The Survivor Series Countdown: Day Five

November 15th, 2010 by | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Before we get to #15 on the list, let’s check back in with the Gobbledy Gooker.

Three cool guys right there. Three cool, cool guys.


Date: November 15, 1998
Era: Attitude Era
Location: Kiel Center in St. Louis, Missouri
Known as: The Deadly Game Tournament
Elimination Matches: 0 out of 14

98 is an infamous year for Survivor Series. Most notable, it’s the first year that the event did not have an elimination tag match. Rather, the eliminations came in the form of a tournament. You see, Vince McMahon was so bent on getting the title off “Stone Cold” Steve Austin that he held a special triple threat match between Austin, Kane and Undertaker where Kane and Undertaker could only win by pinning Austin. They pinned him at the same time and hence, the title situation was a big pile of confusion. By November, it was made clear that Survivor Series would be a 14-man tournament where the winner would be crowned WWF Champion. Undertaker and Kane would each get byes and meet up in the second round. Mankind, who works in Vince’s pocket, would face a mystery opponent in the first round. The tournament also features top faces Austin and the Rock, who Vince wants to make sure have no chance at succeeding. No chance… in HELL!

What is also important to remember is that this is heavily booked by one Vince Russo.

The Atmosphere

We get a cool Freddie Blassie intro showing the wrestlers working out and looking all serious and repeating the phrases, “Whatever it takes,” and, “I will be champion.” The setup is really cool with a giant skull at the top of the ramp and bowls of flame lined up on the way to the ring. There are very few non-wrestling segments due to the nature of the tournament and the whole thing is extremely fast-paced. The promos we do get aren’t much to speak about, one way or another. Sable yells at Michael Cole that Jacqueline has pissed her off, Paul Bearer says nothing of importance and Mankind badmouths the Rock and unknowingly foreshadows their eventual alliance by joking about smelling what the sock is cooking.

The show also has an extremely cheesy “It’s a Deadly Game!” theme song that is thankfully only plays in the very beginning.

The Matches

We start off with Vince McMahon being led out on a wheelchair (thanks to being Rock Bottomed on a previous Raw) so he can announce Mankind to the ring and reveal his mystery opponent. The fans chant “HBK!” rather loudly, but they’re only setting themselves up for disappointment. Vince goes over how this is someone who left the WWF years back to work for WCW, which again raises the expectations of the viewers, but it turns out to be none other than Duane Gill, a bottom-of-the-barrel jobber who only appeared in squash matches. Gill comes to the ring, excited that he has his own Titantron video and frightened by his pyro. Mankind vs. Duane Gill is as short as you’d expect, ending with a double-armed DDT from Mankind for the easy pin. Mankind basically gets a bye here. It gets the point of the storyline across, but I’d think an actual match would have worked better as the show’s opener.

Like how they should have had Al Snow vs. Jeff Jarrett first instead. This first round match starts out looking like it’s going to be a hot one. Debra tries to distract Snow off the bat, but he gets in her face, feigns stupidity and gets Jarrett when he tries to capitalize. Snow does a nice senton flip off the ring steps and throws him into the ring so the match can start. It’s mostly Snow’s game until he misses a legdrop off the top rope. Every time Jarrett tries to press an advantage, Snow would counter him in some way. This is the beginning of what could be a great match, even with the ten minute time limit. Then it has to end after about three minutes.

The two run into each other and conk heads, causing the ref to count both of them down. Debra distracts the referee and the two wrestlers reach for their respective weapons. They end up grabbing the wrong ones, with Jarrett using Head and Snow using a guitar. Jarrett wins the exchange with a Head shot on Snow and has the ref throw the guitar out of the ring. As the ref’s doing that, Snow recovers, gets Head back and clobbers Jarrett with it. The ref turns around, counts to three and Snow runs off victorious. There’s also a little subplot here where Mr. Socko is being used as a headband for Head and Snow doesn’t seem to notice or care. To quote Jim Ross, “It’s an insane asylum!”

