The Survivor Series was originally 4 elimination matches featuring 2 teams of 5 wrestlers competing against each other. The phrase was “Teams of Five Strive to Survive!” It was a unique concept that worked. It featured match-ups that haven’t been seen before in a team environment. The teams were usually faces vs. heels. The face team members were friends and usually had something in common. The heel team members could be members of a manager’s stable. The Fifth Survivor Series (1991) changed the format a little bit. For the first time a title match was included along with 4 elimination matches. Before that the two top wrestlers had to participate in the elimination matches just like everyone else.
Nasty Boys & Beverly Brothers vs. Rockers & Bushwhackers
This was a tag team elimination match. The Bushwackers were cheesy, way over with the kiddies. I was glad to see them lose. I always liked the Rockers, they were one of my favorite tag teams. There was a miscommunication among the Rockers in the ring causing Shawn to get pinned. Shawn was upset about it and started his heel turn during this match. The Nasty Boys and Mike Beverly took advantage of a 3 on 1 situation to pin Marty at 30 minutes. There was no real finisher, they just pinned him.
The Legion of Doom & Big Bossman vs. Earthquake, Typhoon, & IRS
The main event was Big Bossman and LOD vs. IRS and the Natural Disasters. It is incredible that this was the main event, instead of the Hulk Hogan title match. That must have been because they didn’t want to end the PPV with a heel victory. It is also amazing how over the Bossman was at this time. The crowd just loved him…must have been his theme music. The Road Warriors were called the LOD instead of the Road Warriors, because they wanted the Ultimate Warrior to be the only Warrior in the WWF. But, all the fans knew who they were. There were many “LOD” chants in the arena. LOD wasn’t screwed by the WWF until much later. IRS accidentally hit Typhoon with his briefcase. Then the Natural Disaster began their face turn by turning on IRS and leaving the arena. The Road Warriors teamed up to defeat IRS with a top rope clothesline by Hawk at 16 minutes.
Ric Flair, The Mountie, Ted DiBiase, & Warlord vs. Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Virgil, & Davey Boy Smith
This match featured Bret Hart and his friends. Davey Boy was Bret’s brother-in-law. Piper was Bret’s mentor and Piper supposedly trained Virgil when he was a jobber. It had a screwjob ending where chaos broke out and the ref. disqualified everyone but Ric Flair. It is one of those endings that ruins the whole match and makes you wonder why they did it. Why did they have to drag the match out for 27 minutes just to cut it short?
Sgt. Slaughter, Jim Duggan, Kerry Von Erich, & Tito Santana vs. Col. Mustafa, The Berzerker, Skinner, & Hercules
Duggan led the Patriotic love-fest as all the Americans won. They were trying to redeem Sgt. Slaughter after he had sided with Iraq vs. America earlier that year. I think it’s too late, he was beyond redemption. It also featured Kerry Von Erich as the Texas Tornado. I heard a great deal of hype about him, but didn’t see anything to validate it in this match. With such a bad match, at least they kept it short at 16 minutes.
The Ugly: Watching an uncensored video highlight of Jake’s snake biting the arm of Randy Savage. Yuck! I know that wrestling is fake, but I think somebody forgot to tell the snake that.
Match of the Night:
The Undertaker vs. Hulk Hogan – Title Match
This match was between Hulk Hogan and the Undertaker. This took place exactly one year after the Undertaker made his debut. It was a very good match, Hogan kicked out of a tombstone. But, Ric Flair tossed a chair in the ring, so the Undertaker would tombstone Hogan onto the chair to win the title at 16 minutes. At the time this was considered massive interference and an immediate rematch was ordered. These days it would be considered relatively clean, the ref wouldn’t DQ the Undertaker for something like that. I still can’t understand the logic behind why a wrestler would cost his future opponent the WWF Title. It would be in his own best interest to do the opposite. Had Flair let Hogan keep the title, Flair would have had a title shot within a week. Instead he’d have to wait months to get a title shot.
Unsung Hero:Marty Jannetty . He showed me a lot in his match, including a frankensteiner/hurricanranna before it was a regular move.
My own rating for this PPV is based on how much I enjoyed each of the matches. This PPV had a lot of video and interview segments which I didn’t include in my rating. Examples of PPVs that got high ratings are Survivor Series 96 and Survivor Series 01. These got ratings of 83% and 86%. I didn’t like King of the Ring 02 and gave it 56%.
The final result was a so-so Survivor Series. It had a screwjob ending for the Bret Hart team…a sign of things to come. It had a shocking title win for the Undertaker. But, the commentators spent most of the PPV plugging the next big event, Tuesday in Texas. That would feature one of their hottest feuds ever. The one between Jake “the Snake” Roberts and “Macho Man” Randy Savage. The problem is that both of these wrestlers were pulled from the Survivor Series main event they were supposed to be in. Savage from the Bossman’s team and Roberts from the IRS team. And once they were pulled out, nobody replaced them. This resulted in an unusual 3 on 3 elimination match. If I had paid for it, I might have felt a bit ripped off, but Hogan losing the title would have salvaged the night.
