Survivor Series 1990
Look I’m not suggesting this was one of the best in-ring nights of action in the Survivor Series cannon. Lest we forget, it was also the night that the Gobbledy Gooker made his/its debut (and final appearance) in one of the worst segments you’re ever likely to see. And yet I vividly remember the excitement that the idea of this show put into my young brain when I saw the WWF Magazine cover that had the picture of the “final” winners bout on it and as I read the magazine chronicling the card where the winners of each match were entered into a final battle for survival. It sounded and looked like an awesome concept, even if it’s one that has never been repeated. But hell, I enjoyed it and the sights of The Ultimate Warrior teaming with Legion of Doom and Texas Tornado, the debut of The Undertaker and the ongoing Jake Roberts/Rick Martel storyline had me hooked.
Survivor Series 1992
Although this show only had one Survivor tag team match (and a pretty poor one at that) and a number of daft gimmick bouts, I actually have a sneaking fondness for this show. It has a fast-paced opener between the Headshrinkers and High Energy to kick things off, a super-charged tag team bout between Randy Savage & Mr. Perfect and Ric Flair and Razor Ramon in the middle and ended with a fantastic Bret Hart/Shawn Michaels match over the World Title. And ok, no-one ever wants to see Yokozuna Vs Virgil but as daft as the Nightstick Match pitting The Big Bossman against Nailz and the Coffin match pitting The Undertaker against Kamala were they added excitement to proceedings. The whole show just seemed like something different at the time, even if it was disappointing that the traditional elimination matches were cut adrift.
Survivor Series 1995
There was so much that I enjoyed about this show. The opener pitting The Bodydonnas against The Underdogs effectively highlighted the great under-card wrestlers the WWF had at the time, including two of my personal favourites Skip and Hakushi. This was then followed by the All-Japan Women’s match which gave the likes of Aja Kong and Kyoko Inoue a chance to shine. It led nowhere (and wasn’t a patch on what the women produced on their home territory) but it was a great little match, despite the referee’s best attempts to mess it up. Sure Goldust against Bam Bam Bigelow and the Darkside versus The Royals matches weren’t up to much but the “wildcard” match pitting HBK, Ahmed Johnson, Davey Boy Smith and Sid against Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Razor Ramon and Dean Douglas was a very entertaining affair which made great play of the “mixed” face/heel teams. Things ended on a very high note too with Bret Hart dethroning Diesel in an absorbing match (arguably the best of Nash’s career) including early signs of Attitude with Bret being put through a table and Diesel mouthing obscenities I couldn’t possibly repeat here after his loss. This was just a really well rounded card.
Survivor Series 1996
I will admit to a little bias here as I was in New York on the day of this show and met Sunny in MSG that afternoon whilst undertaking a tour of the famous old building. But this was an outstanding night of WWF action. As one of the few WWF fans at the time who had heard of them, I was delighted to see the debut of Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon and once the dead-weight (hello to you Godwinns) has been ejected from the opener, these two put on a great display opposite Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith. The Rock, as the laughable Rocky Maivia, made his debut on this night too, with the full backing of the booking squad given his win, and whilst the final of a trio of Survivors matches featured the fake Razor & Diesel and a way too old Jimmy Snuka, it was cool to see Flash “2 Cold Scorpio” Funk unveil some of his trademark aerials in his debut too. What really made the card were three excellent singles matches. The Undertaker and Mankind had a great hard hitting match, Bret Hart returned to the Federation after six months off to have an excellent match with Stone Cold Steve Austin (which whilst not as “dramatic” as their WM XIII encounter, just about shades it as a technical match for me) and in the main event Shawn Michaels carried Sid to his greatest ever bout, despite the New York crowd booing him out of the building. This was one of those rare shows were virtually everything had a point and reason behind it. Great stuff.
Survivor Series 1998
Another show that eschewed the traditional elimination matches, but boy I do love a good tournament. This one was by no means chock full of five-star classics but the storytelling was superb, specifically the Mankind/Rock double turn that no-one saw coming. It’d probably be “obvious” if done today but the show long story of Mick Foley supposedly being the corporate choice for champion and fan-favourite The Rock having everything obstacle thrown in his way only for that to be turned on its head by Mr. McMahon calling for the bell in an echo of the Montreal Screwjob from the year before was a classic WWF storytelling at it’s peak. It made The Rock, it made Mankind and you can’t say fairer than that can you!