On the eve of the 2013 edition of Survivor Series, I thought I’d reminisce about the worst teams that have competed in the Thanksgiving Tradition. Because a bunch of shit-arses coming together is still more interesting than a PPV having no teams at all.
More after the jump!
The Ultimate Warrior, Brutus Beefcake, Sam Houston, The Blue Blazer & Jim Brunzell (1988)
Picking a bad 80s team is hard, because even teams with slugs like Hercules on their side had an Andre or a Harley Race to balance it out. It was a golden era for WWF, so let’s just pick this team and get to the real shitters.
Warrior and pre-injury Beefcake make up the good bits (and they got their own screen, in a ”we’re all equal on this team but some of us are more equal than others” kind of thing’).
Sam ”half-brother of Jake Roberts” Houston turned out to be nothing more than an answer to a trivia question. (That question being ”who the fuck was Sam Houston and who was he related to to get on this PPV?”), Blue Blazer wasn’t anything good in 1988 (were cool people shouting ”blue blazes!” in 1988? Maybe at Sam Houston) and tag-team wrestler Brunzell was only there as a last-minute substitute for Don Muraco. So he was good at passing the ”has he showed up?” test.
Houston was feuding with Danny Davis (who was on t’other team) and you can tell how important that feud was as Davis was the first to be eliminated. After a minute and eighteen seconds.
The Alliance (Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana & The Bushwhackers) (1990)
OK, we’ve peaked. Or bottomed, whichever.
I know the other team isn’t exactly GOAT material (The Orient Express were good when they wanted to be and Slaughter had a moustache), but Volkoff’s face-turn was bad enough to make Slaughter add Saddam Hussein on FaceBook rather than accept Volkoff as a peer. Can’t really blame him, the man was born forty years old. Directly being responsible for the business-declining Wrestlemania VII would be bad enough, but when you throw in The Bushwhackers and Boris ”Worst Russian since Kevin Nash in The Punisher” Zhukov and you have the Die Another Day of Survivor Series teams.
The match was cut like Flair’s forehead for the VHS release. ”You’re welcome, comrade” said Coliseum Home Video.
Col. Mustafa, The Berserker, Skinner & Hercules (1991)
OK, Sheik was a spent farce by 1991, only around because of residue from Slaughter vs. America (yeah, a year later and he’s waving the flag and fighting foreigners again. He switched alliances with such frequency he should have been a Metal Gear Solid character).
Skinner was from the Cajun Branch of the Ethnic Jobber Division, Berserker was mildly entertaining (and had a nice theme song) and Hercules was only ever good when teaming with Paul Roma. (Think about that for a second)
Herc was a replacement for ‘Big Bully’ Busick, in what would have made his only PPV appearance (He’s the one with the almighty cockduster). People might remember the under-rated character a bit more today if it hadn’t been for Hercules so fuck you Herc. I’m glad Heenan sold you to DiBiase like the world’s shittest Django impersonator.
The Four Doinks (1993)
Doink had a really good 1993: He wrestled engaging matches with Marty Jannetty, Mr. Perfect and ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage on Raw and was generally an entertaining heel.
Then they turned him face. And shit.
During this time, the good bad Doink (Matt Borne) quit rather than ruin the character with a dwarf sidekick. Good for him and his morales, but that’s probably one of the reasons we got this match. Maybe they were worried people would realise the new Doink wasn’t the real Doink (unlikely, but it’s great thinking about kids going THAT’S NOT THE REAL DOINK, I WANT A REFUND), maybe they wanted to poke fun at the fact multiple people played Doink as an in-joke to the dozens of 1993 online fans (more Bischoff’s thing) or maybe Vince McMahon’s humour sucks (aye, it’s this one. The man allegedly lists Wild Hogs as one of his favourite films.)
Men on a Mission and The Bushwhackers made up the Doinks because Mabel wrestled like he was wearing clown shoes anyway.
Shawn Michaels & His Knights (1993)
I’m sure most know people reading this will know the backstory but just in case: This was scheduled to be Hart vs. Lawler (hence ‘The Knights’, God knows why they didn’t change it to Shawn Michaels And His Sexy Boys. Probably common sense) as the next chapter of The Feud That Would Not Die, but then Lawler was accused of statuary rape and the company went into full-on Benoit mode and pretended he never existed. Lawler returned a short time later with the charges dropped and nothing more was said. HBK was inserted into Lawler’s place, having had that great match with Bret the previous year.
Shame his team was The Shits.
The Knights all resembled colour-swapped mini-bosses but sadly lacked distinguishing features like Water Breath or Fire Eyes which would have been cool. The only interesting thing about them was that for years Kane was reported to have played one of The Knights, when the only way he could have physically resembled them would have been if he’d wrestled on his knees with his shoes sticking out like Inspector Clouseau. They were (apparently) Barry Horowitz, Greg Valentine and Jeff Gaylord. They were never seen again so they may as well have all called themselves Benjamin Briggs.
Anyway, they all lost and the amazing Owen/Bret feud started here so every cloud has a something something. Match also is notable for Heenan’s amazing commentary.
Clowns Are Us vs. Royal Family (1994)
Midgets + WWF – King Kong Bundy = No.
Vince’s comedy skills again. Wild Hogs, people.
