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WWF Survivor Series 1988 Review


Welcome everyone to the last WWF PPV of 1988, the second annual Survivor Series. Considering this is a “special” PPV with its own particular match type, some changes to the point system will be made. Considering one wrestler can very well be eliminated in seconds and still technically emerge victorious, only the survivors will get 1 point, while every member of the winning team (those eliminated included) will get 0.5. Each elimination will be worth 1 point, as usual.

The champions at this point are: (not that it matters at this show, but still here it is)

  • WWF Champion – Randy Savage
  • Intercontinental Champion – The Ultimate Warrior
  • Tag Team Champions – Demolition (Ax & Smash)

The hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura

Team Warrior/Beefcake (The Ultimate Warrior, Brutus Beefcake, Blue Blazer, Sam Houston & Jim Brunzell) vs. Team Honky/Bass (The Honky Tonk Man, Ron Bass, Greg Valentine, Bad News Brown & Danny Davis)(w/ Jimmy Hart)

The former members of Dream Team (V2), Beefcake and Valentine, get at it to start. Davis comes in, and he’s out via the Barber’s sleeper at 1:20.

  • Danny Davis eliminated (1 point to Brutus Beefcake)

It’s back to the explosion of the Dream Team, but Beefcake escapes the Figure Four and tags in the Blue Blazer. For those of you who might not know, this is Owen Hart playing the gimmick. Blazer does some lucha things and quickly brings in Jumpin’ Jim Brunzell, who hits an elbow on Valentine for two. In comes Bad News, who absolutely beats the living crap out of Brunzell. Brunzell gets his little hope(less) spot, but misses a charge and the Ghetto Blaster sends Jumpin’ Jim jumpin’ back to the showers at 5:30.

  • Jim Brunzell eliminated (1 point to Bad News Brown)

Sam Houston tries his luck next, and that one doesn’t go very well. Brown destroys him, but Valentine hits Brown while trying to add a shot of his own on Houston from the apron. That’s it for the loner Brown, who says ‘enough of this bs’ and walks away at 7:45, getting counted-out.

  • Bad News Brown eliminated

The heels can’t believe Brown would actually walk out on them, and that distraction allows Houston to almost eliminate Valentine with a roll-up, but it only gets two. A sunset flip goes horribly wrong, and in comes Ron Bass to beat him up. A couple of clotheslines get two, but Houston still doesn’t want to tag out. That ends up costing him and his team, as he’s gone via powerslam at 20:10.

  • Sam Houston eliminated (1 point to Ron Bass)

Warrior finally joins the match to clean house, launching Blazer onto Bass but it only gets two. Honky comes in, immediately taking a high cross for two. Honky soon catches Blazer with a knee to the midsection, and in comes Valentine only to walk right into a gutwrench suplex. Powerslam is followed by another splash, but Honky pushes him off and Valentine’s figure four puts him away at 12:20.

  • Blue Blazer eliminated (1 point to Greg Valentine)

Beefcake comes in to get some of Valentine, who brings in Bass to work over Beefcake. Honky’s back in to hit the Shake Rattle & Roll, which Beefcake escapes before Bass gets involved. Honky’s back in control and goes up, only for Brutus to slam him off. Atomic drop sets up the sleeper, but Honky bails and he’s outta there. Beefcake follows him for some reason, and we get a double elimination at 15:45.

  • Honky Tonk Man & Brutus Beefcake eliminated

Warrior is now alone in there with Bass & Valentine, and that smells BIG trouble. Nah, who am I kidding.. Warrior basically no-sells a bunch of stuff for a minute, before running over both heels and putting Bass away with a double axehandle at 17:30. Yes, a double axehandle!

