce table, awesome bump. He goes after Mankind but he's still alive, low blow and a DDT on the floor. Mankind follows it with a cactus elbow. Kane sits up and slams him from the top rope to the floor. Mankind struggles back in the ring but Kane simply tombstones him to finish at 9:29.

Positives and negatives here. Let's start with the negatives, it's incredibly slow, generally boring, and the red light is annoying to say the least. Positives are that it was exactly what it should've been, a glorified squash match with Mankind bumping like a madman to get Kane over, and Kane reminded me of Michael Myers (from the Halloween movies) here. (**1/2)

Interview with Vince McMahon, which was so weird at the time, as he wasn't the on screen owner yet. He's in the back and not doing commentary because of the extra tension. He is hesitant to pick a winner.

SURVIVOR SERIES MATCH: Legion of Doom, Ken Shamrock & Ahmed Johnson vs The Nation of Domination

D'Lo and Hawk start, Hawk no sells a piledriver, and gets a neckbreaker. Thankfully Rocky comes in and hits a rock bottom to send Hawk home. Hawk notably kicks out after the 3 count which is stupid, but at least he’s out early before he can stink up the match too much. Ahmed and Kama go at it but Ahmed gets beat down and Faarooq is tagged in. Rocky Sucks chant breaks out. Ahmed gets caught in the wrong corner and D'Lo whips him with a strap. Ahmed shakes that off and eliminates Faarooq with a Pearl River Plunge. Faarooq doesn't leave, D'Lo and beats Ahmed down until he fights back. D'Lo with a frog splash but he taunts instead of pinning. Rocky in and Faarooq who is still here, holds Ahmed's feet down on a pinfall and he's out as well. They brawl to the back. Animal in and he goes at with Rocky. Shamrock gets the tag and beats up Kama. Kama fights back but misses a corner charge and Animal comes back in. Kama goes for a facelock but it's countered. Double clothesline spot, Animal up with a back suplex for 2. They continue to bore the crowd who get distracted by telling Rocky how much he sucks. Kama showboats and gets dropkicked into Rocky and gets eliminated thankfully. D'Lo and Shamrock come in next. D'Lo gets dropkicked and clothelined. D'Lo pokes him in the eye and Rocky comes in with a blatant low blow punch. Crowd chants 'Rocky's gay'. Let drop gets 2 and D'Lo goes to chinlock. Shamrock fires back but D'Lo gets him back down. Backbreaker is followed by a springboard moonsault but it misses. Animal and Rocky tag in, Animal dominates both guys until Billy Gunn and Road Dog appear in the aisle wearing LOD shoulderpads. Rocky clotheslines him out and he brawls with the Outlaws and gets counted out. Shamrock is alone against both D'Lo and Rocky. D'Lo clothesline him down and Rocky comes in for a double team but Shamrock runs through both of them with a double clothesline. Shamrock sends Rocky over the top and belly to bellys D'Lo. Ankle lock and D'Lo taps out. Rock sneaks in with a chair and smacks Shamrock in the back with it behind the refs back. It only gets 2. Rocky doesn't like it and stomps away. Shamrock cuts him off but gets hit with the floatover DDT. Rocky slams and hits the (unnamed) people's elbow for 2. Shamrock pummels Rocky and counters a second floatover DDT attempt into a northern lights suplex. Rocky runs into a rana. Shamrock snaps and armbars Rocky into the ankle lock and Rocky taps, making Shamrock the sole survivor at 20:31.

This had it's moments, it was good when D'Lo or Rocky were in with Shamrock and pretty bad when anyone else was in. The ending sequence was excellent and saved it, they put Shamrock over huge here. (**3/4)

WWF INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH: Owen Hart vs Stone Cold Steve Austin

Steve Austin returns to the ring here. He gets his glass shatter entrance (though, only half the logo breaks). Owen comes out with Team Canada and wears his 'Owen 3:16, I just broke your neck' shirt. Owen stalls and Neidhart sneaks in but eats a stunner. Owen jumps Austin and pounds away, some fans chant "break his neck". Owen goes for a piledriver, to huge cheers, man, Montreal are cold. Austin counters with a backdrop. Owen slides out and Team Canada leaves, so Owen tries to get counted out. Austin chases him and beats him back to the ring. Owen bails again and hits a low blow and chokes him with a cable. He tells the ref to DQ him and even rings the bell, but it's not happening. Back in, Owen beats on him some more. Austin turns it around and stomps a mudhole. Whip and attempted slam but Owen lands on his feet. Austin rakes the eyes and finishes it with a stunner at 4:04.

