Looking back at 1986, and what if one of the big WWF events had started one year early
Haven’t done one of these in a while and I need a break from Politics and social justice causes.
This edition of Revisionist History is a little different as I am fantasy booking a wrestling show that doesn’t exist. The WWF didn’t run the Survivor Series until Thanksgiving night of 1987, largely as a way to submarine their closest competition in the NWA when they were going to run their first ever Pay Per View show, Starrcade. The concept was a fairly simple one. Take your biggest feuds and pit them against each other on teams of 5 for a big elimination match. That way you can give the people the matchups they wanted, but still not make things definite enough to kill house shows or future big events.
But, as people like me tend to do, I wondered what a show like the show would have looked like if held one year earlier. So let’s rewind things a bit as we go back to November of 1986 in the WWF. Hulk Hogan was sitting on top of the mountain in the middle of the 80’s wrestling boom. The WWF was bringing in good money, Saturday Night’s Main Event was getting good ratings on NBC at the time and we were only a few months out from The Big Event, a show held in Toronto that drew 64,000 people. With the WWF still at a fever pitch (even after a sub-par Wrestlemania 2 only 9 months before) what a better way to give people more of what they wanted than putting together a big show, especially to spite the competition in Jim Crockett’s NWA who was putting on that year’s Starrcade.
So here is my idea of what the 1986 Survivor Series would have looked like. Live from the Boston Garden on Thanksgiving 1986, the WWF presents the Survivor Series.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper, George “The Animal” Steel, Tito Santana, Koko B Ware, Pedro Morales
“Macho Man” Randy Savage, “Adorable” Adrian Adonis, “Cowboy” Bob Orton, Don Muraco, Jimmy Jack Funk (With Jimmy Hart, Mr. Fuji, and Elizabeth)
The two big feuds in this one are Intercontinental Champion Randy Savage and George Steele along with Roddy Piper and Adrian Adonis. Since Savage was the champion and Steel wasn’t exactly right as a team leader, Savage and Piper would be the captains. Along with Savage and Adonis, you had Orton and Muraco who were part of the feud against Piper and were teaming up more around this point. Jimmy Jack Funk was pretty much a jobber once Dory Funk left, but he was also managed by Hart so he would be on the team. On the other side joining Piper and Steel would be Santana, who was the one that Savage beat for the belt earlier in the year. Koko was brand new to the company at that point, and Pedro would be a last minute replacement for Ricky Steamboat, who had been injured in the infamous “crushed larynx” angle that would have aired right before this show.
To the match. The early part of this one would be that Piper’s team is hyper and out of control and that Savage’s team doesn’t quite know how to react to it. The heels would basically run while the faces have the early advantage. Eventually, Funk gets in the ring with Steel and in a wild spot, Steel eliminates Funk from the match to get the crowd popped for the first elimination. This would leave Savage’s team in a total scramble but thanks to the missed top rope dropkick Muraco would calm things down for his team by pinning Koko. Things would get worse for Piper’s team soon after when Mr. Fuji trips Pedro from outside thew ring, leading to a Randy Savage elbow putting the former world champion away.
Steel would jump in and chase Adonis around for a while but thanks to a distraction from Liz, Savage would nail him from behind on the outside of the ring and Steel would be counted out of the match. Santana and Piper though would strike quickly with Tito hitting the flying forearm and eliminating Orton, making the sides a little easier. Both Piper and Tito tag in and out to try and eliminate someone else, but with some help from Muraco, Adrian hits an elbow on Tito and eliminates him.
Piper, facing 3 on 1, gets the crowd behind him, but all three heels work him over in the corner for a while before Savage distracts the ref while Muraco gets Mr. Fuji’s cane, but accidently wallops Adrian with it and Piper pins Adrian in the confusion. Savage and Muraco react and start pounding on Piper mercilessly but can not seem to get the pin. In an attempt to put him away for good, Savage hangs onto the exhausted Piper while Muraco comes in for a clothesline. Piper ducks and Savage is hit, sending him to the floor. Piper scurries around and scoops up Muraco for the pin. Piper then lays down in the middle of the ring to lay possum as Randy climbs into the ring and then to the top rope for his flying elbow, only for Piper to move and score the three count and win the match for his team.
Winner: Rowdy Roddy Piper
British Bulldogs, Can-Am Connection, Islanders, American Express, Killer Bees
Studd/Bundy, Dream Team, Hart Foundation, Moondogs, Shiek/Volkoff (With Bobby Heenan, Johnny V, Jimmy Hart, and Slick)
The big 20 man match that were a big part of the show in 1987 and 1988. Rules are if someone gets pinned, they and the regular partner are eliminated. The British Bulldogs (Dynamite kid and Davey boy Smith) were the tag champions after winning the tag titles from the Dream Team (Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake) at Wrestlemania 2. John Studd and King Kong Bundy were fresh off the feud with the masked Machines and were being set up as challengers for the titles, however Studd was on his way out of the company so this would be his last match. The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) were having a lot of matches with the Killer Bees (Jim Brunzell and Brian Blair) with the Iron Shiek and Nicolai Volkoff also being former champions. The Can-Am Connection (Tom Zenk and Rick Martel) were new to the company and there were plans for them down the road. You also have the Islanders (Haku and Tama), the American Express (Mike Rotundo and Danny Spivey) and the Moondogs (Rex and Spot) to round things out.
The match would, of course, be chaos with 20 guys around the ring and would be the longest match on the show. It would be at least 10 minutes of tagging in and out on both teams before Rick Martel scores the first fall of the match, eliminating Moondog Rex. the advantage would be short-lived as King Kong Bundy flattens a down Mike Rotundo to send the American Express out of the match.