  • Ron Bass eliminated (1 point to Ultimate Warrior)

A few seconds later, Valentine eats one as well and that’s all she wrote at about 18:00. A good opener that exceeded my expectations. ***1/2

Survivor: Ultimate Warrior (1 point)

Winners (although eliminated): Beefcake, Blazer, Houston & Brunzell (0.5 point)

Eliminations: 2 by Warrior (2 points); 1 by Beefcake, Brown, Bass & Valentine (1 point each)

The Powers of Pain (Warlord & Barbarian), The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart), The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid), The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) & The Young Stallions (Paul Roma & Jim Powers) vs. Demolition (Ax & Smash), The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard), The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques & Raymond), The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff & Boris Zhukov) & The Conquistadores (Uno & Dos)(w/ Bobby Heenan, Mr. Fuji, Jimmy Hart & Slick)

This one will be quite tough to discuss, at least while there’s TWENTY FUCKING PEOPLE standing in that ring! Davey and a Conquistador start, but Jacques soon gets in and works over Davey, until Davey press slams Jacques into Raymond. Scary strength. The Rockers get a chance to shine, and not long afterwards we get the most interesting of scenarios: Dynamite up against Jacques Rougeau. I will better explain this throughout this match. DK hits a nasty SNAP suplex on Jacques for two. Jacques dropkicks Jim Powers for two, and in comes Bret Hart, getting a massive reaction, second only to that of The Warrior. Bret small packages Jacques into safety at 5:35.

So, that story: a rib between the Bulldogs and the Rougeaus had gone horribly wrong not long before this event, with them getting into numerous fights backstage. That caused The Bulldogs to give their notice, and in order to avoid more problems (it was the Bulldogs’ last date and match with the company), the Rougeaus were eliminated early in order to get the hell out of the arena before the Bulldogs got to the back. And that’s why the Rougeaus were the first team eliminated, despite being the most over team on the heel side, apart from the champs. That’s your story, back to the match…

  • Rougeaus eliminated (1 point to Bret Hart, over Jacques)

Roma with a high cross on Voloff for two. Smash hits a big boot on a Conquistador, and the Demos go to work on Bret. Michaels comes in, but he too gets worked over by the heels. Another curiousity from this match, as this was the only time Bret & Michaels would ever team up on PPV. AA Spinebuster gets two(?) and so does a slam from a Conquistador. Get ready to see clothesline city eliminating people all over the place, while AA’s nasty spinebuster is only good enough for a nearfall. Marty comes in, but Volkoff sends him into the corner so he can tag out to Davey Boy. Well, that was weird. Davey hits a powerslam for two, but he soon gets caught by the heels. Barbarian comes in with a high kick on Smash, and Anvil’s running powerslam gets two. DK plays face-in-peril until Boris misses a charge, allowing Kid to bring in Powers for the hot tag. Powers hits a high cross, but Boris rolls over to put the Stallions out at 15:20.

  • Young Stallions eliminated (1 point to Zhukov, over Powers)

HBK gets in with a fistdrop, followed by a Barbarian shoulderblock. Boris tags in Blanchard, who hilariously struts over and tags in Volkoff, trying to get the Powers of Pain over at any cost. With his side finally in control, now Tully adds his shots in a nice touch. HBK makes the comeback on Boris, and brings in Marty to finish Boris with a sunset flip at 18:09.

  • Bolsheviks eliminated (1 point to Jannetty, over Zhukov)

Marty gets caught over on the heel corner, but Arn makes the mistake of getting his head down, allowing Marty to bring in Davey Boy. Tully also comes in, though, and he whips Davey Boy hard into the turnbuckle. Hey look, The Conquistadores are still in there! The Harts & HBK take turns beating up one of them, causing him to look for a tag… in the wrong corner. That earns him a SNAP suplex by Dynamite. He adds a flying kneedrop and a backbreaker, probably wishing it would be Jacques Rougeau. Barbarian comes in with a powerslam, and now Blanchard comes in. The heels work over the Barbarian using quick tags, before he gets to Bret so he can make the comeback by running wild with the Usual. German out of the corner into a bridge does it… but wait. Blanchard got one of his shoulders up, while Bret did not, so it’s the Harts who are gone at 27:03.

  • Hart Foundation eliminated (1 point to Blanchard, over Bret)

Dynamite quickly comes in with a tombstone piledriver on Blanchard, but it only gets two as the Harts were still arguing with the referees over their elimination. The Brain Busters are pissed, and they brawl with the Rockers all the way to the back for the double elimination at 27:57.

