Throwback Thursday: The Best of WWE Survivor Series
A Thanksgiving week tradition since 1987, the Survivor Series has become the biggest event of the season and one of the most anticipated events of the year. Once centered entirely around tag team elimination matches, the Survivor Series has evolved to become the first stop on the road to WrestleMania.
With the 29th annual Survivor Series coming up on November 22nd, Throwback Thursday on WrestlingDVDNetwork.com takes a look at ten of the biggest, best, and most memorable matches from the 28-year history of Survivor Series, as seen on the WWE Network.
— “5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match” (WATCH)
“Team Andre” w/Bobby Heenan & Slick: Andre the Giant (Team Captain), King Kong Bundy, Rick Rude, Butch Reed, & One Man Gang vs.
“Team Hogan” w/Oliver Humperdink: WWF World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan (Team Captain), Ken Patera, Bam Bam Bigelow, Don Muraco, & Paul Orndorff
WWF Survivor Series 1987 • November 26, 1987
The match that started it all. It was this main event, centered on the first Hogan/Andre showdown since WrestleMania III, that crippled JCP’s first attempt at PPV when McMahon counter-programmed the first Survivor Series against Starrcade ’87. This match set the template for all other Series matches to come and is a classic bout that holds up extremely well nearly 30 years later.
— “10-on-10 Tag Team Survivor Series Elimination Match” (WATCH)
“Team Demolition” w/Mr. Fuji, Bobby Heenan, Slick, & Jimmy Hart: WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition (Team Captains Ax & Smash), The Conquistadors (Uno & Dos), The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard), The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques & Raymond), & The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff & Boris Zhukov) vs.
“Team Powers of Pain”: The Powers of Pain (Team Captains The Warlord & The Barbarian), The Young Stallions (Jim Powers & Paul Roma), The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart), The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty), & The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid)
WWF Survivor Series 1988 • November 24, 1988
While the first 10-on-10 match from Survivor Series ’87 was great, the second (and final) match became an instant classic that even at forty-five minutes is as good as Survivor Series matches get. With at least 7 Hall of Fame tag teams this is one of the most star-studded matches in Series history. This match marked the end of the British Bulldogs in the WWF, they left immediately after this match. Though Davey would return to great success Dynamite Kid never again appeared.
— “4-on-4 Survivor Series Elimination Match” (WATCH)
“Roddy’s Rowdies”: Roddy Piper (Team Captain), Jimmy Snuka, & The Bushwhackers (Luke & Butch) vs.
“Rude’s Brood”: Rick Rude (Team Captain), Mr. Perfect, & The Fabulous Reageaus (Jacques & Raymond)
WWF Survivor Series 1989 • November 23, 1989
This match is a great example of why the the old format of Survivor Series was so beloved by fans around the world. Built on on pre-existing rivalries from top to bottom this match is filled with current and future Hall of Famers who delivered a picture-perfect Survivor Series match.
— WWF World Heavyweight Championship – “No Count out, No Disqualification, No Time Limit Match” (WATCH)
Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Diesel(c)
WWF Survivor Series 1995 • November 19, 1995
Bret Hart and Diesel worked two prior WWF title matches ending in either a disqualification finish (KOTR ’94) or a draw (Royal Rumble ’95). Their third and final meeting is not only the best of the three but may well be the best match of Kevin Nash’s entire career.
— Finals of the “Deadly Game” Tournament for the Vacant WWF Championship (WATCH)
Mankind vs. The Rock
WWF Survivor Series 1998: Deadly Game • November 15, 1998
On historical impact alone there are few matches in the history of Survivor Series as important as this one. This launched The Rock into unparalleled super-stardom, established Mick Foley as legitimate main eventer, and set in motion the events that would turn the tide in the Monday Night Wars once and for all.
— “5-on-5 ‘Winner Take All’ Survivor Series Elimination Match” (WATCH)
“Team WWF”: WCW Champion The Rock (Team Captain), Kane, The Big Show, The Undertaker, & Chris Jericho vs.
“The Alliance”: WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin (Team Captain), Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Booker T, & Shane McMahon
WWF Survivor Series 2001: Winner Take All! • November 18, 2001
While the “Invasion” angle of 2001 failed to live up to expectations it did produce one of the greatest Survivor Series matches of all-time. While “The Alliance” team featured more WWF stars than WCW or ECW this one match, packed with Hall of Famers, produced more drama and excitement than nearly all of the “Invasion” angle before it. With this win Vince McMahon said one last goodbye to WCW and ECW (for the moment) and put the Monday Night Wars to bed.
— World Heavyweight Championship – “Elimination Chamber Match” (WATCH)
Kane vs. Booker T vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho vs. Triple H(c) w/Ric Flair
WWE Survivor Series 2002 • November 17, 2002
The brain child of Triple H, the first “Elimination Chamber” in WWE history came on the heels of arguably the best “Hell in a Cell” match to date between Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker. Marking the full-time return of Shawn Michaels this match was built around nostalgia and emotion as HBK won his first World title since Nov. 9, 1997 in one of Survivor Series‘ greatest moments.
— “5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match”: If Team Bischoff Wins Steve Austin Must Retire (WATCH)
“Team Bischoff” w/Eric Bichoff, Teddy Long, & Stacy Keibler: Christian, Chris Jericho, Scott Steiner, Mark Henry, & Randy Orton vs.
“Team Austin” w/Stone Cold Steve Austin: Booker T, Shawn Michaels, Rob Van Dam, & The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von)
WWE Survivor Series 2003 • November 16, 2003
After three years of sub-par elimination matches this match was a return to form for the much neglected format. The story here was the behind the scenes gripe many of the talent had about putting a retired Steve Austin over at the expense of their own careers. This epic match, yet another loaded with Hall of Famers, marked the end of Austin’s full-time career with WWE.
— “5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match” (WATCH)
“Team Morrison”: John Morrison (Team Captain), Shelton Benjamin, Evan Bourne, Fit Finlay, & Matt Hardy vs.
“Team Miz”: The Miz (Team Captain), Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Jack Swagger, & Sheamus
WWE Survivor Series 2009 • November 22, 2009
Billed as a battle of the future of the WWE this classic Survivor Series match could have taken place in the event’s heyday. Though only four of the ten men are with WWE today this match ranks near the top as one of the best matches in the event’s history.
— WWE Championship (WATCH)
CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio(c) w/Ricardo Rodriguez
WWE Survivor Series 2011: Never Before, Never Again • November 20, 2011
Del Rio cashed in his MITB contract on Punk at SummerSlam to win the WWE title before losing it to John Cena one month later at Night of Champions. Del Rio recaptured the title in the first-ever “Triple Threat Hell in a Cell” in October by pinning CM Punk, setting up this singles rematch with Punk. This instant classic, considered by many to be one of the best title match in Series history, ended Del Rio’s second reign as Champion and marked the start of Punk’s record-setting reign (Punk’s second and last) of 434 days that launched Punk from internet darling to WWE legend.
From an event that revolutionized PPV wrestling to nearly being canceled years ago, the Survivor Series remains, like the Royal Rumble, one of the most anticipated events of the year. And if the history of the Survivor Series, like the WWE, teaches us anything it’s that the best is yet to come.
That’s it for TBT on WDN this week — thank you for reading! Are you a WWE Network subscriber? If so, check out the matches, see them for yourself, and let us know what you think below. And don’t forget to fire up the Network on Nov. 22nd at 8pm for Survivor Series 2015.
Until next week, see ya at ringside!
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