Matches from History: Tag Team Elimination Match at Survivor Series 1988


Craig Wilson

Ahead of this weekend’s Survivor Series, we return with a ‘Matches from History‘ looking at a bout discussed the other night on Facebook, namely the twenty man tag on 1988 edition of Survivor Series. So, without further ado…

I love, love this match-up. It’s packed full of talent and is a rollercoaster 45-minutes of first-class in-ring action. Without further a do, let’s see Team Demolition vs. Team Powers of Pain.Davey Boy Smith and a Conquistador star this one off before we get Jacques Rougeau. A quickfire tag sees Boris Zuhkov nearly get pinned by Marty Jannetty.

Davey Boy Smith and a Conquistador star this one off before we get Jacques Rougeau. A quickfire tag sees Boris Zuhkov nearly get pinned by Marty Jannetty.

DemolitionAx, from Demolition, is in and dominates Jannetty before Arn Anderson then Tully Blanchard gets the tag. Jannetty and Blanchard trades blows before the Brainbuster walks into a series of fists from the team led by Demolition.

Jacques is in and nearly gets counted out when he misses the crossbody. Dynamite is in and hits his spots before Zhukov and Jim Powers square off. Smash is tagged in and the Young Stallion is in trouble. A Jacques Rougeau dropkick gets a nearfall.

We’ve still seen no one eliminated as Jacques tags in Raymond and the Rougeaus are gone after a small package.

Bret tags in Paul Roma and he gets a nearfall with a top rope crossbody. Neidhart is in and hits Nikolai Volkoff with a dropkick but he makes the tag and Smash is tagged in. A power match-up already but then Neidhart tags in The Barbarian.

The two trade stiff, stiff looking blows before another Conquistador is tagged in. The height and weight advantage is very, very obvious. The Barbarian hits a big boot and The Warlord is in. A Bret Hart headbutt sends The Conquistador into his corner and Demolition trade tags as the double-team ‘The Hitman’.

Shawn and Ax get the double tags but Tully holds onto Michaels and Demolition take control. Shawn is draped in the corner of the heels as they take liberties with the Rocker. Volkoff hits a press slam into a backbreaker and then a running knee. Arn Anderson is in and hits his terrific looking spinebuster for another nearfall.

A Conquistador is back in but slams Shawn near his teammates and Marty Jannetty is tagged in. The other Conquistador is in but runs into a hip toss. Marty counters a hip toss but big Nikoli is in but is nearly pinned before pressing one-half of the Rockers into the team.

Paul Roma is briefly in before he tags Davey Boy Smith, who press slams Volkoff. Tully is in and drops several elbow drops but misses one and both men are out, to be replaced by The Warlord and a Conquistador.

Powers of PainIn comes Ax and the crowd pops for him facing off against The Warlord. In is Smash, as the pair double team the pair they were feuding with heavily at this point. Warlord catches a big boot and here comes The Barbarian. What can only be described as a running volley catches Smash before the two start to brawl.

Smash is able to fight back before Blanchard is tagged in and dropped throat first on the rope. Jim Neidhart is tagged in and he hits a powerslam for a two. Another quick tag and here is the Dynamite Kid. A clothesline nearly takes off Blanchard’s head but the Brainbuster uses the ropes and pulls Dynamite to the outside. Arn is in briefly to gain the upper hand before Conquistador and Boris try to keep the momentum going.

Dynamite makes the hot tag and in is Jim Powers. Powers tries a top rope crossbody but Boris rolls through for the nearfall. We’re now 8 vs. 8.

Shawn Michaels is in and slams the big Russian. A fist from the second rope gets a nearfall and back in is The Barbarian. A savage looking shoulder block sends him into his corner. Tully Blanchard is a reluctant entrant to the match and goes straight over to tag Nikolia Volkoff.

We’re back to another Demolition and Powers of Pain duel as Ax and Barbarian go at it. The heels make quick tags with a Conquistador and then Volkoff getting quick tags. The Barbarian fights back and tags in Shawn Michaels and is face-to-face with Boris Zhukov. Zhukov misses a blind tag and is hit with a sunset flip from Jannetty and The Bolsheviks are gone.

Demolition take turns at taking apart Marty Jannetty before Arn is tagged in. He puts his head down and is slammed face-first into the mat and Davey Boy and a Conquistador is in. Tully is once again tagged in and is reluctant to face off against half of the British Bulldogs.

The heels work over the Bulldog with Smash throwing about his opponent. A Conquistador is back in nd works over Davey Boy Smith before tagging in his partner. Here comes ‘The Anvil’ who overpowers his opponent. In is ‘The Hitman’ with a second rope elbow for a two.

The Rockers double-team a Conquistador, who ends up being in the wrong corner attempting a tag. The Dynamite Kid is in and hits a snap suplex and a diving knee drop for a two count. A backbreaker gives him another nearfall.

The Barbarian is in with a clothesline, a powerslam and a running elbow. Instead of going for a pinfall, Barbarian headbutts him and sends him back into his corner and Blanchard is tagged in. He takes advice from Heenan, to the chagrin of the crowd. Ax is tagged in and Demolition double-team the Barbarian as Smash asks “what do you think of your stinking partner now?” to The Warlord.

the-brainbustersBarbarian powers out of the hold but a knee in the back resumes the domination for the heels. Quick tags see Arn then a Conquistador beat down on the Power of Pain. Ax prevents a hot tag and works, once again, on the chinlock. The Brainbusters are quickly in before Arn takes a running boot and in is Jannetty.

