REVIEW: WWE ‘30 Years of SURVIVOR SERIES’ DVD – A Three-Decade Reflection On A Controversial PPV

October 26, 2017 by Mark Armstrong

WWE '30 Years of Survivor Series' DVD - Logo

When the WWF held the first-ever Survivor Series in the Richfield Coliseum on November 26, 1987, Vince McMahon could never have known that the event would still be around three decades later. Yet, Survivor Series is still going strong, and on November 19, we will get the next chapter in the history of what may be WWE’s most controversial PPV extravaganza, for several reasons.

To commemorate the upcoming supershow, WWE has released “30 YEARS of SURVIVOR SERIES” as a three-disc DVD that is split into two parts: a main feature counting down the top 30 moments in Survivor Series history, and a collection of matches which span 1988-2016 and cover discs two and three. There are no extras included, though a 31st moment is included as an Easter Egg; an accurate description of the bonus footage, if you catch my drift.


30 YEARS IN THE MAKING!! Shipping out now from (UK) and (USA).



WWE '30 Years of Survivor Series' DVD - Countdown Feature
WWE - Shawn Michaels Wins World Heavyweight Championship in Elimination Chamber, Survivor Series 2002

I won’t pore over the main feature in great detail because fans who have not seen the list from #30 to #1 should be able to watch this without knowing what is coming next. I will say though that the countdown, which lasts just over an hour, moves at a fast pace and, with moments ranging from hilarious to incredible to despondent, there is something for just about everybody, not to mention that we see a ton of history being made in the process.

Sure, it could benefit from a real introduction, and oddly there are no talking head comments by any current or former wrestlers, but it’s still a very entertaining programme to watch, and while many of the expected Survivor Series moments are present, there are also a few surprises which prevent the feature from being too predictable. While I would have preferred a proper documentary charting the event’s history behind the scenes (such as the reason for its creation in the first place to counteract Jim Crockett Promotions presenting Starrcade 1987 on PPV, and the near-cancellation of the show in 2010), this is definitely a great way to look back on the legacy of Survivor Series so far.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the matches!

WWE - Bret Hart 'Screwed' by Shawn Michaels in the Sharpshooter, Controversial Survivor Series Moment!
WWE - Sting Debuts, Enters WWE Ring for First Time Ever to Confront Triple H!



WWF Survivor Series 1988 – November 24, 1988
Ten-Man Tag Team Elimination Match

Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, Koko B. Ware, Hercules & Hillbilly Jim vs. Big Boss Man, Akeem, Ted DiBiase, Haku & The Red Rooster

Kicking things off, we have the main event from Survivor Series 1988. By the standards of the time, the match is very entertaining, and the subtle post-match scenes would play a big role in the eventual split of the Mega-Powers tag team. Incidentally, this is the latest in a long line of WWE DVD matches which have seen Jesse Ventura’s commentary removed.

WWE '30 Years of Survivor Series' DVD - 1988 Traditional Elimination Match
WWE - Hulk Hogan Throws His Bandanna at The Undertaker!

WWF Survivor Series 1991 – November 27, 1991
WWF Championship Match

Hulk Hogan (C) vs. The Undertaker

Next up, we have Hulk Hogan defending his WWF Title against The Undertaker. By this point, Hulkamania was on the decline, and the big cheers which greet Taker’s shock first championship win are indicative of both this and of Taker’s popularity in spite of his heel status. The highlight, as was often the case during this era, comes from the superb back-and-forth arguing on commentary between Gorilla Monsoon and the late, great Bobby Heenan.

WWF Survivor Series 1994 – November 23, 1994
Ten-Man Tag Team Elimination Match

The Bad Guys (Razor Ramon, British Bulldog, 123 Kid & The Headshrinkers) vs. The Teamsters (Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Jeff Jarrett, Owen Hart & Jim Neidhart)

Want to know how much wrestling has changed? This match ends with five heels all being counted out at once, and the fans in attendance go wild! Such a finish would not go down well today. But this is fun to watch, and it acts as another step in Diesel’s ascension to the top of the WWF mountain; little did anybody expect him to claim the World Title just three days later.

WWE '30 Years of Survivor Series' DVD - Diesel vs. Bret Hart

WWF Survivor Series 1995 – November 19, 1995
WWF Championship No Holds Barred Match

Diesel (C) vs. Bret Hart

In 1995, when the word “violence” was nowhere to be found in the WWF product, this No Holds Barred match is as brutal a contest as one could realistically expect. It also helps that the action is of a high standard, the story is well-told, and the finish is a big surprise. Oh, and the use of a certain high-spot makes its WWF/WWE debut here, amigos.

