With the Survivor Series just hours away, now seems like the time to look back and reflect on the best that the Survivor Series has offered us. Admittedly, I am partial to the old school 5-on-5 or 4-0n-4 matches, but there have been some great singles matches, namely title matches, that have happened also. Also, vote in the poll at the bottom of the page!
10. Team Kingston: Kofi Kingston, MVP, Mark Henry, Christian, & R-Truth vs. Team Orton: Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes, CM Punk, & William Regal. (2009)Admittedly, this was during my hiatus from watching the warriors of the squared circle, but after watching this match on youtube, damn this was underrated. Take out Mark Henry (which, fortunately for all, happens quickly) and Ted Dibiase, and you have 8 phenominal in-ring wrestlers who put on a helluva show. A 20 minute match for a survivor series match would normally be considered “rushed”, but in doing some research, this was actually a pretty long survivor series match by the current standards. If you’ve never seen this match, definitely worth checking out.
9. Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, British Bulldog & Psycho Sid vs. Owen Hart, Yokozuna, Razor Ramon, & Dean Douglas (1995). 1995 was not a great year for the WWF as WCW was finally starting to make MAJOR waves and this would actually be less than a year away from the full-blown Monday Night Wars that revolutionized professional wrestling for the next 4 years. However, with more and more talent slipping, the WWF was still able to put together this cavalcade of superstars and turned it into one of the better worked matches. I only wish this happened a few years earlier for Yokozuna’s sake. Besides that, this match is surprisingly flawless.
8. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (1996) Match spilling out into the audience? Check. Slingshot into spanish announce table? Check. Spilling over steel barricades? check. This match was brutal. Austin was starting to become popular, he was already “Stone Cold”, but he wasn’t quite the phenomenon that he would later become. I’ll put it to you this way: He wasn’t wearing knee braces yet. This match was actually just a prelude to their classic Wrestlemania 13 match. That was the match that launched Stone Cold into the stratosphere. The cool part about this match? This is a 5 star match and it isn’t even these guys’ best match AGAINST EACH OTHER. Just goes to show how good these two were at working matches together.
7. Team Bischoff: Chris Jericho, Christian, Randy Orton, Scott Steiner and Mark Henry vs. Team Austin: Shawn Michaels, Rob Van Dam, Booker T, Bubba Ray Dudley, and D-Von Dudley (2003) This match kicks a whole lot of ass. Slow beginning but great action after the first couple of minutes. It’s always better when there’s something on the line and at this point in the WWE, it was for Stone Cold’s career, and Austin wasn’t even in the match. A fantastic series of swings really kept this match entertaining. HBK gave it his all and spilled a lot of blood for the event. I have a feeling if I watched this when it first aired, it would have solidified me as a Randy Orton fan, as well. Great match.
6. Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart (1992) Bret Hart was really taking over as the face of the organization as this was only the 2nd Pay-Per-View the WWF had done without Hulk Hogan on the roster. Michaels was not ready to be heavyweight champion yet but would continue to be a great on-and-off Intercontinental Champion for the next year. However, this did showcase the future of the WWF and was a truly great main event. Fun side note, this match would not have been the main event had it not been for the Ultimate Warrior. Originally, the main event was supposed to be Ric Flair & Razor Ramon vs. Randy Savage & The Ultimate Warrior but then the Warrior and McMahon had some disagreements and he split. Mr. Perfect was named the replacement partner and it made for a great storyline because for the past year, Mr. Perfect had been the “executive consultant” for Ric Flair. But in the grand tradition of not giving Curt Hennig his dues, this was pushed to the middle of the card and Hart/Michaels took the Main Event.