Neidhart takes a tag then puts down his head and takes a boot from Arn. Tully comes in but is quickly overpowered and Bret Hart makes the tag. He works on his opponent in the neutral corner as Gorilla Monsoon waxes lyrical about ‘The Hitman’.

Classic double pin with a German suplex and the referee rules that Hart pinned himself and it’s 6 vs. 6.

The Dynamite Kid is quickly in and hits a Tombstone piledriver for a two count. The Brainbusters and The Rockers brawl with both teams being eliminated and its 4 vs. 4.

We now have Demolition and Los Conquistadors vs Powers of Pain and The British Bulldogs as The Rockers and The Brainbusters brawl to the backstage area.

Los Conquistadors work over the Dynamite Kid but miss a senton bomb and The Warlord is in.He dives The Conquistador into his partner’s boot. He’s able to make a tag and so does Barbarian and Davey Boy Smith is in. A hanging suplex gets a two before Ax is tagged in but he misses a clothesline and Smith hits a crucifix for a two.

The Bulldog is backed into the heels’ corner but mounts a comeback against Smash. The Bulldogs work over Smash, with help from Powers of Pain. Davey Boy hits a press slam on a Conquistador but instead of a pin hits a running powerslam but again doesn’t go for a pinfall. He tags in The Barbarian who headbutts him into his corner and in is Ax.

Smash and Barbarian battle it out before the Conquistadors work over the Power of Pain team member. On commentary, Jesse Ventura and Monsoon discuss how staggered they are by the performance of the team in gold.

A Barbarian and Davey Boy Smith double-elbow gets another nearfall. Dynamite follows up with a gutrench suplex and a headbutt for consecutive nearfalls. In comes The Warlord who overpowers his opponent. a leg drop is followed up with a tag instead of a pin and here comes Dynamite. He puts his head down and in is Smash.

Smash overpowers Dynamite but runs into a big boot. A snap suplex and Dynamite goes up top but misses a top rope headbutt and is finished off with a clothesline. 4 vs. 2.

In comes The Barbarian but he’s backed into the heels corner and the Conquistadors trade quick tags as they work over the big man. The Warlord makes the tag and tosses his opponent about but misses a running charge and hits shoulder first on the ringpost. Ax makes the tag and works over the now injured shoulder of The Warlord.

The tag team champions make quick tags before Mr. Fuji makes his way onto the apron, keen as he was to hit someone with his cane. Ax continues to work over the shoulder before tagging in Smash.

Mr. Fuji once against makes his way onto the apron a the referees demand he stands down. The Warlord makes a comeback in the ring and knocks down Smash. Smash fells with the clothesline and charges at the ropes but Fuji pulls down the rope, sending his charge tumbling to the outside.

Survivor_Series_1988_-_Demolition_Team_Vs_Power_Of_Pain_Team_11Ax rushes to help his teammate but the referee counts him out so it’s Powers of Pain vs Los Conquistadors to finish this off.

On the outside, Ax accuses Mr. Fuji of pulling down the rope. Fuji strikes Ax wit the cane, to little or no reaction. Ax pushes Fuji before he’s drilled with the cane from behind. Smash catches him and sends him into Ax, who powerslams him on the outside to a great reaction from the fans.

The Powers of Pain go to the aid of Mr. Fuji, much to the confusion of the announcers, pat him down and straighten out his attire before placing him in their corner. In the ring, Los Conquistadors work over The Barbarian as they trade quick tags. A Conquistador runs at the rope but is tripped by Mr. Fuji and The Barbarian hits a running headbutt to end this.

Post-match, Demolition make their way back and brawl with Powers of Pain in the ring to another great reaction from the fans at the Richfield Coliseum as Demolition turn babyface and Powers of Pain turn heel in a historic double-turn.

This was the first WWF tape I ever received, it was a gift when my Dad and I visited Blackpool many, many years ago – may early 90s? This tag match is undoubtedly one of my favourite matches of all time. Is it the best? Perhaps not but it holds many fond memories. It’s quickfire – definitely tricky to type along with – and contains some solid in-ring action. It also features a host of topclass in-ring workers including several future hall of famers. A match very much well worth checking out, if you haven’t seen it already.

You can read all previous ‘Matches from History’ here.

3 thoughts on “Matches from History: Tag Team Elimination Match at Survivor Series 1988

  1. Definitely a groundbreaking matching featuring some great tags and one of the first ever double-turns as it was clear how lauded Demolition was becoming and having them turn face with Powers of Pain turning heel was genius.


  2. It truly was one of the better matches that WWE had in the 1980’s due to the amount of star power in that ring, men that actually knew how to wrestle as well as entertain, something that is sorely lacking today. You can’t go wrong with a match that has Blanchard and Anderson, Demolition, AND the Bulldogs in it. Totally enjoyable all the way for me.


  3. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2016 week 47 | Ring the Damn Bell

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