Ugh, horrible, borderline squash match, Austin absolutely should not have been wrestling here, and the last guy he wanted to work with was Owen anyway. He didn't take any bumps and nor should he have, and because of those limitations Owen couldn't do much with him either. They probably could've teased the piledriver some more and built something around it, but I'm not even going to fault anyone here because of the situation. (DUD) 

The Verdict:
Well, that was a lackluster show with absolutely nothing noteworthy happening at all... what? there's still one more match? Oh, yeah, it's *that* match.

WWF TITLE MATCH: Bret 'Hitman' Hart vs Shawn Michaels

Shawn doesn't know where the entrance is, he eventually finds it and brings the Canadian flag with him, he wipes his ass with it, picks his nose with and humps it to establish that he's the heel in case in case anyone thought otherwise. Bret attacks before the bell and they brawl out into the crowd. Vince and the stooges come out to try to talk them into getting back in the ring so the match can start, thus giving Vince a reason to be at ringside. Shawn rams Bret to the stairs and chokes him with the flag. Shawn tries a piledriver out there but gets backdropped back to ringside. They brawl into the crowd again and down the aisle. Another piledriver attempt by Shawn is countered and he gets backdropped. Shawn takes a suplex on the concrete and Pat Patterson gets nailed by Bret. Bret tosses him over a barricade and nails him with a fire extinguisher. Vince tells them to get in the ring again, but Bret doesn't give a shit and knocks down another referee. Vince gets in his face again, demanding they get in the ring. Brawl continues and they finally do and the match starts for real. Bret chokes Shawn out with the Quebec flag. Bret drops and knee and inverted atomic drop. Shawn hits a flying forearm to huge boos and chokes Bret out with the flag of Quebec to more boos, his heat is incredible. He stops to trash talk some fans then tosses Bret out. Brawl outside with Shawn dominating, he hits a gordbuster out there and drives the Canadian flagpole into Brets throat. He dominates in the isle and eventually goes back in and hits a double axehandle. Front facelock grounds Bret again, but Bret counters with a gordbuster and goes to work on the knee, but Shawn goes for the eyes. Bret goes for the knee again but Shawn again rakes the eyes. He goes up for a crossbody but Bret rolls through for 2. He stomps away at the leg and gets the ringpost figure four. Back in Bret keeps working the knee. Traditional Figure Four follows, Shawn eventually fights out of it and reverses it but Bret grabs the ropes. Bret pummels away and tosses Shawn upside down into the corner, and hits a Russian leg sweep. Vertical suplex and backbreaker follow. Bret goes up but Shawn pulls the referee in front of Bret and they both get wiped out. It's now time to cue up the ominous music, Shawn rakes the eyes, Earl makes a quick recovery, Shawn applies the sharpshooter, and you know how it ends. Actual match lasted about 12 minutes, the brawling outside about 7, I got 19:31 total for anyone who cares about that.

No one really talks about the match itself, but what we got was very good. The crowd heat was great, Shawn had so much heat the fans were wanting to jump the rail to attack him themselves. The pre-match brawl was well done and as intense as anything you'll ever see. The match in the ring was off to a good start and was on its way to being something great, it does fall short as it never got there, though it was still very good. (***1/2)

Everything has already been said about the screwjob, and everyone has their opinion on it. Here’s mine: There's were no 'good guys' in this, but I'm on Bret's side, if I tried to be professional with someone and told them I'd be happy to them over, and their reply was, 'thanks, but I'll never do the same for you'. I wouldn't be putting that person over under any circumstances either. I do, however, understand Vince’s position that he needed to get the belt off Bret.

The Verdict:
The screwjob, the last PPV of the Hart Foundation, Kanes debut, basically the last PPV of the great stretch of 1997 before the attitude era was ushered in. Yes, it’s got the most historical value of any show I can possibly think of. But I don’t watch these shows strictly because they’re historical, and historical value isn’t a sole reason for me to recommend anything. I watch these shows for entertainment, and this show was not entertaining. It’s fucking awful. The main event is a good brawl, Kane/Mankind has a lot of issues but I enjoyed watching it and Shamrock dominating the Nation was some strong booking. That’s about it for positives here, the rest was garbage and with the Hart Foundation gone, the roster got even thinner and the next PPV would be one of the worst in history, but that’s for another time. Thumbs down. 

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