Big Boss Man vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is just as short, but lacks any of the imagination. It’s really just the two of them filling up three minutes by hitting all their trademarks outside of their finishers. Austin does his usual brawling tactics until Boss Man does a low blow. He does his patented leapfrog body guillotine move onto the second rope, followed by the usual punch from outside the ring. Austin gets back into it, does the Mudhole Stomp spot and they decide to wrap it up. Boss Man grabs his nightstick and proceeds to beat the hell out of Austin for a minute or so. Austin wins by disqualification, but Boss Man weakens him for the rest of the tournament. Other than pushing the story, there’s absolutely nothing about this match that’s PPV quality.

The next tournament match is X-Pac vs. “Man’s Man” Steven Regal. X-Pac is European Champion during this time and it’s a good way to push the startings of a feud between the two. The two have a very entertaining contrast in styles, giving us X-Pac’s rapid strikes being followed by Regal’s unique submissions. Interesting to me is that at one point Regal gives X-Pac a catapult across the ring, into the mat. I so rarely see that, in both the heel doing the move and the opponent not being aimed at the corner post. Hell, it even looks good! The commentators toss in real world happenings by speculating on which one Governor Ventura likes in this match. There’s a really nice superplex in there by Regal, which gets a very audible, “AW, SHIT!” from X-Pac after hitting the mat. It slows down for a bit, but picks up when X-Pac gets back some offense and hits the Bronco Buster.

It’s working because unlike the other matches, they’re giving it the time needed to breathe. Then the ending screws it all up. X-Pac gets crotched on the top rope and the two end up tumbling to the outside. X-Pac beats down on Regal and the referee counts them both out. That’s fine booking, since it makes Vince sweat backstage, it gives Austin a break so his run through the tournament isn’t completely ridiculous and it cuts down the total number of matches by one. Had it ended right there, it would have worked. Then Vince has Commissioner Slaughter run out to demand a five minute sudden death. Makes sense. But X-Pac slowly limps up the ramp, as if beating up Regal has tired him out so much that being champion no longer matters to him. Regal waits in the ring for X-Pac to return, which you would think would lead to a forfeit or something, but after waiting a while, he chases X-Pac up the ramp.

I know that Regal hit rehab right after this due to a lot of problems, which makes me wonder if he was supposed to brawl with X-Pac up the ramp and screwed it up due to how fucked up he was. Either way, it left me and I’m sure many others confused.

Ken Shamrock vs. Goldust starts out great with some good back and forth striking. It’s a decent match, if a bit slow, but really shows how shitty this crowd is. They just cannot care at all. I almost want to award this match with higher regard just because it ends cleanly! Goldust sets up the Shattered Dreams and the ref stops him from pulling it off. Shamrock gets loose, tears into Goldust, gets into the zone and makes him tap with the Ankle Lock.

The Rock is set to take on Triple H next, but Triple H is out due to injury and can’t make it. It’s kind of a scummy thing for the company to do, hyping the return of a popular wrestler who isn’t meant to make it anyway. Patterson and Brisco come out to the DX theme and make the announcement that Rock will have a replacement opponent. And so, we have The Rock vs. Big Boss Man, which ends in a mere four seconds when Rock puts Boss Man in a Small Package and wins. The novelty is funny and all and I do realize how it’s used in the big picture of that night’s story, but even as a guy who doesn’t like Triple H, I can’t really get behind it.

I should point out that this is the end of the first round of the tournament and the show has only gone a mere 50 minutes. Wow.

The second round begins with Undertaker vs. Kane, who were each given a bye. I think the fact that Kane is the face and Undertaker is the heel makes this probably the most exciting of their matches. Maybe because face Undertaker vs. heel Kane always makes the ending a foregone conclusion and in this match, they’re played as equals. Either way, their brawling has spunk to it, especially as compared to their earlier, more sluggish one-on-one matches. An amusing spot comes from Kane powerslamming Undertaker and then doing a running elbow drop that completely misses due to Undertaker sitting up. They do a double-choke spot (one of my weaknesses. I love those) that Kane wins out on and hits the chokeslam. Paul Bearer distracts Kane, allowing Undertaker to get up and surprise Kane with a Tombstone. Paul helps seal the deal by holding onto Kane’s foot during the pin. Easily the best match so far.

