It used to be the annual Thanksgiving tradition. Now? It is almost treated as a secondary PPV when it comes to the WWE. Almost every wrestling fan would love to see the traditional Survivor Series matches brought back. But with less than two weeks to go before this year’s Survivor Series, it looks like we might not get any matches. They teased a possible huge Survivor Series match at the end of RAW, but that doesn’t look like it is happening. I mean, lets just look at the card. Say you do a Divas Title, World Title, and WWE Title match. How hard would it be to book three Survivor Series Matches? Not hard at all. CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, Goldust and The Usos vs The Shield and The Wyatt Family -This match is obviously the result of RAW, and would be your solid wrestling match of the night.
Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler, Big E, R-Truth, Tyson Kidd vs Damien Sandow, Curtis Axel, Ryback, Fandango, Wade Barrett -Here’s a good opening match that can showcase your mid-card.
Santino, Prime Time Players, Los Matadores vs 3MB and The Real Americans -Yeah, I hate putting the Real Americans in this match. But I would have them end up being the survivors.
Now these matches don’t comprise all of my list, but they are a fun tradition and a break from the norm when it comes to typical WWE PPVs. But this is also a whole nother topic all together.
We’re here to talk about the greatest Survivor Series matches of all time. There aren’t too many matches that stand out as some of the greatest wrestling matches of all time, but there are definitely some good matches when you look back at Survivor Series.
So below is my list, starting with some honorable mentions that just ended up missing the list.
1988: Powers of Pain, Rockers, Young Stallions, British Bulldogs and Hart Foundation vs Demolition, Los Conquistadors, The Bolsheviks, Brain Busters, and Rougeau Brothers -Just seeing this many people on the apron at one time was a spectacle in and of itself during this time period. The problem with this match was that it was very long, and there was never a lot of smooth action in it because there was CONSTANT tagging in and out of the match. The double turn at the end was somewhat screwed up. The fans didn’t take it the right way at the time.
1991: Ric Flair, Ted DiBiase, The Mountie and The Warlord vs Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, The British Bulldog and Virgil -Solid match in the beginning but the screwed up ending took away from a lot of the match. Why did Ric Flair, a guy on the outside of the ring, get the win? Just an awkward finish because the WWE didn’t want some of these guys taking a pin.
1994 WWF Championship: Bret Hart (c) vs Bob Backlund -I debated with myself for awhile whether to put this or the match I had at #10 on my list. This should really be a 10b and my actual number 10 should be a 10a. They did a good job of playing up the family part of this with Stu and Helen Hart. But the end with Bret Hart in the Crossface Chicken Wing for almost 10 minutes was just a little too long for my liking. That’s what kept it off in the end.
And now on to the Top 10!
10. 2005 Last Man Standing Match: Triple H vs Ric Flair
-This was not a technical masterpiece by any means. But this was an all out brawl. These two had a brutal cage match at Taboo Tuesday. The brutality continued here. If there was one thing Ric Flair was good at late in his career, it was taking a beating like this and getting the fans behind him during it. Triple H played a great bad ass, show no mercy heel here. It was a good end to a feud between these two where you really felt like it was two best friends who became the worst of enemies. They had a good ending sequence as well with Flair getting up from 3 Pedigrees before Triple H finally resorted to using the Sledgehammer.
9. 2001: Team WWF vs Team Alliance
-I’ve seen this match higher on other lists, but my hatred for the entire Invasion angle kind of changes my viewpoint of the match. When compared with the other two Elimination matches on my list, this one doesn’t have the same good spots as others. Sure there was a lot at stake in this match, but the in ring stuff just didn’t match the others. It is a good match, but not as good as you would have hoped. I did like Shane McMahon playing the annoying guy breaking up every pin in the first ten minutes. It was a slightly over-booked ending with Angle coming out and aiding Team WWF after being on The Alliance during the match. That sums up this angle: Too many people switching sides, and what could have been a HUGE match down the line if the WWF played their cards right, instead turned into just a good match. But it didn’t live up to the hype surrounding it.
