Survivor Series ’87
Arnold Furious: Vince McMahon had huge success with the concept of WrestleMania. It had taken three of them to get the show itself right, but the marketing and promoting had been great since day one. Vince saw North America as his territory. He wanted to trample every other promotion into the ground, and most of them went like dominoes as Vince expanded across the USA. His tours, TV and big stars were just too much for most regional promoters. The reliance had been on the NWA to provide for the weak, and with the NWA diluted by Vince’s assault, the smaller businesses were doomed. The NWA’s flagship remained Jim Crockett’s promotion. It was the only one that was benefitting from Vince’s expansionist policies, as the NWA looked to make Crockett’s promotion the strongest, to stand up to Vince’s Evil Empire. Crockett himself was getting ambitious and lined up his biggest show in 1987 to counteract WrestleMania III. In November he’d got all his ducks in a row and was ready to put on a grand showcase for the NWA; Starrcade. It’d be Crockett’s first PPV, having previously used closed circuit TV, and Vince went all out to destroy it. He put the first Survivor Series on PPV and threatened PPV providers that they had to choose between Survivor Series and Starrcade and if they choose to air Starrcade they wouldn’t get WrestleMania IV. Given the massive numbers from WrestleMania III, Vince won. The tiff would continue into 1988 as the NWA went unopposed on PPV with the Bunkhouse Stampede only for Vince to cheekily air the first Royal Rumble on USA at the same time. Survivor Series is an interesting concept show. It was comprised of elimination matches, including a women’s match and a tag teams match. Essentially so each division could be featured. The other two men’s matches centre on the WWF and IC titles. There was a feeling, in the early years of PPV, that PPV events should be relatively self contained. Hence; the Wrestling Classic, King of the Ring, Royal Rumble and Survivor Series. All of them could be watched as individual events without a need for background knowledge. Given that Survivor Series is intended as a standalone show, some of the booking is rather interesting as it’s a card where some push promises are fulfilled, and certain rewards given out.