The second round continues with Mankind vs. Al Snow. This is a short match, but the two try to make every second count. I always like how real life friends tend to put on great performances when working together. As I mentioned earlier, the backstory here is that Vince had his goons steal Mr. Socko and wrap it around Head as a headband, which Snow never questioned to anyone other than Head and Mankind’s yet to notice. It’s stupid, but whatever. They wail on each other with chairs, including a part where Snow is dropped face-first onto one of them. Snow grabs Head and misses a swing, countered by a back suplex from Mankind. Mankind finally sees that Head has “stolen” Socko and proceeds to start beating on the mannequin head. He surprises Snow with a double-armed DDT, puts on Mr. Socko to a huge pop and takes him out.

Speaking of good chemistry, we have Ken Shamrock vs. The Rock. God, those two always put it together and this time is no different. Unlike the last match, they’re given enough time to shine. They begin with a brawl to the outside, where Rock gets thrown into the steps. They continue their spiel in the ring for a bit and things start to get just a little uneventful until the Big Boss Man walks out and loiters around the ring. Things begin to pick up as Rock goes into one of his trademark punching sprees, misses, gets tied into a hurricanrana and then gets put into the Ankle Lock. Eventually, he’s able to get to the ropes and break the hold. A double clothesline sends both he and Shamrock down for a moment, allowing them some brief rest.

When they get up, Rock’s able to hit the Floatover DDT. Thanks to Boss Man’s attempted interference, Rock is able to sneak in a low blow on Shamrock. He hits the People’s Elbow and Shamrock surprisingly kicks out. Too bad the crowd is completely ant-Shamrock in light of him being up against the Rock. Rock tries for a Rock Bottom, but Shamrock powers out. As this is going on, Boss Man gets in the ref’s face and, unnoticed, throws his nightstick to Shamrock. The Rock intercepts it, pastes Shamrock, loses the stick and makes the pin. After the match, Shamrock wrecks shit, as he’s wont to do. Probably the match of the night and does a good job at playing at the Rock’s overall story.

Because Austin has a bye, the second round is over. We get the first non-tournament match with Jacqueline defending the Women’s Championship against Sable. As part of his feud with Vince, Shane McMahon is the designated referee here as an attempt to humiliate him. Sable’s estranged husband and overall douche Marc Mero is in Jacqueline’s corner. Based on Sable’s lack of experience, it’s the best match you can ask for out of the two. Jacqueline blindsides Sable to start it, but the momentum shifts almost immediately and Sable hits the TKO. Mero breaks up the pin and pulls Sable out of the ring, where he’s rewarded with a pretty good Sablebomb onto the floor. Jacqueline hops off the apron and nails Sable, allowing Jaqueline to dominate for a couple minutes. She tries a DDT from the top rope, it’s reversed and Sable finishes Jacqueline off with a Sablebomb, winning her the title.

The semi-finals begin with ”Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Mankind, starting off with Austin going straight for Mankind. Throughout the night, Mankind has been wrestling in a tuxedo and Austin begins to tear it to pieces while using one of the shoes as a weapon. Shortly into the fight, Vince McMahon is wheeled out to get a closer look. Mankind’s shortlived advantage is countered with a Lou Thesz Press and an attempt at a Stunner. Mankind slips away in a panic and tries to escape the match completely, but Vince and associates coax him back. Austin doesn’t so much give him a choice, as he beats up the Stooges and forces Mankind into some nice brawling. Part of this includes trying to piledrive Mankind on the outside, only to be backdropped into the steel steps.

Things become very, very lenient in terms of weapon use. Mankind tries using a chair on Austin and gets it kicked into his face. Shortly after, Mankind double-arm DDTs Austin onto the chair for a two-count. He tries a piledriver of his own and gets backdropped onto that chair. Finally, Austin hits the Stunner and the ref goes for the count. Vince stands out of his wheelchair, grabs the ref by the legs, pulls him out of the ring and punches him out. Things haven’t completely gone south for Austin, as he goes for a second Stunner. It’s reversed into a Mandible Claw, but Austin kicks Mankind in the junk and gets another Stunner out of it. Referee Shane McMahon dashes in, makes the count of two and then swerves Austin by flipping him off rather than finish the count. Brisco runs in and finishes Austin off with one of the weakest looking chairshots in the history of chairshots and Mankind gets the pin. Completely overbooked and that chairshot kills what was an otherwise good match-up. I think Foley himself is pretty embarrassed over this one. Anyway, Vince and friends happily run away and drive off. Austin steals a car and gives chase.

