Thursday, November 15, 2012

Throwback Thursday: Favorite Survivor Series Teams

The Warriors
Survivor Series 1990
Photo by WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

In 1987 when the Survivor Series pay per view was born it brought something new to the landscape of wrestling.  The concept was simple, "teams of five strive to survive."  That was the motto in the early days.  I miss those first four years of the event.  Tag teams, women, and even the world champion was involved in the five on five or four on four elimination matches. (Although in '91 Hulk Hogan defended the title against the Undertaker)  The first two years, it was five tag teams vs. five tag teams.  I think in 1992 when they basically gutted the concept they hurt the Survivor Series forever.  I don't believe it's been the same since then.  But I digress.

Ready for battle
Today I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite memories/teams from the early days of the Survivor Series.  The WWE recently named "The Warriors" as the greatest Survivor Series team ever.  I don't know if they were truly the best ever, but I did mark out for them.  I am still to this day a huge fan of Kerry Von Erich, who was the Texas Tornado during his WWF tenure.  But in World Class Championship Wrestling he was "The Modern Day Warrior".  The WWF teamed him with World champion the Ultimate Warrior and the Legion of Doom (Road Warriors) in 1990 against "The Perfect Team" of Mr. Perfect and Demolition.  The Warriors won with the Ultimate Warrior being the sole survivor for his team.  That helped him advance to the bonus Survivor Series elimination match in the main event.  The baby face survivors teamed up against the heel survivors from the undercard matches. This match saw Hogan and Warrior pick up the win as the sole survivors.  Their partner Tito Santana had been eliminated earlier in the match.  This was also the year the Gobbledy Gooker was hatched.

Savage's team
Survivor Series 1987
Photo from WWE
The first year of the Survivor Series featured a very well balanced team of Randy Savage, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, and Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake.  This five man team wrestled circles around their competitors which included The Honky Tonk Man, Danny Davis, "Outlaw" Ron Bass, Harley Race, and Hercules.  Savage, Steamboat, and Roberts all ended up surviving.  I don't know why, but those five were one of my favorite units in Survivor Series history.

Mr. Fuji gets demolished
As I mentioned earlier the first two years of Survivor Series featured five tag teams taking on five tag teams.  That is something that would never be possible today, but again, I digress.  In 1988 things got a little fuzzy at the end as the heel tag team champions Demolition where looking to put away their baby face challenges of The Powers of Pain.  Just as it looked like champs (and their other partners, the Conquistadors) were about to win, Mr. Fuji, who was Ax and Smash's manager, caused his men to get counted out.  The POP helped Mr. Fuji back to his feet after Demolition slammed him outside the ring. They went on to win the match and turn heel while Ax and Smash became beloved fan favorites.  I think I liked it so much because I never saw it coming.

Piper's Team vs. Flair's Team
One final blast from the past, and I pick this just because it involves my all time favorite wrestler, Ric Flair.  He lead his team (Ted DiBiase, The Mountie, and the Warlord) against Roddy Piper, Virgil, Bret Hart, and British Bulldog.  Flair's team won, but only after everyone got counted out at the same time.  You really had to suspend your belief in wrestling logic on it, but my guy won so I guess that's all that really matters.  Flair went on to help Undertaker beat Hogan for the WWF title later in the show.

In closing, besides the lack of elimination matches at the Survivor Series, I also miss the cool team names.  Team Orton, Team Foley, Team Ziggler are just not creative at all.  The Rude Brood, Roddy's Rowdies, and The Enforcers at least showed a little creativity from the writers.

What are your favorite moments from this November tradition?

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