WWF Survivor Series 1996 – November 17, 1996
WWF Championship Match

Shawn Michaels (C) vs. Psycho Sid

This is arguably the best match of Sid’s entire career, little wonder considering that he was battling the one and only Showstopper. The most memorable aspect, though, is Shawn being rained down with boos, years before jeering the top babyface became a trend. Those who have seen this match before will notice that WWE has removed the swearing by both men at ringside (a surprise, considering this was 1996) during the scenes which lead to the finish.

WWE - Vince McMahon Gives The Rock the WWF Championship Belt, Attitude Era

WWF Survivor Series 1998 – November 15, 1998
WWF Championship Match – Deadly Game Tournament Final

The Rock vs. Mankind

The culmination of the Deadly Game tournament between The Rock and Mankind is fondly-remembered by fans of the Attitude Era. Before the swerve that was inspired by the Montreal Screwjob, the action is hard-hitting between two men who would become very familiar foes and friends in the subsequent twelve months. There is a minor edit during a pre-match confab between Big Boss Man and the McMahons, presumably because of Shane using the “double-bird” (it’s PG, dammit!).

WWF Survivor Series 1999 – November 14, 1999
WWF Championship Triple Threat Match

Triple H (C) vs. The Rock vs. Big Show

Everyone remembers when Steve Austin was ran down by a mystery assailant, but fewer remember the subsequent WWF Title match which had to be adjusted as a result of Austin being absent. Big Show filling in and becoming WWF Champion was fairly well-received by fans in Detroit, and stands as the biggest (no pun intended) victory of his lengthy (sorry) career.

WWF Survivor Series 2001 – November 18, 2001
WWF Tag Team Championship & WCW Tag Team Championship Unification Steel Cage Match

The Hardy Boyz (C) vs. The Dudley Boyz (C)

This match has been released several times in recent years, making it less appealing to go back and watch it again here. Other than that, it’s a strong effort by both teams with a creative finish, though it’s less spectacular than the Tables and TLC matches involving the two combos.

WWE - Jeff Hardy Poses Before Crazy Pump Off Top of A Steel
WWE - Trish Stratus Wins Her First Women's Title at Survivor series!

WWF Survivor Series 2001 – November 18, 2001
WWF Women’s Championship Six-Pack Challenge

Trish Stratus vs. Lita vs. Jacqueline vs. Ivory vs. Mighty Molly vs. Jazz

This six-way match isn’t particularly memorable (it does feature Jazz making her WWF debut, with only Paul Heyman treating this as a big moment), but it did kick-start Trish Stratus’ dominance of the women’s scene. It all began here for the Queen Of Stratusfaction.

WWE Survivor Series 2002 – November 17, 2002
WWE Championship Match

Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Big Show

This is a match that WWE has barely acknowledged in recent years, since it’d be hard to explain to newer fans that Paul Heyman once betrayed Brock Lesnar, given their permanent on-screen and off-screen alliance. It’s a fun, short match, even if the result was a head-scratcher at the time. (Given the outcome, perhaps Big Show is Mr. Survivor Series?)

WWE Survivor Series 2009 – November 22, 2009
Ten-Man Tag Team Elimination Match

Team Kingston (Kofi Kingston, Christian, MVP, Mark Henry & R-Truth) vs. Team Orton (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, CM Punk & William Regal)

There is then a seven-year gap before the next match, pitting Team Kingston against Team Orton. This is an enjoyable, by-the-numbers Survivors match with a surprise ending, which arguably serves as the highlight of Kofi Kingston’s entire singles career. Can he reach these heights again in the future?

WWE '30 Years of Survivor Series' DVD - Team Orton at Survivor Series 2009

WWE Survivor Series 2010 – November 21, 2010
WWE Divas Championship Handicap Match

LayCool (C) vs. Natalya

Though today’s WWE women’s division is greatly superior to the female scene from the early 2010s, it’s wrong to suggest that it was entirely without value. This bout, while possessing an abrupt ending, sees Natalya overcome the 2-on-1 odds and the challenge of LayCool, with a post-match return thrown in for good measure.