The Undertaker vs. The Rock is the other semi-final match and is very average, all-in-all. It’s mostly Undertaker’s fight throughout with a lot of aggression from the Dead Man. They spend forever fighting on the outside, including some time fighting through the crowd. Once they’re back in the ring, Rock backdrops Undertaker by surprise and they both go down. Yet again, Big Boss Man comes out and Rock animatedly calls him out and refers to him loudly as a “fat piece of shit”. Boss Man interferes by hooking Rock’s leg during the People’s Elbow, but Undertaker doesn’t show any appreciation. Instead, he punches Boss Man off the apron.

The end of the match has Kane come out to confront his brother. Undertaker, out of desperation, shoves the Rock at Kane. Kane chokeslams the Rock and gets his brother disqualified for it. Rock advances and the Brothers of Destruction brawl into the crowd.

To break up the tournament yet again, we have a tag match where The New Age Outlsaws (Road Dogg and “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn) defend the WWF Tag Team Championship against the Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher) and the team of D’Lo Brown and Mark Henry in a Triple Threat Match. The Triple Threat part isn’t entirely clear in the beginning as even the commentators aren’t quite sure how the match works. The wrestlers themselves as well, considering there’s a part where Thrasher is tagged by D’Lo and proceeds to be openly confused about it.

The match is, without a doubt, a mess… but it’s an entertaining mess. The six guys really give it their all with lots of good nearfalls, high-flying moves and good use of the Triple Threat dynamic. Stuff like Mosh doing a top-rope clothesline to D’Lo on the apron out of nowhere. Or later on, when D’Lo has one of the Outlaws set up and keeps trying to get Mosh to leapfrog over D’Lo and do a sitting senton onto the opponent’s back as a short-lived team-up. Mosh appears to oblige, runs across the ropes, stops short and kicks D’Lo in the crotch from behind. When Billy Gunn gets a hot tag and it seems like he’s about to clean house, he’s almost immediately met with a Sky High Powerbomb from D’Lo. The ending has Gunn hit Mosh with the Famouser, followed by Henry splashing down onto Mosh. Mosh kicks out and Thrasher enters to start going at it with Henry. During that distraction, Gunn delivers a piledriver on Mosh and gets the pin. Really entertaining match.

Also worth mentioning is how there is an entire section of the crowd holding up a sign of the entire New Age Outlaws opening speech. Gunn himself was completely taken aback by it and had a huge smile on his face in response.

The tournament final is Mankind vs. The Rock for the WWF Championship. Mankind comes out in what’s left of his tuxedo attire, which would become his mainstay Mankind gear from there on out. Backstage, we see Vince McMahon (who didn’t leave after all) sending Boss Man home, gladly telling him that his services are no longer needed. The match begins a little more wary than the other matches of the night, showing that both of these guys are more on the tired side. It’s a nice change of pace, even if nothing much happens for a while. During a rest hold, Vince and Shane walk out. Rock becomes increasingly tense at their presence.

The fight goes into the crowd and back to the ring, where again, it tumbles to the outside. Mankind briefly takes Rock out with a chairshot and picks up the steel steps. Rock picks up the chair and smashes the steps into Mankind’s face. As Mankind is buried underneath, Rock keeps slamming the chair into the steps repeatedly. It’s pretty sweet. Mankind gets back into the swing of things, lays Rock onto one of the announce tables and delivers a legdrop. For the next few minutes, any time Rock would gain any kind of momentum, he’d be quickly tossed out of the ring and things would be back to square one. This is until Mankind sets him up on a table, jumps off the top rope, misses the Rock and flies right through the table. Rock brings him into the ring, delivers the People’s Elbow, but it’s a kickout. Mankind reacts with the double-armed DDT and pulls out Mr. Socko to the sound of “ROCKY!” chants. Rock reverses the Socko Mandible Claw into the Rock Bottom. Then, all of the sudden, he turns to Vince, lifts his eyebrow, puts Mankind in the Sharpshooter, Vince calls for the bell and Rock is declared the winner.

