Thursday, November 17, 2016

Wrestling MarketWatch: Survivor Series Programs

It's the Thanksgiving night tradition! Or is that the Thanksgiving Eve tradition? Now, per Michael Cole, I believe it's the Thanksgiving week tradition. No matter what, Survivor Series is a November wrestling staple that, while perhaps taking a backseat to the other "Big Four" pay-per-views in recent years, is steeped in WWF/WWE history. From the famous elimination matches to the very controversial (and now very tired) "Montreal Screwjob," some of the most memorable moments in the business took place at the Series. After a year or two of rumors that the event may disappear completely, Survivor Series is back. A rematch twelve years in the making as well as re-energized elimination tag matches are on tap for this year, but how about years past? Many of those shows can be recounted just by looking through the programs. In this edition of Wrestling MarketWatch, we take a look at the recent auction prices for some of those programs.

*Each Survivor Series seemed to bring something different to the table. 1990 included the "Grand Finale Match of Survival," the debut of The Undertaker, and The Gobbledy Gooker. The latter, remembered fondly or infamously depending on your point of view, was to be the WWF's answer to costumed mascots of sports teams. It may have been a flop at the time, but for some reason the critics that have, for lack of a better term, crapped on it for years just can't seem to stop talking about it. How about that? Regardless, the program from the event, which also featured the final WWF appearance of Demolition Ax, recently sold for $15.30.

*1992 was the first year where the card was dominated by regular singles and tag team matches. Only one traditional Survivor Series elimination match made the event that year, and it wasn't that exciting. The company was also in a state of flux around the same time, thus causing several changes to the card. The Ultimate Warrior (pictured on the cover) "ultimately" did not make the show. A match pitting The British Bulldog against The Mountie for the Intercontinental Championship is also promoted inside, but both of these men also left the company prior. A basic match pitting Bret Hart against Shawn Michaels ended up featuring both the WWF Champion and Intercontinental Champion as each man ended up holding those respective belts in the weeks leading up. The program recently sold for $20.

*The 1994 program was an event-only item. It is much larger than the other magazine-sized programs profiled here. In many was it resembles the large WWE programs of today. Included inside was a poster which is often lost these days. Always a hot item when it shows up, it seems that everyone wants to add the program that features Queasy, Cheesy, and Sleazy to their collection. The chilling picture of The Undertaker that takes up most of the cover probably doesn't hurt the popularity of the program, either. An example, complete with poster, recently sold for $100.

*Going back a year to 1993, we take a look at the last magazine-sized Survivor Series program. The only WWF pay-per-view to be held in the old Boston Garden, fans of the mid-90's WWF remember the event fondly. It was the beginning of the end for Bobby "The Brain" Heenan's original WWF run, featured a great mix of talent from a transitional period, and even included a Smoky Mountain Wrestling tag team title defense. All these years later and it still looks odd to see The Rock N Roll Express in a WWF publication. This unique time capsule recently sold for $25.

*We actually have two programs for 1989. Many of the early WWF pay-per-view event programs have two versions: one sold on newsstands and one sold at the actual event. Newsstand editions have a bar code and possibly a red banner in the corner proclaiming it to be an "Official Souvenir Edition." Prices are usually very close if not identical for either version. For the year that Dusty Rhodes, Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, Rick Rude, and The Ultimate Warrior captained winning teams, we feature both. Recently the newsstand version sold for $19 while the live event version attained a $26 selling price.

Who are the ultimate winners? Anyone who owns any of these treasures. It's fun to look through them, as we occasionally have right here on the blog, and see what was originally planned and what ended up happening. Sometimes the shows ended up going on exactly as advertised, while other years saw major changes. It's the nature of the beast with printed material. All these years later, we're thankful for it!

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