WWE Survivor Series 2011 – November 20, 2011
WWE Divas Championship Lumberjill Match

Beth Phoenix (C) vs. Eve Torres

Another match which seemingly ends just as it gets going, and one which wasn’t referenced in the countdown feature, Beth vs. Eve doesn’t really benefit much from the Lumberjill stipulation (which was often used to bring out every female talent under contract during that era), but it does have a memorable finishing sequence.

WWE Survivor Series 2011 – November 20, 2011
Never Before, Never Again

The Rock & John Cena vs. Awesome Truth

The in-ring return of The Rock lights up Madison Square Garden, and his contributions are the clear highlight of this match. Otherwise, it feels more like a television bout, with Cena and Rock trying to out-do each other ahead of their WrestleMania XXVIII bout. It’s undoubtedly fun to watch, though.

WWE - The Rock & John Hate Being Tag Team Partners, Survivor Series 2011
WWE '30 Years of Survivor Series' DVD - 2013 Traditional Elimination Match

WWE Survivor Series 2013 – November 24, 2013
Ten-Man Tag Team Elimination Match

Rey Mysterio, The Usos & The Brotherhood vs. The Shield & The Real Americans

This match isn’t referenced whatsoever in the countdown section either, which is strange because this marked a genuine milestone in Roman Reigns’ career via his four eliminations and status as the sole survivor, at a time when his dominant displays (as a heel, incidentally) truly impressed the fans.

WWE Survivor Series 2015 – November 22, 2015
WWE Championship Tournament Final Match

Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose

This culminated a hastily-arranged tournament to crown a new WWE Champion, in light of Seth Rollins being sidelined. It’s watchable, but another match on this DVD which could have benefitted from more time. The post-match scenes elevate the contest, though they seem too familiar to the events which closed SummerSlam 2013.

WWE - Triple H Tries to Shake Roman Reigns' Hand as Confetti Falls, Survivor Series 2015
WWE - Brock Lesnar & Goldberg Go Face-to-face, Shocking Survivor Series Moment

WWE Survivor Series 2016 – November 20, 2016
Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg

Finally, we get the shortest match of the DVD, but arguably the most unforgettable WWE bout of 2016. This is due to the shock of a) Goldberg pinning Brock Lesnar, and b) Goldberg pinning Brock Lesnar so decisively. Not everybody was on board with this booking decision, but it’s unquestionably one of the most memorable Survivor Series moments ever.



Survivor Series fever is in the air again, ahead of the battles between RAW and SmackDown Live which will go down on November 19. This “30 YEARS of SURVIVOR SERIES” DVD is a great way of getting excited for the 31st annual extravaganza, combining the most memorable occurrences in the history of the show with a plethora of enjoyable or unforgettable matches.

It’s by no means a comprehensive “Best-Of” from an in-ring standpoint, nor does it provide any insight into the background of the show. But all together it’s a lot of fun to take a trip down memory lane, and as recent editions involving Sting and Goldberg have proven, the event continues to deliver some truly memorable moments. So, while we wait to see what will go down in Houston, I would definitely recommend looking back on WWE’s second-oldest Pay-Per-View event with this DVD collection.

Might we see further Survivor Series history made in a couple of weeks time?

WWE '30 Years of Survivor Series' DVD - Main Menu

Get your copy of WWE’s new “30 YEARS of SURVIVOR SERIES” DVD…

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29 Comments left on this article...

Leave Your Comments


  1. RabidHeat says:

    Basically, to satisfy everyone who visits the site, the set would have to be 15 discs long. They can’t include all of the matches you enjoyed over the years on 3 discs, so they can’t win either way.

  2. Daniel Wissert says:

    First and only Grand Finale Match ever…

  3. Daniel Wissert says:

    The Perfect Team
    Ric Flair, Razor Ramon

  4. Nicolas Hébert says:

    I watched the main feature this morning. Great countdown, but no interview on any position. That’s very disapointing…

  5. Daniel Wissert says:

    No Ultimate Warrior matches?… Really?

    Ultimate Warrior, Legion of Doom, Texas Tornado
    Mr. Perfect, 3 Demolition

  6. ch0cogrounds says:

    Not bad, not the best

  7. Jared kappus says:

    I’m surprised they didn’t add the brothers of destruction vs the Wyatt family

  8. SCSA says:

    When will the #31st (Easter Egg) be revealed?!

  9. Robert emons says:

    Already have it waiting on that new NXT 3 disc set next!

  10. Foley Is Good says:

    This dvd seems to need an extra disc or more content on disc one. Kind of a big gap between 2002 and 2009.