Yes, they just ended their big championship tournament with a Montreal reference. I think the screwjob here is a great idea and all, and I understand that it’s only been a year, but did they have to go that specific? I don’t know, the actual Sharpshooter part hits me as a bit too lame. Anyway, Vince, Shane and Rock all hug as Mankind is confused. They each do a promo about how they’ve tricked the crowd, but Mankind speaks up and notes that as much respect as he has for the Rock, he didn’t submit. Rock responds by blindsiding him from behind with the belt, followed by a Rock Bottom. Austin runs out and is briefly beaten on by the Rock, but turns it around with a Stunner. He helps Mankind up, only to drop him with a Stunner. Before leaving, he stomps on Rock some more and leaves him in a battered heap.

Great way to end the PPV and Rock’s heel turn is completely perfect. It makes sense, it puts all the Boss Man interference in a different light and leads to some major stuff for the company (especially the Rock/Mankind and Rock/Austin programs). Without Survivor Series 98, we wouldn’t have the infamous, “That’ll put some butts in seats,” moment on WCW Nitro that struck a major blow in the Monday Night Wars. It’s just a shame that the success would go to Vince Russo’s head and he’d try to recreate the magic again and again, even to this day. Survivor Series 98 is Vince Russo’s Batman: The Long Halloween.


Date: November 9, 1997
Era: Attitude Era
Location: Molson Centre in Montreal, Quebec
Known as: Montreal
Elimination Matches: 4 out of 7

Ah, yes. Here we have what is one of the most important wrestling shows of all time, giving us the all-so-special Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels match. We all know the story. Shawn Michaels was a dick, Bret Hart fell to Michaels’ level and Vince was a callous businessman. Everyone was an asshole and it left major ripples in the business. Other than that, what was going on in the WWF? Steve Austin had a horrible neck injury thanks to Owen Hart and was going to be making his long-awaited return. The Undertaker’s evil brother Kane had made himself known and was going to make his debut. Then there was a big USA vs. Canada feud that the main event was connected to.

The Atmosphere

It begins with a great retrospective on the history of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, but then proceeds to replay the entire video later in the night for some reason. They play up how they’re in Quebec by having a French ring announcer and showing what different French Canadian fans think about who’s going to win the main event. For promos, we have Team USA where Vader appears to forget his lines for a moment, Steve Austin getting all pissy about an AOL chatroom, Hawk being crazy as always and a really sweet Mankind promo where he compares his match with Kane to running straight into a brick wall over and over again until it finally breaks.

Before the main event, we see Michaels and Bret each walking through the backstage area and making their way to the ramp. The one thing I find most interesting is when Vince McMahon and Sergeant Slaughter are asked about the main event. When the question arises of, “Who will win?” Vince gives a somewhat eerie, “I don’t know.”

The Matches

We begin with some elimination tag action as the Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher) and the New Blackjacks (Blackjack Windham and Blackjack Bradshaw) go up against the New Age Outlaws (“Bad Ass” Billy Gunn and Road Dogg) and the Godwinns (Henry and Phineas). It starts out promising enough with some good brawl-based fighting between Phineas and Windham while Road Dogg refuses to get tagged in. Bradshaw gets a surprise pin on Henry by turning an Abdominal Stretch into a pinning combination. A minute or so later, Windham runs right at Phineas in the corner, eats an elbow to the face, gets clotheslined and is pinned.

Billy Gunn is finally forced into the match, where he receives a whole lot of chants from the Montreal crowd about how he’s a homosexual. Not yet, guys! Not yet. Mosh works him over and goes for a bulldog from the corner, but Gunn reverses it in a cool way that drops Mosh right on his face. Mosh is eliminated. Thrasher puts Phineas in a bunch of restholds and all the wrestling begins to slow to a crawl from here on. To be fair, Phineas is in the ring, so it’s to be expected. That doesn’t last for too much longer as Thrasher eliminates Phineas with the Stage Dive. Now we have the makeshift tag team of Bradshaw and Thrasher vs. the New Age Outlaws.

