WWE Survivor Series 1988
Thanksgiving – November 24, 1988
Richfield Coliseum – Richfield, Ohio
Watch: VoicesofWrestling.com/WWENetwork

When we last visited WWE for their Fall Classic PPV, Andre the Giant was standing tall as the sole survivor and Hulk Hogan was at the top of the WWE as the World Heavyweight Champion. Since then Hogan and Andre had a clash at the first episode of “The Main Event” that lead to a controversial finish complete with plastic surgery, twin referees, purchased championships and a three count completed despite Hogan’s shoulders being lifted. The convoluted finish led to WWE President Jack Tunney having no other choice but to deem the WWE title vacant. The new WWE champion was determined in a one night, 14 man tournament at WrestleMania IV. In the finals of that tournament Randy Savage was victorious over Ted DiBiase when Savage’s new ally, Hulk Hogan came to fend off DiBiase’s bodyguard Andre the Giant. Thus the Mega Powers were born. Hogan and Savage became the most powerful force in the WWE Universe. Their mega power was proven at the newest, and now third, PPV added to the WWE calendar, SummerSlam, when The Mega Powers took on the Mega Bucks (Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant).

Ultimate Warrior, Brutus Beefcake, Blue Blazer, Sam Houston, and Jim Brunzell vs. Honky Tonk Man, Danny Davis, Ron Bass, Bad News Brown, and Greg Valentine w/ Jimmy Hart

This match was the WWE PPV debut of Owen Hart as The Blue Blazer. Honky Tonk Man also teamed on PPV for the first time with his future Rhythm and Blues tag team partner, Greg Valentine, while clashing with his former Dream Team tag team partner, Brutus Beefcake. Jim Brunzell was a last second replacement for Don Muraco.

This was the beginning of Ultimate Warrior’s ascension to the top of the WWE. At the 1988 Summerslam Ultimate Warrior defeated “The Greatest Intercontinental Champion of All-Time”, The Honky Tonk Man, for his championship in a mere 31seconds. Warrior would prevail again in this match of mid carders by being the sole survivor.  **¼

Elimination #Wrestler EliminatedEliminated ByTime
1Danny DavisBrutus Beefcake1:13
2Jim BrunzellBad News Brown5:06
3Bad News BrownCount out7:46
4Sam HoustonRon Bass10:04
5Blue BlazerGreg Valentine12:17
6Brutus Beefcake

Honky Tonk Man

Double count out15:50
7Ron BassUltimate Warrior17:24
8Greg ValentineUltimate Warrior17:47
Survivor: Ultimate Warrior

Demolition (Ax and Smash), The Conquistadors (Uno and Dos), The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff and Boris Zhukov), The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard), and The Fabulous Rougeaus (Raymond and Jacque Rougeau) w/ Mr. Fuji, Slick, Jimmy Hart, and Bobby Heenan vs. The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid), The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart), The Powers of Pain (Barbarian and Warlord), The Young Stallions (Jim Powers and Paul Roma), and The Rockers (Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels)

This was the second and, unfortunately, final time the WWE put ten tag teams in a Survivor Series Elimination match. 1988 was the absolute peak of the WWE tag team division when the Brain Busters and the Rockers both joined the ranks. The Brain Busters brought their realistic NWA technical wrestling prowess while the Rockers brought their fast-pace and high flying to the tag team picture.

The biggest moment in this match came when Mr. Fuji cost his own team, Demolition, the match when he pulled down the ring rope causing Smash to fall out of the ring and get counted out. Ax and Smash shoved Fuji down on their way back to the dressing room. Powers of Pain instantly capitalized on this opportunity by seemingly hiring Fuji on the spot to manage their team in hopes he would bring them similar success that Fuji brought to Demolition in the form of the WWE Tag Team Championships. After the match was over Demolition ran back out and completed the double turn for both teams thus continuing their feud. If you want to know why people rant and rave about the late 80’s WWE Tag division then just watch this match. ****¼

Elimination #Wrestler EliminatedEliminated ByTime
1Jacque Rougeau (Fabulous Rougeaus)Bret Hart5:40
2Jim Powers

(The Young Stallions)

Boris Zhukov15:37
3Boris Zhukov

(The Bolsheviks)

Marty Jannetty18:25
4Bret Hart

(The Hart Foundation)

Tully Blanchard27:10
5The Brain Busters

The Rockers

Double DQ28:48
6Dynamite Kid

(The British Bulldogs)



Count out39:51

(The Conquistadors)

Survivors: The Powers of Pain

Jake Roberts, Jim Dugan, Tito Santana, Scott Casey, Ken Patera vs. Andre the Giant, Dino Bravo, Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect, and Harley Race w/ Bobby Heenan and Frenchy Martin

If you are asking yourself “Who is Scott Casey?”, Don’t feel bad. Not many people will remember this perennial jobber from 1988. Casey was the third choice for Roberts’ team. The Junkyard Dog was the original 5th member until he decided to jump ship to the NWA. Brian Blair was announced as JYD’s replacement until he too decided to leave the WWE after disputes with Vince McMahon promising Tag Team Title reigns for Blair and his Killer Bees tag team partner Jim Brunzell.

