WWE // 1987 // 900 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Patrick Bromley // December 3rd, 2009
A Thanksgiving tradition!
Now here's a wrestling DVD set made just for me. When I was 10 years old, I got way into the WWF; my love affair lasted roughly from WrestleMania 2 to 6. Once I saw Ultimate Warrior defeat Hulk Hogan for the Heavyweight title, I knew the tides of wrestling had changed. The old heroes' day had passed, and fans were demanding a new kind of icon: an incoherent lunatic who somehow seemed tougher and edgier than Hulk "Say Your Prayers and Take Your Vitamins" Hogan. My tenure as a WWF fan had run its course, but for a while I was as into the squared circle action as anyone. And Survivor Series was my favorite event.
The concept is simple enough: tag team matches with four or five wrestlers on a team, only the eliminations are individual. Each wrestler can be eliminated by pinfall, submission, disqualification or count-out and must leave the match immediately, but the rest of the members continue on from there. Theoretically, you could wind up with a match of five against one, and the WWF was always good about exploring just about any possibility and combination. In its first years, the event was always held on Thanksgiving night (I have no idea if it still is), and I can remember saving up my money to order it on Pay-Per-View; we would finish up dinner, and Mom and Dad would excuse themselves so the rest of us could watch three hours of wrestling. One year, I was even lucky enough to attend a Survivor Series (it was number III, held at Chicago's Rosemont Horizon) and it was the highlight of my twelfth year of life. It was my one and only opportunity to see "Rowdy" Roddy Piper in person, and the man did not disappoint.
Here are the matches included on Survivor Series Anthology, Volume 1 (1987-1991):
Disc One: 1987
* "The King" Harley Race, Hercules, Danny Davis, "Outlaw" Ron Bass and Honky Tonk Man versus Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Randy "Macho Man" Savage
* The Glamour Girls, Dawn Marie, Donna Christanello and Sensational Sherrie versus Velvet McIntyre, Rockin' Robin, Jumping Bomb Angels and The Fabulous Moolah
* The Bolsheviks, Demolition, The Dream Team, The Islanders and The Hart Foundation versus The British Bulldogs, The Young Stallions, The Rougeau Brothers, Killer Bees and Strike Force
* Andre the Giant, "Ravishing" Rick Rude, King Kong Bundy, "The Natural" Butch Reed and One Man Gang versus Hulk Hogan, Bam Bam Bigelow, Ken Patera, The Magnificent Don Muraco and "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff
Disc Two: 1988
* Ultimate Warrior, Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, Sam Houston, The Blue Blazer and Jim Brunzell versus Honky Tonk Man, Danny Davis, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, "Outlaw" Ron Bass and Bad News Brown
* Demolition, Los Conquistadores, The Brain Busters, The Rougeau Brothers and The Bolsheviks versus Powers of Pain, The Rockers, The British Bulldogs, The Hart Foundation and The Young Stallions
* Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Ken Patera, "El Matador" Tito Santana and Scott Casey versus Andre the Giant, Dino Bravo, "The King" Harley Race, Mr. Perfect and "Ravishing" Rick Rude
* Hulk Hogan, Randy "Macho Man" Savage, Koko B. Ware, Hercules and Hillbilly Jim versus Big Boss Man, Akeem, "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, King Haku and The Red Rooster
Disc Three: 1989
* The Enforcers: Big Boss Man, Bad News Brown, "The Model" Rick Martel and Honky Tonk Man versus The Dream Team: The American Dream Dusty Rhodes, Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, "El Matador" Tito Santana and The Red Rooster
* The King's Court: Randy "Macho Man" Savage, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, Dino Bravo and Earthquake versus The 4x4s: Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Bret "Hit Man" Hart, Ronnie Garvin and Hercules
* The Million Dollar Team: "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, Powers of Pain and Zeus versus The Hulkamaniacs: Hulk Hogan, Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Demolition
* The Rude Brood: "Ravishing" Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect and The Rougeau Brothers versus Roddy's Rowdies: "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and the Bushwackers
* The Heenan Family: Andre the Giant, Haku, Arn Anderson and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan versus The Ultimate Warriors: Ultimate Warrior, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart and The Rockers
Disc Four: 1990
* The Perfect Team: Mr. Perfect and Demolition versus The Ultimate Warriors: Ultimate Warrior, Texas Tornado and Road Warriors
* The Dream Team: The American Dream Dusty Rhodes, Koko B. Ware and The Hart Foundation versus The Million Dollar Team: Rhythm & Blues, "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and Undertaker
* The Visionaries: "The Model" Rick Martel, Power & Glory and The Warlord versus The Vipers: Jake "The Snake" Roberts, The Rockers and Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka
* The Natural Disasters: Earthquake, Dino Bravo, Haku and The Barbarian versus The Hulkamaniacs: Hulk Hogan, Tugboat, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Big Boss Man
* The Alliance: Nikolai Volkoff, "El Matador" Tito Santana and The Bushwackers versus The Mercenaries: Sgt. Slaughter, Boris Zhukov and Orient Express
* Survivors Final Match (SPOILERS): "The Model" Rick Martel, Power & Glory, The Warlord and "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase versus Hulk Hogan, "El Matador" Tito Santana and Ultimate Warrior
Disc Five: 1991
* "Nature Boy" Rick Flair, "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, The Mountie and The Warlord versus Bret "Hit Man" Hart, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Virgil and The British Bulldog
* Sgt. Slaughter, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Texas Tornado and "El Matador" Tito Santana versus Col. Mustafa, The Berzerker, Hercules and Skinner
* WWE Championship Match: Hulk Hogan versus Undertaker * The Beverly Brothers and The Nasty Boys versus The Rocks and The Bushwackers * The Legion of Doom and Big Boss Man versus The Natural Disasters and I.R.A.
For the most part, my enjoyment of the collection came down to nostalgia: seeing all the wrestlers I used to love, laughing at the particularly lame ones (like The Red Rooster, a mullet-ed guy who spiked up a mohawk and dyed it red; was this the best he could do?) and watching as wrestlers flipped sides every year and changed their entire personas (One Man Gang was suddenly Akeem another year; one of the Rougeau Brothers went from being a good guy to a bad guy to being The Mountie, whose only gimmick was that he was French Canadian -- and we HATED him for it). The package put together for Survivor Series, Volume 1 is a nice one, including all five events (spread out over five discs) in their entirety -- including interviews, promos and any back-story clips that might help inform certain grudges being played out. The trouble is that the package is so specific: you've got to really be into these particular five years in WWF history, and you've got to be a fan of this particular event -- anyone who isn't will likely find the whole thing repetitive (as its basically the same kind of match over and over again). Luckily, I fit that bill to a T and, as such, I had a blast with this trip down a bruised and battered memory lane.
From a technical standpoint, the Survivor Series Anthology, Volume 1 isn't all that impressive. The events are presented in their original full frame format and look like 20-year-old video, which is exactly what they are. More an issue of bad source than bad transfer, the matches are soft and somewhat dull, and the 2.0 audio soundtrack is acceptable but not much else. None of that really matters, though, as it shouldn't get in the way of your enjoyment. You'll still be able to tell who's suplexing who. There are no extras included, which is too bad; some retrospective pieces or modern-day interviews might have been nice. I guess we'll just have to make due with nearly 15 hours of Survivor Series action.
Not guilty, but strictly for the fans.
Review content copyright © 2009 Patrick Bromley; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 900 Minutes
Release Year: 1987
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site