Road Dogg enters the ring for the first time, even though the match has been going on for over twelve minutes. Despite being completely fresh, he’s murdered by Bradshaw with a lot of power moves. Bradshaw breaks stride to swing at Gunn and it costs him, as Road Dogg rolls him up with a pin. The ending is incredibly screwy and you can tell at least one person messed up. Road Dogg tries to give Thrasher the Pumphandle Slam and it gets reversed. Road Dogg gets up, runs over to Gunn and tags him. Then he tries the Pumphandle Slam again and once more, it’s reversed. Thrasher tries to pin him as Gunn jumps off the top rope for a legdrop and misses by a mile. Thrasher still sells it enough that Gunn can pin him and the Outlaws survive.

That one wasn’t such a good match and it’s going to continue on that trend. When I saw that I’d have to watch the Disciples of Apocalypse (Crush, Chainz, 8-Ball and Skull) vs. the Truth Commission (Jackyl, Interrogator, Sniper and Recon), I winced. The Truth Commission. Has there ever been a shittier stable in all of professional wrestling? Before you answer, I do consider the Misfits in Action to be a better team. The DOA are no spring chickens themselves, but at least they have motorcycles for their entrances. That’s cool enough. They ride around the ring and slide in to start a huge brawl with the Truth Commission until it simply peters out. Chainz and the Interrogator (Kurrgan) try to make this work, but I’m sorry, it’s unbearable. Chainz runs into a Sidewalk Slam and gets pinned in just over a minute.

Sidewalk Slam Count: 1

The Jackyl, the team’s manager and mouthpiece, shows what he’s got against 8-Ball. Even though he hits a kneedrop from the top rope, 8-Ball completely no-sells it and puts him away with a Sidewalk Slam.

Sidewalk Slam Count: 2

Surprisingly, there are some big, “DOA!” chants going on. Jackyl staggers over to the announce booth and joins in the commentary from here on out. In the ring, Recon tries to land on his feet after a backdrop but screws up by falling on his ass, gets back up and kicks 8-Ball in the face. 8-Ball takes a powder and Skull takes his place unseen in your usual case of twin trickery, putting down Recon with a clothesline. He’s gone. 8-Ball and Skull do a team-up slam maneuver on Sniper, which would get Skull the pin if it wasn’t for Interrogator keeping the ref distracted. By the time the ref makes the count, Sniper is able to kick out. From the apron, Interrogator hits Skull when he’s whipped in his direction, opening Skull up for a bulldog from Sniper. Skull is eliminated. It gets more and more boring as it continues on. Interrogator blind-tags himself in right before 8-Ball delivers the slowest DDT I’ve ever seen on Sniper. Interrogator grabs him and puts him away with a Sidewalk Slam.

Sidewalk Slam Count: 3

It’s 2-on-1, but not for long. Sniper runs into Crush and receives a Tilt-a-Whirl Powerslam. He’s pinned. Interrogator casually walks in, picks up Crush, hits a Sidewalk Slam and finishes the match.

Sidewalk Slam Count: 4

At least it was only ten minutes.

Time for Team Canada (British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart, Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon) vs. Team USA (Vader, Goldust, Marc Mero and Steve Blackman). Team Canada is made up of two Americans, one Englishman and one Canadian. They’re still getting lots of support from the Canadian crowd underneath all the chants for Sable. To start it off, Bulldog tosses Mero out of the ring, which adds to Mero’s mounting frustration that he’s been getting the short end of the stick while everyone loves his wife so much. Vader comes in there and Bulldog hits some impressive power moves on him. Lafon comes in to work on Vader, but he’s able to tag in newcomer Steve Blackman. Blackman makes his in-ring debut by martial artsing the holy hell out of Lafon. Even the rabid anti-American fans show him some respect with some nice, “OOOO!”s in response to his kicks. There’s a brawl on the outside and Furnas keeps Blackman busy enough that he gets counted out.

The next elimination comes when Anvil and Vader try to match power. Vader bumps him with his chest, splashes him and it’s over. Vader dominates Lafon, hits a splash from the second rope and he’s gone as well. Mero comes in and works over Furnas until doing a moonsault and Furnas screws up catching him. Bulldog is tagged, puts Mero in position for the running powerslam, but gets shoved into the corner instead. Furnas comes back in and we get some cool strike-based fighting out of the two. Despite Mero’s momentum, Fernus rolls him up while grabbing the tights and pins him. That leaves Vader and Goldust. Goldust has just turned heel and it’s a wonder why he’s even in the match as he shows no interest in tagging in. He also has “FU” painted on his face, standing for “Forever Unchained”. See? They didn’t need to change Cena’s finisher to the Attitude Adjustment. They just needed to point out that it’s short for the Forever Unchained!