5. Undertaker vs. Hulk Hogan (1991) This match was amazing for the following reasons: It was the first non-traditional survivor series match to happen, it took place in Detroit, a good friend of mine was sitting front row for the event and was shown a lot on that pay-per-view, and it was the death of Hulkamania! Hogan lost the title a few times before, but this was the last legitimate time Hogan would hold the WWF title before jumping ship (Nobody counts Wrestlemania 9, and with good reason). This was a very typical Hogan match throughout most of the bout, but when Ric Flair came down to ringside, you knew something was going down. Tombstone on the steel chair, 1-2-3, cut to a million shots of little kids crying because Hulk had to be helped off on a stretcher. This was the first real flirting with a dark tone that the WWF would explore further. Just shortly before this event was the snake bite incident between Jake Roberts and Randy Savage where a full-sized cobra bit into Randy Savage’s arm. Legit. Now, they have Hulkamania go down to the dark force that is The Undertaker. This wasn’t a passing of the torch kind of match, but it was a look into the future of professional wrestling.
4. The Rude Brood: Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect & The Fabulous Rougeaus vs. Roddy’s Rowdies: Roddy Piper, “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka, & The Bushwhackers (1989) . What a great yin/yang matchup. On one hand, you have four of the most entertaining brawlers the industry has ever seen. On the other, you have 4 technically sound Heels who exuded smug arrogance. Roddy’s Rowdies had 2 WWE Hall of Famers, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper & “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka (Piper and Snuka could technically wrestle but were known for their brawling ability) team up with The Bushwhackers (who were more popular than Zach Ryder, but essentially popular for the same reason: they were morons who people liked to mimic and were extremely entertaining). Rude’s Brood featured “Ravishing” Rick Rude and Mr. Perfect (my thoughts on both of these wrestlers should be apparent) pair up with the Rougeau Brothers, a very under-utilized tag team with phenominal athletic ability. This is the match I’ve watched more often than any other match in my entire time as a fan of this drama we love so much. Funny, impressive, dramatic, it had it all. Including the perfect ending!
3. The Powers of Pain , The Rockers, The British Bulldogs, The Hart Foundation, and The Young Stallions vs. Demolition, The Brain Busters , The Bolsheviks , The Fabulous Rougeaus, and The Conquistadors (1988) Now this is what survivor series is all about. In one match you have 20 superstars. 10-on-10 awesomeness. Talk about “never a dull moment”. The WWF did a few of these “tag team” Survivor Series matches and quite frankly, i don’t know why they ever stopped. The kicker to this match was if your partner was eliminated, you were too. There were so many bodies in the ring, it was truly a sight to behold. I think the reason this wouldn’t work now is there aren’t nearly enough tag teams for a match like this to matter. But in this match, you have 5 legendary tag teams (Rockers, Bulldogs, Hart Foundation, Demolition, & Brain Busters) , along with a slue of other talent, going at it for 42 minutes! Add on to that a double heel/face turn, and you have one of the best matches the Survivor Series has ever produced.
2. Team WWF vs. Team Alliance (2001). Team WWF: The Rock, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, Kane, & The Big Show. Team Alliance: Steve Austin, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Shane McMahon, & Kurt Angle 2001 was a bizarre time in the WWF universe. For the first time in about 7 years, there was absolutely no outside threat to the WWF. Other major professional wrestling organizations had been eliminated, boxing was already passe, and MMA wasn’t cool yet (what a wonderful time that was!). So it would have been easy for the WWF to get lazy and just throw out any pre-packaged crap, but instead they took this opportunity to create one of the best story lines ever with WCW/ECW members teaming up to try to take down the machine that is the WWF. This was more than likely the most star-studded survivor series match and it lasted 45 minutes. EVERY wrestler in this match was a Heavyweight Champion besides Shane McMahon who, for being daddy’s boy, was a damn impressive brawler. The best 5-on-5 match there is.
1. Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart (1997) In all honesty, this is not a better wrestling match than their 1992 SS match, but this is no regular sequel. This is the Montreal Screwjob, one of the most controversial endings ever. And with me, infamy gets you everywhere. There isn’t a whole lot to say about this match that hasn’t been well documented everywhere. This was in the heart of the Monday Night Wars and was what caused Bret Hart to go to WCW where he would be greatly under-utilized. While admittedly I’m not the biggest Bret Hart fan, I respect the hell out of him and he gave a lot to the WWF. This was his first curtain call and the one I’ll always remember. This really cleared the way for Austin to totally dominate the popularity. Michaels and DX were a pretty distant 2nd. I consider this to be the closing chapter on the old-school WWF.