This match was worked around two feuds that Roberts was involved in. Roberts was transitioning out of the feud with Rick Rude over Rude shaking his hips in front of Cheryl Roberts, Jake’s wife. This was culminated in Rude wearing airbrushed tights that had Cheryl’s face on them. Roberts was moving into a feud with Andre who on paper had the easy size advantage against Roberts, but Andre’s one weakness was his fear of snakes which swung the pendulum back Roberts’ way.

This was a decent Survivor Series elimination match that benefited from a hot crowd. Roberts was completely over and this might be the final great performance of Andre’s career. Andre looked like a vicious grizzly bear just mauling people in this match and peaked when he choked the life out of Roberts to the point of being disqualified. ***¼

Elimination #Wrestler EliminatedEliminated ByTime
1Ken PateraRick Rude8:20
2Scott CaseyDino Bravo9:29
3Harley RaceTito Santana13:18
4Tito SantanaAndre the Giant14:42
5Jim DuganDQ21:24
6Rick RudeJake Roberts28:47
7Andre the GiantDQ29:42
8Jake RobertsMr. Perfect30:01
Survivors: Mr. Perfect and Dino Bravo

Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Hercules, Koko B. Ware, and Hillbilly Jim w/ Miss Elizabeth vs. Akeem, Big Boss Man, Ted DiBiase, Haku, and Red Rooster w/ Slick, Bobby Heenan, and Virgil

The Mega Powers came into this match entrenched in a feud with the Twin Towers (Akeem and Boss Man). This match had all the bells and whistles you can imagine a 1988 Hogan match having. One of Hogan’s best kept secrets might have been his ability to enter a match and two minutes later be covered in sweat looking like he had been wrestling for 60 minutes. Hogan always looked like he was in a war when he was not even required to do much. This might also be the only profession in which sweating so profusely is a positive.

Weird sweat observations aside, the Twin Towers gained the advantage by handcuffing Hogan to the ropes on the outside of the ring. The Towers tore Savage apart until Miss Elizabeth retrieved the key to the handcuffs from an unconscious Slick, unlocked the handcuffs, and released Hogan into the ring to take down the “toughest man in pro wrestling,” Haku for the win. The Mega Powers survived and this led to the first hint of tension between Hogan and Savage. Hogan gave Miss Elizabeth an overly excited hug after the victory that struck a chord of jealousy in Savage. As the three were celebrating Savage, unbeknownst to Hogan, was staring a hole through him. The Mega Powers would then explode at WrestleMania V, one year after uniting. ***½

Elimination #Wrestler EliminatedEliminated ByTime
1Red RoosterRandy Savage6:11
2Hillbilly JimAkeem9:55
3Koko B. WareBig Boss Man11:47
4HerculesTed DiBiase16:40
5Ted DiBiaseRandy Savage17:02
6Big Boss ManCount out23:35
8HakuHulk Hogan29:11
Survivors: Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage

The following stats are accumulative through the first two Survivor Series PPV’s:

Top Ten Wrestlers with Most Eliminations in Survivor Series Tag Matches

PlaceWrestler# of Eliminations
1Randy Savage3
1One Man Gang / Akeem3
2Brutus Beefcake2
2Jake Roberts2
2Velvet McIntyre2
2Tito Santana2
2Hulk Hogan2
2Bam Bam Bigelow2
2Andre the Giant2
2Ultimate Warrior2
2Hulk Hogan2

Top Ten Wrestlers with Most Accumulative Time Surviving a Survivor Series Tag Match

2Davey Boy Smith56:18
2Dynamite Kid56:18
3Dino Bravo53:38
4Jake Roberts53:15
5Jim Powers52:51
5Paul Roma52:51
6Randy Savage52:25
7Andre the Giant51:56

More Fun stats:

  • Randy Savage is the only wrestler who survived a match at the first Survivor Series PPV to also have survived his match in the second Survivor Series PPV
  • Danny Davis broke Boris Zhukov’s record (1:42) for quickest elimination in Survivor Series history at 1:13
  • Bad News Brown holds the distinction of being the worst Survivor Series partner in history by walking out on his teams in consecutive years, thus eliminating himself dude to count out
  • Honky Tonk Man was also counted out in both years, but he left the first year as the final survivor on his team and the second year via sleeper hold from Brutus Beefcake
  • Ultimate Warrior joins Andre the Giant as the only “sole survivors” in Survivor Series history
  • Despite Haku having lasted longer in Survivor Series Elimination Matches than anyone else, he has never actually survived one of these matches as a victor
  • One Man Gang aka Akeem “The African Dream” is the first wrestler to compete in Survivor Series Elimination Matches with two different gimmicks

Fun Survivor Series Facts:

  • This was one of three Survivor Series PPV’s to take place at the Richfield Coliseum (1988 and 1992)
  • The Richfield Coliseum closed 7 years later in 1994 and was demolished 12 years later in 1999.
  • This year’s Survivor Series did 15,000 less buys than the previous year
  • Jim Brunzell replaced Don Muraco for the opening match due to Muraco leaving the WWE. The previous year Muraco replaced Billy Graham in the main event



November 1988 in history:

  • The number one song at the time of this PPV was “Bad Medicine” by Bon Jovi
  • The number one movie at the box office the weekend of this PPV was “Scrooged” starring Bill Murray
  • 1988 World Series opponents Jose Canseco and Kirk Gibson were awarded the MVP of the American League and National League respectively
  • The day before this event Wayne Gretzky scored his 600th career goal