Lesson to Learn: Expect a Title Change:
One thing to expect at the Survivor Series is a big title change. Since 1991, there have been 8 title defenses at the Survivor Series PPV. (The 1998 Survivor Series Tournament does not count, because that was not a title defense, a title change was automatic.) Out of those 8 title matches, 6 times the challenger has won. Only 2 times has the champion kept the belt. Once was Bret Hart who retained vs. Shawn Michaels in 1992. The other time was when Kurt Angle retained vs. the Undertaker in 2000. The champion only has a 25% success rate in the Survivor Series. change. The odds of two champions both retaining at Survivor Series is only 12%. For the 2002 Survivor Series, expect a title Even the much maligned Big Show has a good chance at beating the undefeated Brock Lesnar. Or the never say job, Triple H, can lose his title. Even though he recently defeated 4 of his 5 opponents in high profile matches; Triple H will be eliminated, count on it.
Five Best Survivor Series Teams: Part 2
The Survivor Series is all about Teamwork. Here are the best Survivor Series Teams in the last 8 years. Next column, I’ll cover the best old-school teams of the first 8 years in part one. These are the teams that you would put money on. They may not have the best workrate, but they get the job done. They Survive and that is the name of the game.
The fifth best team is the Radicals from the 2000 Survivor Series. The Radicals were Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, & Perry Saturn. They all came to the WWF from WCW in a package deal. Their debut shook the wrestling world. Currently only Benoit and Guerrero are still wrestling in the WWE. They are both upper-midcarders. At the time it looked like the Radicals would make more of an impact. Malenko was a cruiserweight champion, but the WWF didn’t want to do anything with the cruiserweights. Since he was getting old anyway, he retired. I used to think Saturn had the most potential of all the radicals. He had a scary look with a bald head, muscles, and tattoos everywhere. He had mat wrestling skills evidenced by his Rings of Saturn finisher. He had technical skills with all his suplexes. He had high flying skills. Like Mick Foley, he couldn’t jump high, but he could jump off of very high places. In ECW he was jumping off ceilings and proved his ability to take a crazy bump. Somehow in WWF, his character never clicked. But, in 2000 he made the Radicals a good team as their enforcer.
The fourth best team is from the 1997 Survivor Series led by the Road Warriors. This is the team of The Legion of Doom, Ahmed Johnson, & Ken Shamrock. This was a great team to have in a street fight. These guys are all powerful and a little crazy. Shamrock and Ahmed were both former Intercontinental Champions. LOD proved themselves in WCW streetfights against many teams including Sting and Booker T. This team rocked.
The third best team is from the 1994 Survivor Series led by Shawn Michaels. Teaming up with Shawn was Diesel, Owen Hart, Jim Niedhart, & Jeff Jarrett. This is a team of heels. Diesel was Shawn’s bodyguard at the time(aka Kevin Nash). Owen and Jim “the Anvil” Niedhart were a kind of new Hart Foundation. Jeff Jarrett was still a cocky heel. This team was all heels. It included four IC champions including 3 of the best IC champions ever. Niedhart seems a little out of place, but the rest of his team makes up for it.
The second best team is from the 1995 Survivor Series also led by Shawn Michaels. Teaming with Shawn was Ahmed Johnson, Davey Boy Smith, & Psycho Sid. That year they had a great stipulation where every team would be a “Wild Card” team. This means that each team would include 2 faces and 2 heels. It mixed up the dynamics. On this team, Ahmed was making his debut as Shawn’s friend. Davey Boy and Sid were Shawn’s enemies. It was interesting how they would have to work together. It was a great gimmick. Back then, all four of these men were in their prime. It was this debut that made Ahmed one of the most popular wrestlers in the WWF. These guys would destroy the Radicals.
In a related story, the worst team of all time is from the 1999 Survivor Series. This is a team of The Big Bossman, Prince Albert, Mideon, & Viscera. On the internet, fans have called for these guys to get fired for years. They are called no-talent pieces of crap. In this match all four of them lost to the Big Show. They all got squashed by one guy. They are the worst team of jobbers of all time.
Finally the best team ever comes from the 2001 Survivor Series. Vince McMahon needed to win this match to keep the WWF in business. He proved his genius by assembling the best team ever. This team is Rock, Chris Jericho, Undertaker, Kane, & Big Show. All five of these men were former WWF champions. Three of them were former WCW champions. And they could work in a team environment as well. All five were former WWF tag team champions. Three of them were former WCW tag champions including the Big Show. While Shane McMahon put himself in the match, Vince had the Big Show take his place. Even though the Rock and Jericho didn’t get along, the veteran presence of the Undertaker led the team to the biggest Survivor Series victory ever.
Point to Self I recently won the award for Best October Columns of the month over at Lords of Pain. You can check out my special Survivor Series column at