  • Rockers & Brain Busters eliminated

So we’re down to the Bulldogs & Powers of Pain on the babyface side, and Demolition & THE CONQUISTADORES(!!!!) over on the heel side. The Demos go to work on the PoP before a Conquistador misses a senton, undoing all the work that had been done like a complete idiot. This match is already feeling way too long. Delayed suplex by Davey gets two. He hits the powerslam, but instead of going for the pin he tags Ax back in. Come on. Davey hits an elbow for two. Dynamite hits a gutwrench into a headbutt, but it still only gets two. It’s the freakin Conquistadores, they do jobs to the Young Stallions in five minutes on Prime Time Wrestling and are going nearly half an hour on the PPV? Smash comes in to eat the snap suplex, but the diving headbutt misses and Smash clotheslines the Bulldogs out of the WWF at 36:02.

  • British Bulldogs eliminated (1 point to Smash, over Dynamite)

Warlord comes in but misses a charge, allowing Ax to target his shoulder. They work over Warlord while Mr. Fuji stands on the apron, before accidentally pulling the rope down and knocking out his own man for the count-out elimination at 39:33.

  • Demolition eliminated

The Conquistadores are completely forgotten about at this point, as Fuji turns on Demolition on the outside and joins the Powers of Pain for the double-team. Great, the Demos were over on their own anyway and Fuji didn’t add much to the team. Oh, and by the way, the Powers of Pain put the Conquistadores away like they’re nothing after all this, with Barbarian getting the final pin over one of them (who knows if it’s Uno or Dos) after a whooping 42:12. This was obviously extended in order to allow the Rougeaus to get out of town before the Bulldogs got to the back, thus missing the match’s peak. The crowd didn’t really get the turn either, as the Demolition clean house as babyfaces post-match but get booed. Technically fine match but very, very, very weird. ***

Survivors: The Powers of Pain (1 point)

Winners (although eliminated): Rockers, Bulldogs, Harts & Stallions (0.5 point)

Eliminations: 1 by Bret, Zhukov, Jannetty, Blanchard, Smash & Barbarian (1 point each)

Meanwhile, Bad News Brown says this concept is rubbish and challenges Savage for the WWF title. In other words, but that was his point. About that Savage thing, though, don’t be surprised if you end up working with his partner and losing your streak to him instead, brother.

Meanwhile part two, Mr. Fuji is like ‘Demolition bad, Powers of Pain good’.

Meanwhile part three, Bobby Heenan says Andre’s team is confident. When you have Scott Casey in the opposite team, you SHOULD be confident.

Meanwhile part four, the Mega Powers will survive later tonight, brother. Hogan claims there are no weak links in their team, which is the closest to him putting anyone over on TV in the glory Hulkamania days.

Team Andre/Bravo (Andre the Giant, Dino Bravo, Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect & Harley Race)(w/ Bobby Heenan & Frenchy Martin) vs. Team Roberts/Duggan (Jake Roberts, Jim Duggan, Tito Santana, Ken Patera & Scott Casey)

First of all, RIP to Andre’s team, whose five members have all passed away. In case you’re wondering what in the hell Scott Casey is doing on PPV, he’s subbing for The Junkyard Dog, who left for the NWA just weeks before this show. And apparently they had no one else, which shows how great the WWF’s undercard was at this point.

Rude starts with Patera, and it doesn’t take long for the latter to play face-in-peril. The heels take turns beating him up, until he shoves Mr. Perfect away and brings in Tito to start working the arm. Casey comes in to take a Bravo atomic drop and a pair of suplexes from Race, but luckily for him he manages to tag Patera back in. Duggan soon comes in and starts running wild with a clothesline on Perfect, but Andre chokes him out on the apron. Rude comes in to face Duggan as they collide for a double KO spot. Duggan recovers first and brings in Patera, but he misses a charge and walks into the Rude Awakening at 8:18.

  • Ken Patera eliminated (1 point to Rick Rude)

Casey comes in next, getting beat up by all the heels. He actually manages to backslide Bravo for two, but eventually hits the showers after taking Bravo’s side suplex at 9:27.

  • Scott Casey eliminated (1 point to Dino Bravo)

A brief Santana/Perfect wrestling sequence is teased as Perfect small packages him for two, but Perfect is soon a victim of Duggan’s goofy comeback thing. Andre again goes after Duggan on the apron with some headbutts, forcing him to tag out to Tito, who runs into Andre as well. Tito hits a high cross and a sunset flip on Rude for two, before Race comes in with a piledriver that also gets two. Clothesline gets two more. Santana explodes with the flying forearm for the pin at 13:20.