Jesse James, Aldo Montoya, Bob Holly & Bart Gunn vs. The Sultan, Justin Bradshaw, Salvatore Sincere & Billy Gunn (1996)
Take your pick, both teams could have the caption ”WWF in 1996” spray-painted over them repeatedly.
Described by Scott Keith as ”The Elephant Graveyard of bad gimmicks”, everybody bar Tom Brandi would go onto long-time success in WWF (”success” for Montoya translating as ”being employed”). Back then, Double J was Jarrett’s stooge, Aldo was…whatever the hell he was supposed to be, Bob was SPARK PLUGG, Bart Gunn was Billy’s partner, Bradshaw was a Stan Hansen wannabe, The Sultan wasn’t even worthy of a screen-name, Sincere was an 1960s Italian Stereotype and Billy was er, Bart’s partner.
Match warmed up the crowd like a candle in a large room and featured such highlights as Bradshaw being eliminated via fuck-up.
The Truth Commission (The Jackyl, The Interrogator, Sniper, and Recon) (1997)
Apparently these goons had names. Thanks Google.
WWF teamed up Cyrus The Virus, Kurrgan, Rambo and Bull Buchanan to be as unexciting as possible for a few months.
Vince deemed it such a success they’d later reuse the formula for Nexus.
Kai En Tai, The Blue Meanie & The Big Show (1999)
The funniest of the bad teams listed here, Big Show decided to beat up his team mates in the locker room during Sunday Night Heat as he wanted to get his own hands on Big Boss Man for casket-stealing.
Show then destroyed his opponents until Boss Man did a runner because that’s what made a feud in 1999.
Road Dogg, K-Kwik, Billy Gunn and Chyna (2000)
Black Flag were an amazing punk band that like all great bands, had creative differences and ended up splitting. In 2003, they reunited for a a few charity shows with only the drummer being a member of the original band and the vocalist being one of the guys from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2.
This team reminded me of those reunion shows as the ashes of D-Generation-X were knocked out of the urn and sucked up the hoover. Road Dogg in dungarees, K-Kwik as a completely out of place rapper (no change there then), Still-Legally-Female Chyna and The One Who’s Losing To Benoit On The Next PPV, Billy Gunn.
Their opponents were The Radicalz, so this match has the dubious honour of having the biggest talent gap between two teams.
Brock Lesnar, The Big Show, Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones & A-Train (2003)
Bork and Big are the best members of a team that should have been called Jim Ross’ Hosses.
A-Train’s back had X-Pac heat (the rest of him had none), Morgan was a gimmick based around a stutter (Edit: I was giving them too much credit, the stutter gimmick came in 2005…so the only thing he had in 2003 was ‘facial hair’) and they hired Nathan Jones before checking if he could wrestle or not.
Appropriate that this PPV was sponsored by the original Xbox: the biggest, heaviest console of all time.
Team Spirit Squad (Kenny, Johnny, Nicky and Mikey) (2006)
Fuck no. Raw 2006 was as bad as SmackDown 2006 was good. And SmackDown was very good.
Then again, we got Ziggler out of it. Which is like saying ”well, we got the cure for polio out of World War Two so it wasn’t that bad.”
Mae Young, The Fabulous Moolah, Tori and Debra vs. Ivory, Luna, Jacqueline and Terri Runnels (1999)
Mickie James, Maria, Torrie Wilson, Michelle McCool and Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix, Jillian Hall, Melina, Victoria and Layla (2007)
Team Raw (Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Candice Michelle, and Jillian Hall) (with Santino Marella) vs. Team SmackDown (Michelle McCool, Victoria, Maria, Maryse, and Natalya) (2008)
Team Mickie (Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Melina, Gail Kim, and Eve Torres) vs. Team Michelle (Michelle McCool, Jillian Hall, Beth Phoenix, Layla, and Alicia Fox) (2009)
Team Total Divas (Natalya, The Bella Twins, The Funkadactyls, Eva Marie & JoJo) defeated Team True Divas (AJ Lee, Tamina Snuka, Kaitlyn, Alicia Fox, Rosa Mendes, Aksana and Summer Rae)
Yeah, all female matches post-1999. All of them.
The 1999 match is made up of mostly horrible female wrestlers and the other ones blend together to the point where I can’t tell most of the Divas apart, never mind the matches. (I like the blonde one with big tits).
They always deliver for Botchamania though, so the glass is half-full. (It’s been a year and I have no clue who JoJo was.)
- British Bulldog & The Mean Street Posse (1999) A lot of people demanded this team, but The Posse were supposed to suck so I can’t include them for being good at what they did. Bulldog in jeans was a sad, sad time though.
- Right To Censor (2000) An in-joke at the expense of the viewer’s entertainment. Buchanan just bounced from great team to great team. He was probably one of The Knights too. And The Fifth Doink.
- Team Alliance (2001) Because when you think WCW and ECW, you think Steve Austin, Kurt Angle and Shane McMahon. Great match though.
- Every team that failed to eliminate a single member of the opposing team, so The Vipers (1990), Team Mustafa (1990, again), Team Bam Bam (1993), Clowns Are Us (1994, again), The Royals (1995) and Team Rated RKO (2006)
- Every Survivor Series PPV with no Team Matches, dammit.
- Note from 2014: Man, I had hoped for this article to be updated as they did more team matches but they kinda gave up on that. We had to settle for Orton vs. Show instead.
What are your thoughts on Survivor Series and shit teams?