After some more back and forth between the two teams, the Hart Foundation would score a pin over the Islanders with Bret pinning Tama after some double teaming. Brunzell would come in ad gets it from both Harts, leading the Blair coming into the ring and getting both teams DQed and eliminated. Thanks to a surprise body press from Zenk on the Shiek, Shiek and Volkoff are out to make it 2 on 2.
All 8 men would trade in and out, with the face team working over Bundy and Studd the most. Eventually, Zenk gets in with Valentine and having The Hammer on the ropes, Zenk goes for a move off the ropes, only to be clobbered by Beefcake. Hammer drops and elbow and sends the Connection out of the match. Studd and Bundy go to work over the champions now as Davey Boy is beaten down by Studd and Bundy, leaving him in bad shape. They go to set up Davey for the double splash, but Smith dives out of the way, leaving Studd slamming into Bundy in the corner. Smith lands a dropkick to Studd before making the tag to Dynamite who hits the diving headbutt on Studd and eliminates him and Bundy from the match. However, Dynamite is hurt from the headbutt and Davey is hurt. Brutus comes into the ring and starts working over Dynamite in the ring before scoring the winning fall and setting up the dream team as contenders again.
Winners: The Dream Team
Fabulous Moolah, LeiLani Kai, Judy Martin, Black Venus, Dawn Marie
Velvet MacIntire, Penny Mitchell, Candice Pardue, Susan Starr, Linda Gonzalez
Largely a filler match to get the crowd ready for the main event. The women’s division of WWF at the time was mostly Moolah, Velvet, and the Glamour Girls. Everyone else was part timers. Velvet and Moolah were having good matches around the horn after Wrestlemania by the point so they would be the captains. Kai and Martin were becoming regulars on TV as the women’s tag champions. Everyone else would just be filler and the women’s matches at that time weren’t featured a whole lot on TV, but having a 4rth men’s match would stretch the roster to thin (A lesson later learned on the 1988 show).
Moolah would start and dominate a few of the opponents since I believe she trained everyone in this match. She would tag in Martain and the Glamour girls would double team to eliminate Gonzalez quickly. Black Venus would come in and after some trouble would turn things around and eliminate Mitchell from the match. Velvet would come in and nearly pin Venus, but the masked woman would escape and tag out to Dawn Marie. Marie wouldn’t fair much better and Velvet would get a roll up on her for the pin.
Moolah would come in and take control. velvet would tag out to Pardue, but the Wiley veteran would eliminate her quickly, leaving it four against two. Starr would enter the match and after some tagging back and forth, Black Venus would be eliminated, but the Tag champions would come in and take care of Starr quickly. Left by herself Velvet would fight on valiantly before scoring a win over Moolah, but leaving herself open to Judy martin to come in and pin her to with the match.
Winners: Judy Martin and Lei Lani Kai
Hulk Hogan, Billy Jack Haynes, Hillbilly Jim, Junkyard Dog, Blackjack Mulligan
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, Hercules, “King” Harley Race, Dino Bravo, Butch Reed (With Bobby Heenan, Johnny V., and Slick)
The Main event of the night would be based around the number one fuel for the company at the time with Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff. Mr. Wonderful would be joined by fellow Heenan family members Hercules and King Harley Race along with two new members of the roster in Dino Bravo and Butch Reed. Hogan would have Haynes, who was feuding with Hercules at the time, his buddy Hillbilly Jim, top star Junkyard Dog, and veteran Blackjack mulligan who was making his “return” after being one of the Machines for a number of months.
The match would start out hot with Hogan’s team taking control early and doing a lot of tagging in and out. Orndorff’s team would be able to get it together and the end result would have Bravo getting hit with the big boot and leg drop to eliminate him. The faces would keep up the momentum, but the Dog would go for a headbutt off the ropes, only to get hit by Reed on the apron, letting Orndorff score the pinfall.
The match would become more back and forth at this point with each team tagging in and out for a while before Hillbilly Jim would try to go for the bearhug on Reed. Reed would thumb him in the eye and hit a powerslam to eliminate him for the match. Reed, however, would fail to tag out and Mulligan would nail him with a lariat clothesline and send Reed out.
Haynes and Hercules would go at it in the ring and beat on each other for a while before Haynes would get distracted by Heenan and be eliminated. Hogan and Mulligan would try to get someone eliminated, but Blackjack would fall soon after by Race.
Facing three on one the crowd would get behind Hogan as he tries to fight against the odds. Hogan would score a pinfall on Hercules to send him out of the match, but Race would get in and attack Hogan just as the pin happens. He and Orndorff would tag in and out on Hogan but not seem to be able to get a pin on the champ. Eventually, a miscommunication has Race and Orndorff collide and sending Orndorff out of the ring. Hogan hits Race a few times before slamming him in the ring to finish him off. Hogan would go for the legdrop only for Paul to hit him with a chair sending Hulk crumpling to the mat, but getting Orndorff DQed.
With hogan down Race gets up and goes for the kill. He slams hogan a few times, and then hits him with the piledriver but Hogan kicks out, barely. Race then climbs the top rope and goes for the diving headbutt, only to see Hogan move out of the way, Hulk Up, and hit the leg drop, scoring the win.
Winner: Hulk Hogan
Well, that’s my take of what a Survivor Series show would’ve been like if it were held in 1986. Who is to say that this is even close to what would have happened at the time, but it’s fun to think about it.
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