    • RabidHeat says:

      It is a shame, considering there is 2 hours of unused space on Disc 1. This is a horrible trend with WWE releases lately.

      • whut says:

        as mentioned before, if we are being literal there likely are not 2 hours of unused space. because a lot of more recent release consisted of one (or even two) single layer discs (instead of double layer discs which can store more video in a good quality).

        • HustleRectify1 says:

          I Think this project was supposed to be released on blu ray as you can tell from disc 1 and disc 2 dvd runtimes so if you combine those which =4hrs and thats your usual runtime of a 1 disc blu ray, so i think wwe just didnt bother to fill up disc 1 disc space and left it there…

          • Stevie B says:

            WWE just didn’t bother could sum up this release! And when will Jesse Ventura/WWE kiss and make up, all the gaps on matches he called are beyond annoying.

            • RabidHeat says:

              I don’t think they’re even on bad terms; it’s just a legal agreement between them both. Clause in Jesse’s contract from back in the day.

        • RabidHeat says:

          But discs 2 and 3 contain a lot more content than Disc 1, so they’re clearly is unused space on Disc 1.

      • Jared kappus says:


    • Ruthless.Attitude.Eras.4Life says:

      Imo, SS as a ppv event after the introduction of Elimination Chamber in 2002, has been devalued by WWE, for whatever reason.

      From 2003 and up to todays boring product, nothing extraordinary has happen, on par with 2001’s, 1990’s and so many other years great booked events.

      Don’t get me wrong.. here and there there have been excellent matches and groundbreaking moments:

      Shane vs. Kane match from 2003.. RAW vs. Smackdown from 2003 and 2005.. Undertaker vs. Mr. Kennedy from 2006.. CM Punk kicking of his long run as WWE champ in 2011.. and, I guess, from a pop-culture standpoint: the Never before, Never again coalition from 2011 is worth mention, even though I always found the matches with/between Rock and Cena to be awefull.

      I love the old events, but unfortunately, WWE has chosen to completely devaluate their second-oldest concept to something unforgettable..which goes for just about 99.9 % of the product on a whole scale. (everybody remember 1997, 1998, 2001, to name a few..does anyone remember what happend at 2012, 2013, 2014 and so on,..?)

      • RabidHeat says:

        I am a bit confused, because you say that nothing of note happened after 2002 and that WWE devalued the PPV, but then you list a load of noteworthy stuff that did actually happen during that time. Bit contradictory!

      • foley is good says:

        To each their own. I like a lot of the current roster. I have also been watching some 70’s and 80’s wrestling recently. I like a bit of everything wrestling related.

    • HustleRectify1 says:

      if this was released on blu ray most case the blu ray extras would have covered 2003-2008 to fill in the gap that dvd is missing

  11. RabidHeat says:

    The one thing that may have redeemed this set slightly for me and prompted me to pick it up cheap one day would have been if there were at least talking heads during the Countdpwn portion, which would have give it a SLIGHT feel of a documentary. As rubbish and unnecessary as the OMG set was, at least OMG had some talking heads. And as crap as the Royal Rumble documentary was, at least it was an attempt at a documentary. On this set, literally all we have is clips and matches that those of us who have every SvS PPV on DVD already have. Mega pass for me. I even considered getting it to at least have the Goldberg match (or angle, rather) for historical purposes, but I may aswell just get the SvS 2016 PPV DVD if I ever truly want that, and at least that has Team Raw vs. Team SD.

  12. Ruthless.Attitude.Eras.4Life says:

    I am still waiting for my copy of this, so I will not (yet) nor can I obviously, express any opinions on this therefor.

    However, I find it very very strange that problaly the most controversal and most remembered match from the Survivor Series events is not on the match list.

    This is also, if I am not mistaken, the very first time, that a number 1 segment on a countdown themed release is not shown in its entirety.

    And appearently, my favorite Survivor Series event, which is the 1990 edition, is only been giving love via the “31st moment”! 🙁

    Anyway.. looking forward to adding this to collection. 🙂

  13. Bill says:

    I have to say that I was really bummed out about this set. Generally I like the DVD sets I buy and am glad to sort of own/collect them. This DVD set seemed rather half-assed. The countdown seems like a lazy idea to me and not having a host to give background to each segment gives no context to the events/matches. I think a host might have been able to color these segments up a bit and made the presentation better overall.

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