Fernus starts pulling off some sweet moves on Vader like a belly-to-belly suplex and a hurricanrana. Vader recovers and decides he’s had enough of Goldust’s cold shoulder, so he slaps him and literally forces him into the ring. Goldust simply turns tail and walks off, getting counted out. That’s okay. Vader can represent the US himself. He easily finishes off Furnas with a Vader Bomb. The only thing that’d be able to stop the Mastodon is if the British Bulldog ambushed him with a ring bell to the head. Oh… Well, there you go. Canada wins. Still, Vader’s going to be in the company the day after unlike Bulldog, so it’s a moot victory.

It is so surreal when they do USA vs. Canada matches in Canada and the Americans are blatantly the faces. Like, how do you react when Goldust is doing a heel turn on a guy you boo as a heel already?

The Brother of Destruction makes his in-ring debut as Kane murders Mankind. It’s a squash match for sure, but it’s a really fantastic squash match. Mankind goes straight for Kane and is tossed into the steps. Mankind’s tossed back in the ring, Kane steps in and finishes his entrance pyro. The entire match is competed under a red tint, which is kind of badass in making Kane seem like some kind of otherworldly endboss-type threat that even his brother can’t handle. Mankind gets up and clotheslines Kane out of the ring, but the Big Red Machine lands on his feet. Kane picks up the steel steps and throws it at Mankind’s head. It’s completely one-sided, but soon Mankind is able to mount a comeback and hit Kane in the head with a chair. He gives him a piledriver in the ring, puts Paul Bearer in the Mandible Claw and Kane sits up behind him.

Kane grabs Mankind and gives him what I guess would be called a “choketoss” off the apron and through a table. Mankind sneaks in a nutshot and DDTs Kane on the floor. Mankind runs off the apron and drops the elbow on Kane. Mankind then climbs to the top while Kane sits up on the outside. Kane jumps to the apron, grabs Mankind and throws him right onto the floor! Ouch! Mankind slowly crawls back into the ring, ending at Kane’s feet. Kane picks him up, finishes him with a Tombstone and ends a squash match that succeeds in making both men look strong.

Our last elimination match of the night has Ahmed Johnson, Ken Shamrock and the Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) going after the Nation of Domination (Farooq, the Rock, Kama Mustafa and D’Lo Brown). We start with D’Lo piledriving Hawk and Hawk springing back up. Bullshit. Instead, it takes a kick to the back of the head from Kama and a Rock Bottom to take down Hawk and remove him from the match. Ahmed gets in there and is put in peril against the Nation. With the ref not looking, Ahmed’s whipped by a strap in the corner. Farooq tries the Dominator, but Ahmed slips out of it… falls over like a fool… gets up and gives Farooq the Pearl River Plunge for a surprisingly early elimination for the team’s leader. A few minutes later, Farooq comes back to grab Ahmed’s leg from the outside when the Rock pins him so Ahmed can’t kick out. Naturally, THE REFEREES ARE RIGHT THERE LOOKING AT HIM AS THIS GOES DOWN! Sorry.

Ahmed chases Farooq and they brawl to the back. Animal and Kama are the two worst guys in the match and watching them go at it feels like an agonizing eternity. Kama taunts the crowd, gets dropkicked into the Rock on the apron and then gets rolled up for a pin. D’Lo Brown works over Ken Shamrock and I’m reminded that at one point Ken Shamrock was completely over. I’m still bitter that we never got a Ken Shamrock vs. Kurt Angle feud or even match (note: I would try harder to watch TNA if they did this). Anyway, D’Lo misses a moonsault and Shamrock makes the tag to Animal. This works out for the faces until the New Age Outlaws come out with the LOD’s stolen shoulder pads. They taunt Animal until he goes after them and gets powder thrown in his eyes. The ref counts him out and Shamrock chooses to simply stand around and do nothing during all of this.