  • Harley Race eliminated (1 point to Tito Santana)

Andre finally tags in for the first time in this match, and Santana basically plays his bitch. He throws him around for fun, sits on him a few times, cuts off an attempted comeback and sits on him again to put him away for good at 14:40.

  • Tito Santana eliminated (1 point to Andre the Giant)

It’s now 4-on-2 for the heels, with only Roberts & Duggan left for the babyfaces and everyone but Harley Race left on the heel side. Duggan goes after Andre immediately, and it’s not long before Andre gets caught on the ropes. SHOCKING. This allows Roberts to get some shots on Andre, before Rude comes in to save him. Roberts tries to fight back, but he’s too close to the heel corner and they prevent him from reaching Duggan. Roberts finally catches Bravo with a short arm clothesline and he’s thinking DDT, only for Rude to sneak in with a clothesline from the apron. Bravo gets a piledriver for two, but he misses an elbow and it’s hot tag Duggan. Frenchy gets involved, though, and Duggan grabs the 2×4 and uses it to get DQ’d like a total idiot at 21:20.

  • Jim Duggan eliminated

Thus leaving Roberts alone against four heels. If I was Jake Roberts, I’d DDT him as a thank you. But I guess Roberts has never been known for being a nice guy, has he? Perfect is all cocky before eating a kneelift, getting Bravo in. Bravo shows off his strength but he almost ends up taking the DDT, backdropping him out and tagging in Rude. Rude gets his shots in as well, but the sensual posing earns him a DDT to blow off that feud once and for all (one month too late) at 28:45.

  • Rick Rude eliminated (1 point to Jake Roberts)

Andre’s finally had enough of this drama, and he decides killing Jake Roberts would be a nice way to spend his Thanksgiving night. He absolutely murders Roberts in the corner and chokes him, totally ignoring the referee and sacrificing himself as he eventually is gone via DQ at 29:40.

  • Andre the Giant eliminated

Roberts is finished, however, so Perfect comes in with a perfect cover for the win at 30:00. Solid match overall, with the highlights being Roberts doing a great job of having to fight from underneath against four bad guys and a creative finish that put Andre over as a killer, Perfect as a dick while still protecting Roberts in defeat. Nothing I’ll probably wanna watch again, but I liked it. ***1/4

Survivors: Dino Bravo & Mr. Perfect (1 point)

Winners (although eliminated): Andre, Rude & Race (0.5 point)

Eliminations: 1 by Rude, Bravo, Tito, Andre, Roberts & Perfect (1 point each)

Team Mega Powers (Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, Hercules, Koko B. Ware & Hillbilly Jim) vs. Team Bossman/Akeem (The Big Bossman, Akeem, Ted DiBiase, King Haku & The Red Rooster)(w/ Slick, Bobby Heenan & Virgil)

In what has to be both the most hilarious and distracting moment of the night, Koko has the back of his tights blurred on the Network. He had WWF written on his ass, so I’d assume they blurred it to avoid legal actions from the Panda. The big secret here, though, is… did the B. in Koko B. Ware stand for Blurredass all along?

Much like at WrestleMania earlier that year, Savage and DiBiase start the main-event of Survivor Series. DiBiase starts in control, before Savage connects with a clothesline and tags in Hercules, and DiBiase is having none of that. Rooster takes advantage of the distraction to hit a jawbreaker on Herc, who brings in THE BLURREDMAN to play Ricky Morton. Haku misses a legdrop, though, and Herc’s back in to pound on him. Hogan gets in to drop some elbows and a double-team big boot alongside Hillbilly gets two. A really nice missile dropkick by Koko gets two. Hogan gets back in to run wild on Rooster with the Usual, before allowing Savage to pin him like the great friend and tag partner he is via the Macho Elbow at 6:10.

  • Red Rooster eliminated (1 point to Randy Savage)

Haku gets in to bump around for the Mega Powers, before eventually catching Hogan with a dropkick. Hogan obviously no-sells it and even hulks up to hit some clotheslines before tagging Herc back in. He drops some elbows for two, but Haku gets the side suplex and it’s time for the AFRICAN DREAM. Herc tags in Hillbilly, who gets absolutely squashed in the corner and hits the showers (or did he? Gorilla always talks about how he’s been wearing the same boots since 1985 after all…) once Akeem follows up with the 747 at 10:00.

