Survivor Series 1988
Talk about non-stop, bell to bell action. The scorching hot 10 team elimination match featuring Demolition, Anderson & Blanchard, The Harts, The Bulldogs & The Rockers would be reason enough to include this gem of a show and that’s before we even get to Jake The Snake’s battle to overcome the odds after his team was decimated by Andre The Giant, Rick Rude & Mr Perfect. Capped off by a super-heated main event which sowed the seeds for the Hogan/Savage dispute and also featured superb work from Ted DiBiase, The Big Bossman and Haku and you’ve got yourself a truly memorable show. Not much more to say really. Possibly the best Survivor Series ever?
Survivor Series 1992
The first time the WWF deviated from the tried and tested tag team elimination match format, actually presenting a damn good wrestling show as a result. Bret and Shawn excelled themselves in the top match but the undercard also saw neat payoffs to several long-running feuds. The advertised main event of Savage & Warrior vs Flair & Razor was scrapped after Warrior’s walk out but ultimately saved from ruin thanks to some truly stellar last minute tinkering in the days before the pay per view. Within the duration of one episode of Prime Time Wrestling, The WWF did a masterful swerve job by having Savage convince Flair’s “Executive Consultant” Mr Perfect that he was being kept on the sidelines so that he wouldn’t pose a threat to The Nature Boy. As the episode progressed, tensions between Perfect, Bobby Heenan and Flair grew to the point that Hennig agreed to be Savage’s partner despite not liking him, in order to “prove a point” to Flair, Ramon and indeed Heenan. All five of these guys, but especially Bobby The Brain, deserved immense credit for building up this brilliant, logical storyline within such a criminally short time span. You just don’t see that kind of thing anymore, sadly.
Survivor Series 1995
What a show this was. From The Fink opening the show proclaiming “Ladies and gentlemen… Mr. Perfect” as Curt Hennig returned to take his seat on commentary, through the super-slick Underdogs opener and a welcome Women’s (not Divas!) division match featuring the AJW gals before the awesome wild-card match saw enemies team up and stable-mates square off as opponents. Headlined by a genuine match of the year candidate which saw Bret Hart break new ground in the WWF by crashing through the commentary table for the first time ever en route to unseating Diesel as WWF Champion, this show definitely marked a turning point in WWF history. Gone were the abundance of pointless characters which were ever-present throughout the early 90’s and replaced by a more grungy, back-to-basics show, at least as much as one could expect back then. Indeed, during the last weeks of 1995 and throughout 1996, we’d see the influx of new, fresh names who became the backbone of The Attitude area.
Survivor Series 2002
Definitely an underrated show this. 2002’s pay per view stands out because in a way it revamped the event thanks to an eclectic array of matches each featuring different concepts yet with the underlying theme still one of “survival”. Opening with a 6-man tag team tables match which a put a quirky new spin on the elimination match format, and followed by an elimination 3-way dance for the tag straps, one got the impression that slightly more thought had gone into the arrangement of the event, rather than just presenting us with the same old card of singles matches with a “traditional” survivors bout thrown in for good measure. This show also marked the debut of what would become one of the WWE’s most popular concept matches, The Elimination Chamber. All this combined to give the show more of an appeal for the first time in years and unquestionably gave it an edge over the other more pedestrian pay per views of 2002 when it came to deciding the card of the year.
Survivor Series 2003
After 2002’s quirky mix of match concepts and ideas, in 2003 we were presented with another classic show yet with a more traditional Survivor Series feel. One of more substance than any other edition between 1997-2001. Opening with a cracking 5-on-5 between Angle and Lesnar’s squads and featuring a second traditional survivors match as Stone Cold Steve Austin and Eric Bischoff sent out their respective five-man teams, to battle on their behalf to determine who survived as the sole GM of Raw, before we were presented with ambulance and buried alive matches, as Kane & The Undertaker each battled male members of the McMahon family in these largely forgotten special stipulation matches, yet once again with the emphasis on “survival”.
….and lastly, an honourable mention: Survivor Series 2006
For featuring the best Survivor Series elimination matches of the last ten years, as the fan boy wet-dream team of D-X, CM Punk and The Hardys got a clean sweep over their opposition, with John Cena & The Big Show updating the Hogan/Andre match from 1987’s event by captaining strangely eclectic old-school style teams featuring the likes of Sabu, RVD, Kane, Umaga and Finlay.