Shamrock knocks the Rock to the outside and cinches in the Ankle Lock on D’Lo, making him tap. Rock smashes Shamrock with a chair to the back and he kicks out! Rock hits the Floatover DDT and Shamrock again kicks out. People’s Elbow? Kicks out. Another Floatover DDT attempt is turned into a Northern Lights Suplex. Shamrock starts screaming, puts Rock in the Ankle Lock and makes him tap out. Shamrock is the sole survivor.

Owen Hart defends the Intercontinental Championship against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Austin gets a very mixed response because while he is American and fighting a Canadian, he’s also completely over. Funny enough, Owen’s Titantron video is nothing but him giving Austin the career-threatening piledriver over and over again. Owen is joined by his Team Canada buddies, who create a diversion so the Anvil can sneak in and get at Austin. Austin sees him coming and gives him a Stunner.

Sad to say, this isn’t a very fun match to watch because of the situation of Austin’s neck. He has to take it very, very easy since they rushed him into this match. So Owen goes for the piledriver very early and he can’t pull it off. Austin tears into him, causing Owen to run for his life, but he gets pulled back into the fight by the enraged Austin. They brawl on the outside and Owen starts to choke Austin with some cables. Austin still mounts a comeback and does his usual trademarks in the ring. Owen runs into a Tilt-a-Whirl, but instead of giving him a backbreaker to follow up, Austin lets Owen land on his feet. Owen looks confused for a second and the hesitation opens him up for a Stunner. Austin wins the Intercontinental Championship in four minutes and celebrates by giving Fernus and Lafon Stunners.

Now it’s time for the big main event. Bret “The Hitman” Hart defending the WWF Championship against “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels. I’m a little ashamed to say this but this is my first time ever watching this match. I knew the ending, so what was the point of the lead-up? Well, bad judgment on my end because despite the never-ending hate between the two and the ending that overshadows everything, it’s still a damn good match.

Michaels comes out and defaces the Canadian flag repeatedly. He goes so far that what begins as offensive because too over-the-top for me to be mad at. The two go at it immediately with Bret out-brawling the challenger. They brawl all over the place and probably due to their outright hostility towards each other, it comes off really well. Michaels strangles Bret with the US flag and keeps trying to piledrive him, only to receive backdrops in return. Bret gives him a suplex on the outside and Vince McMahon comes out to yell at him to get this match back in the ring. Michaels is rolled in and… the bell rings? Wow, none of that even counted?

To the chants of, “SHAWN IS GAY!” (stay classy, Quebec), Bret chokes Shawn with Quebec’s flag. Michaels surprises the champ with a Flying Forearm out of nowhere and then strangles Bret with the flag. Shawn brings Bret to the outside, suplexes him face-first onto the steps and beats him with a snapped flagpole. It really is a shame that these two had to have such a falling out because they work so damn well together. Bret turns things around and pulls Michaels’ legs into the corner post before giving him a hanging Figure Four off the corner. Bret works over Michaels’ leg and gives him a regular Figure Four in the ring. Michaels is able to turn it over. By this point, it’s notable that although Bret is the more popular one by far, there’s still a minor, “YOU SOLD OUT!” chant at Bret.

Bret tries to punch Michaels from the top, but a ref gets pulled over and it doesn’t work out for him. Michaels puts Bret in the Sharpshooter so Bret can reverse it and—wait, no. The ref says Bret gives up. Da fug? Shawn Michaels walks away as the champ, faking his anger and making it look like he isn’t part of this real life sham to fuck over Bret. I don’t think I have to go into how the rest of the story works out after the cameras turn off.

Heh. You know how they would occasionally have Santa Claus show up at the end of different Survivor Series in the 90’s to celebrate with the winner? Imagine how awkward that would have been if they tried it here.

It’s a show that starts off horribly with two really bad matches, but slowly gains steam until hitting its fantastic main event. It may not be the best Survivor Series, but it will be the one that people remember for years to come.

Day One (23-22)
Day Two (21-20)
Day Three (19-18)
Day Four (17-16)
Day Five (15-14)
Day Six (13-12)
Day Seven (11-10)
Day Eight (9-8)
Day Nine (7-6)
Day Ten (5-4)
Day Eleven (3-1)

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