  • Hillbilly Jim eliminated (1 point to Akeem)

Koko jumps Akeem immediately and brings him to his corner, but that one doesn’t work out as well as he probably expected. Akeem pounds him down, tags in the Big Bossman, Bossman Slam and Koko The Blurredman is gonzo at 11:45.

  • Koko B. Ware eliminated (1 point to Big Bossman)

Hogan comes in to tease his big showdown with the Bossman, which gets a nice reaction as expected. Hogan pounds and pounds on Bossman but fails to get him down, as then Bossman puts him down after Hogan runs into a single spinebuster. Simple and effective psychology, enough of a tease to leave the fans wanting more, and Bossman brings in Akeem. Bossman continues to choke Hogan from the apron, allowing Haku to headbutt Hogan for two. DiBiase comes in with the million dollar fistdrops, but Hogan shockingly no-sells it and is immediately back up. It’s sad to see DiBiase going from being the hottest heel in the company to whatever he’s doing here, just a few months after the fact. Herc gets back in to finally get some of DiBiase. Virgil trips him up, though, and DiBiase pins Hercules with a cheap roll-up at 16:35.

  • Hercules eliminated (1 point to Ted DiBiase)

DiBiase mocks Hercules on his way out, allowing Savage to catch him with a cheap roll-up of his own at 16:57.

  • Ted DiBiase eliminated (1 point to Randy Savage)

Thankfully Hogan mentioned there were no weak links in his team earlier. Whatever you wanna call the three of them, they’re all gone now and it’s down to Hogan and Savage. Feel free to call them dead weight if you want, but weak links they are NOT, brother. Haku misses a headbutt on Savage, but connects with a thrust kick on Hogan. Akeem beats up Hogan for a while, but Haku is back in with a suplex for two before putting Hogan in a nice and comfortable massage, otherwise known as a nerve hold by some. Bossman hits the Bossman Slam but stops to celebrate instead of, you know, WINNING, and goes to the top (?) only to miss a splash. What in the hell was that all about? Savage comes in for the hot tag, only to get hit by Slick as he runs the ropes. Slick goes after Liz on the outside, forcing Savage to go after him. Suddenly everyone’s on the floor, but while Savage goes back inside, Bossman handcuffs Hogan on the ropes and gets counted-out while doing so for the REALLY LAME elimination at 23:24. I know you wanna protect him in defeat, but compare this to Andre’s elimination in the prior match… Bossman just looks dumb here.

  • The Big Bossman eliminated

He beats up Hogan with the nightstick before finally going to the back, leaving Hogan cuffed to the bottom rope. Meanwhile, inside the ring there’s still a match going on, and the heels double-team Savage until the ref DQs Akeem for kicking too much ass at 25:00

  • Akeem eliminated

And yes, it’s down to King Haku alone with the Mega Powers. Guess how that one ends. Slick taunts Hogan with the handcuff key, but Haku misses a superkick inside the ring and superkicks Slick by accident instead. That allows Elizabeth to steal the key from him, Hogan’s free, hot tag, the Usual, boot, leg, thanks for coming at 30:10.

Apart from the really lame eliminations of Akeem and the Big Bossman, this match was fine a did a good job of teasing future encounters, particularly DiBiase/Hercules and Hogan/Bossman. ***1/4 After the match, Hogan completely ignores Savage and instead poses, before grabbing Savage’s wife (who was with him on the mat) and putting her in his shoulders. Uh oh. Wrong fucking move, big boy. Savage indeed poses with Hogan after a while to close the show, but not before giving him a very brief look while he has Elizabeth in his arms. Very brief look, but enough to let you know Savage is starting to get just a little bit sick of Hulk Hogan. Rightfully so, might I add.

