In 1987, the WWE created The Survivor Series to combat the NWA’s Starrcade. It was a Thanksgiving wrestling war, but in reality it was a Thanksgiving PPV war. Vince McMahon used his leverage as the king of PPV wrestling to strong arm the cable companies to only show his Survivor Series instead of showing both since the NWA was willing to move their show to earlier in the day (I think it was earlier).
My dad used to give blank tapes to a friend who had one of those pirate boxes and she recorded Wrestlemania III for me that way. Back in 1987, I didn’t know that Vince McMahon was telling cable companies that they had to only show his Survivor Series or else miss out on Wrestlemania IV. And really, they should’ve missed out on that terrible show. I was heartbroken when my tape showed Starrcade 87 instead of the Survivor Series. I wanted Hulk Hogan, not Dusty Rhodes. My cable company decided to call Vince’s bluff and showed Starrcade 87 instead which in retrospect wasn’t so bad at all because I really liked Starrcade even if history tells you that Chicago didn’t necessarily love it. And looking back, I can see why.
Even as an 11 year old boy, I knew that not putting the belts on the Road Warriors was a mistake. They were over big time live and the Dusty finish just left everyone watching really deflated. And though I thought Ronnie Garvin was a legit contender to Ric Flair’s throne, I don’t think the older wrestling fans did. Flair was getting cheered in their World Title cage match. But still, I was into it. I was always curious about why Dr. Death Steve Williams wasn’t ever in the title picture because on that night, I thought he looked like the toughest wrestler I ever saw after destroying Barry Windham. I wonder what would’ve happened if it was Dr. Death booked against Flair instead of Garvin.
I didn’t get to see WWE’s alternative until it came out on video tape many months later. But they were laying the seed to a Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant rematch after Team Andre defeated Team Hulk in their match. Hulk wasn’t even around for the finish. I just remember Bam Bam Bigelow doing somersaults.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.