For my weekly Old School review I have been given the Survivor Series famed with ever bit that is wrong and right within professional wrestling. This outcome of thus event caused a rift within the locker room, with several leaving WCW weeks later. Of course I am talking about the Montreal screw job. Forget about the ending and consequences of the main event. The opening video for Survivor Series 1997 was incredible. The end of a rivalry nearly 2 years in the making was produced perfectly, I am pumped and excited to see how this highly fired up rivalry will end.
Survivor Series – Headbangers and New Blakcjacks vs New Age Outlaws and The Godwins
I loved the Survivor Series for when two sets of tag teams who are feuding interlink. This match was exactly that, the New Age Outlaws were on the cusp of being massively over. I love their cockiness and arrogance. The Outlaws win following a sneaky kick to the head.
Trush Commision vs DOA
In late 97 WWE started to mimic WCW’s faction success; Los Boricas, Kai-En-Tai DX, The Nation to name a few. A lot of them flopped. None more than the Truth Commission. Did Vince Russo just have a brain storm of stereo typical groups? Hispanics, Bikers, Japanese and Army guys? Who thought that a group of army guys would get over. The match was purely a way to get Kurragan the destroyer over. Pretty bad if I am honest.
Team USA vs Canada
1997 was all about the very unique rift between USA and Canada, faces and heels were defined by the town they were in to whether they were cheered. Ultimately this was the final chapter in the in ring border wars. The Montreal crowd were massively into the match, getting well behind the men representing Canada (only one of the four men was Canadian…). An enjoyable match up with good offence and mix of skill. Vader held his own as a ring general, such shame how his WWE career ended up. The final four in the match was Goldust and Vader and British Bulldog and Doug Furnas. Deep into his very messed up “personal” situation, Goldust walked out on his partner. Allowing Bulldog to hit Vader with the ring bell for the victory.
Kane vs Mankind
Finally a non Survivor Series match, if I am honest this is the one match which I remember being really from the last time I watched the show. Kane debuted 28 days prior at Badd Blood; creating a massive path of destruction all with the intention of challenging the Undertaker. The first man to stand up against the unstoppable demon was Mankind. In a pre-match interview, Mankind prayed for a wrestling match as he knew he was in for a war. In terms of effectively a squash match, for Kane to look dominant, Mankind sold it like an absolute boss. The bumps he took were insane, no wonder he “retired” just over two years later. The “chokeslam” that sent Mankind through the Spanish announce table was insane! Following heavy domination Kane picks up the win via the Tombstone.
Kane could have easily flopped, the character couldn’t have arrived at more perfect timing. He was handled in a very careful way. Just look at the amount of wrestlers who failed in facing the Undertaker before and after Kane. The fact Kane is still wrestling in WWE is a feat of incredibleness that only Glenn Jacobs could portray.
Nation of Domination vs LOD, Ahmed Johnson and Ken Shamrock
All I am going to say to all those Roman Reign’s haters…. just watch anything to do with the Rock in 1997 and you will see the parallels in their career. The crowd despise how he was shoved in their faces, notice anything similar today? The match wasn’t too bad, it is very odd how they put a guy who jumped the barriers into a match 6 days later!
Austin vs Owen
Summerslam 1997, the rise of Stone Cold came to a massive stall; following a move that almost cost his career the rematch for the Intercontinental championship was set with Owen defending the title against the Rattlesnake. Watching the match, it is obvious that Austin is still hurt, taking it a littler easier on the bumps. Overall the match was short and served its purpose.
Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels
It is amazing to think that despite the history between these two, this was only the FOURTH singles match between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. Times really have changed! Seriously, it is obvious that this is a big match feel. The video build was incredible! This should have been at Wrestlemania 13, however due to Shawn it never happened. I love how they followed both Bret and Shawn backstage to the curtain. It is something missing from today, just adds to the tension to the match.
Shawn, is on complete douche-bag mode completely disrespecting the Canadian flag, wiping his nose and humping it, not cool Shawn! Bret on the other hand receives a massive applause from the 20,000 strong in Montreal. You can hear the sadness in Jim Ross’ voice as he announces during Bret’s introduction that we will never see Bret again. I can feel how special this match is, and knowing what is about to go down makes this uncomfortable. At the time of watching, this was known to be Bret’s last match. How can it this match finish up?
Or will it ever start? The match starts off as a complete brawl, even going into the crowd (Shawn you are a brave man!!). These two men are ripping each other apart, its obvious that they hate each other and feels so genuine. After 10 minutes of melee, both men make it to the ring to officially start the match. Despite making it to the ring, the brawl continues in and out of the ring. The beautiful technician that Bret is made great work at breaking down Shawn’s leg. Following Bret applying the figure four leg lock on the ring post, a broken Shawn is continued to be ripped into pieces.
Just as Bret jumps off the top rope, Shawn knocks Earl Hebner into Bret. This allowed Shawn to apply Bret’s Sharp Shooter and the rest is history. So much has been documented about this moment, with arguments for and against the situation from happening. However despite all these years you can sympathise with Bret. What Vince did was wrong, but right, however in his home country and against Shawn. That alone was the kick in the teeth, that left sour grapes for 13 years. Jim Ross and the King didn’t know what to say, all JR could say was that the crowd was in disbelief before quickly ending the broadcast.
I love the fact that the announcements are in French; it adds a a very different feel to the event. When was the last time WWE used the airship for sponsors? I loved the airship such a cool idea! So much changed from this night, a much needed catalyst that ultimately helped WWE win the war with WCW. As an event it was a mixed bag of good bad and poor, the only real stand out matches were the three singles matches. The tag survivor series matches didn’t leave much to the imagination. Even back in 1997 the appeal for the elimination tag match was just no longer there.
Following this event, so much changed in such a small time window; Bret, Bulldog, Neidhart and so many more packed up that night. Even Mick Foley wrote in his first book that he tried to convince the locker room to walk out, however backed down on his thoughts. Trust is a huge strength in business. That got ripped apart this fateful November night. On the brightside, two weeks later, Vince gave his infamous words, “Bret Screwed Bret” that kick started the Mr McMahon character that helped turned WWF fortunes around.
Image Credit 411 Mania.com