Survivors: Hogan & Savage (1 point)

Winners (although eliminated): Hercules, Koko & Hillbilly (0.5 point)

Eliminations: 2 by Savage (2 points); 1 by Akeem, Bossman, DiBiase & Hogan (1 point each)

Overall, a much better show than SummerSlam was. I was expecting the giant elimination match between all the tag-teams to be the best match of the night, much like the year before, but it was obviously affected by behind the scenes shenanigans. All matches are enjoyable, some obviously more than others, also depending on your own personal interest for the characters and/or stories involved. Survivor Series 1988 is recommended. 7/10

Finally, the points:

  • Randy Savage: 7.25 points (3.25 for star rating + 2 for eliminations + 1 for being a survivor + 1 for main-eventing)
  • The Ultimate Warrior: 6.5 points (3.5 for star rating + 2 for eliminations + 1 for being a survivor)
  • Hulk Hogan: 6.25 points (3.25 for star rating + 1 for an elimination + 1 for being a survivor + 1 for main-eventing)
  • Perfect & Bravo: 5.25 points (3.25 for star rating + 1 for an elimination + 1 for being survivors)
  • Powers of Pain: 5 points (3 for star rating + 1 for an elimination + 1 for being survivors)
  • Bossman & Akeem: 4.75 points (3.25 for star rating + 1 for an elimination + 1 for main-eventing – 0.5 for getting eliminated by CO/DQ)
  • Brutus Beefcake: 4.5 points (3.5 for star rating + 1 for an elimination + 0.5 for winning – 0.5 for getting eliminated by CO)
  • Ted DiBiase: 4.25 points (3.25 for star rating + 1 for an elimination + 1 for main-eventing – 1 for getting eliminated by pin)
  • Andre the Giant: 4.25 points (3.25 for star rating + 1 for an elimination + 0.5 for winning – 0.5 for getting eliminated by DQ)
  • Bad News Brown: 4 points (3.5 for star rating + 1 for an elimination – 0.5 for getting eliminated by CO)
  • The Rockers: 4 points (3 for star rating + 0.5 for winning + 1 for an elimination – 0.5 for getting eliminated by DQ)
  • Rick Rude: 3.75 points (3.25 for star rating + 0.5 for winning + 1 for an elimination – 1 for getting eliminated by pin)
  • Hercules, Koko & H. Jim: 3.75 points (3.25 for star rating + 0.5 for winning + 1 for main-eventing – 1 for getting eliminated by pin)
  • Hart Foundation: 3.5 points (3 for star rating + 0.5 for winning + 1 for an elimination – 1 for getting eliminated by pin)
  • Valentine & Bass: 3.5 points (3.5 for star rating + 1 for an elimination – 1 for getting eliminated by pin)
  • Demolition: 3.5 points (3 for star rating + 1 for an elimination – 0.5 for getting eliminated by CO)
  • Roberts & Santana: 3.25 points (3.25 for star rating + 1 for an elimination – 1 for getting eliminated by pin)
  • Haku: 3.25 points (3.25 for star rating + 1 for main-eventing – 1 for getting eliminated by pin)
  • Red Rooster: 3.25 points (3.25 for star rating + 1 for main-eventing – 1 for getting eliminated by pin)
  • Blazer, Houston & Brunzell: 3 points (3.5 for star rating + 0.5 for winning – 1 for getting eliminated by pin/sub)
  • Honky Tonk Man: 3 points (3.5 for star rating – 0.5 for getting eliminated by CO)
  • Bulldogs & Stallions: 3 points (3 for star rating + 0.5 for winning – 1 for getting eliminated by pin)
  • Harley Race: 2.75 points (3.25 for star rating + 0.5 for winning – 1 for getting eliminated by pin)
  • Jim Duggan: 2.75 points (3.25 for star rating – 0.5 for getting eliminated by DQ)
  • Danny Davis: 2.5 points (3.5 for star rating – 1 for getting eliminated by sub)
  • Patera & Casey: 2.25 points (3.25 for star rating – 1 for getting eliminated by pin)
  • Rougeaus & Conquistadores: 2 points (3 for star rating – 1 for getting eliminated by pin)

That is it for the second edition of Survivor Series. Coming up next time, and closing the 1988 chapter on this website, an episode of SNME featuring Randy Savage vs. Andre the Giant for the WWF Championship. Make sure you don’t miss it. Also, don’t forget that starting in 1989, I’ll be reviewing NWA (Clash of the Champions & PPVs) as well. As always, thank you so much for your time. I’ll see you next time.