8. 2002 Elimination Chamber Match For the World Heavyweight Championship
-Whenever there is a new type of match made, the first one tends to be the best for awhile. There’s no doubt that the first Elimination Chamber Match sold the brutality involved with the match. It is something that has been missing from this match for a long time. It is one match, along with Hell In A Cell, that could really use the addition of blood. But this new spectacle match drew the ooos and ahhs from the crowd. It was also, however, somewhat slow moving at times. There were also a couple of missed spots, including RVD’s Frog Splash off the top of a pod. But the match ended with a feel good moment in HBK winning the World Title in his second match back. That’s enough to put this match on the list.
7. 2007 WWE Championship: Randy Orton (c) vs Shawn Michaels
-If you ask me, this was a really underrated feud. When you talk about some of the better programs of HBK’s career, this won’t get brought up. But Michaels and Orton had a serious of good matches, culminating here with this match. The two fought at Cyber Sunday, with Orton getting himself intentially DQ’d. If Orton did that here, he would lose the Title. But if HBK used the Sweet Chin Music, he would be DQ’d. That stipulation was made by Vince McMahon. And what resulted was a solid match with some good psychology. Michaels used a variety of moves, including the Sharpshooter. But in the end, it was the Sweet Chin Music that caused HBK’s downfall. He went to use it and stopped himself, and he walked right into an RKO from Orton. A solid match to cap off a very good feud between these two.
6. 2005: Team RAW vs Team Smackdown
-Can you imagine how good this match would have been if it was not for the untimely passing of Eddie Guerrero? Randy Orton replaced him in this match. But it is matches like these that make you wonder why the WWE doesn’t use this match at Survivor Series more often. There was nothing on the line in this match but bragging rights for the winning match. But the intensity was still high. The elimination of Big Show was good. Shawn Michaels made an awesome comeback (more on these later). It’s a match where if the brand split was around today, it might be just as intense. Even if they just did four on four matches, they would still be fun. The one thing that bothered me during this match was the constant bickering between announcers. Yeah it was the brand split, but it was really annoying about ten minutes into the match.
5. 1992 WWF Championship: Bret Hart (c) vs Shawn Michaels
-The only Survivor Series match people seem to remember between these two is the Montreal Screwjob from 1997. But that match wasn’t that great. Was it one of the most memorable moments in wrestling history? Absolutely. This match, however, is miles better from an in ring perspective. The first half of the match is a lot of long rest holds. The match picked up later. Bret dominated the offense for the last ten minutes, but HBK kicked out of everything Bret threw at him. It was a breakout match for HBK, who showed he can hang with the best the WWF had at the time. This was also a simple time where even near falls after a backdrop or clothesline got the crowd into it. Too bad we will never see that again.
4. 2002 WWE Tag Team Championship: Edge and Rey Mysterio (c) vs Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit vs Los Guerreros
-Everyone likes to talk about the different eras of pro wrestling and talk about which is the best. And when you really think about it, the Smackdown Six era really deserves to be in the discussion. During late 2002, the six men involved in this match put on some of the most entertaining wrestling we have seen in quite some time. Some of the sequences in this match are just plain ridiculous. And the best part is that these six guys made the Tag Team Titles actually seem important. All of these guys are great wrestlers in their own way. Some people will shun or forget about this era because of Chris Benoit. But these guys put on one entertaining fight.
3. 2003: Team Austin vs Team Bischoff
-This one ends up as the top Traditional Survivor Series match on the list. It was the right amount of time and had a good pace to it as far as eliminations went. And it got really good once it got down to Shawn Michaels vs Randy Orton, Christian and Chris Jericho. I don’t know if we will ever see anyone play the underdog as good as Shawn Michaels has. Michaels did a nasty blade job in the match after taking a catapult into the ring post by Christian. But once again, this is a place where the blood added to the drama of the match. Here you see this beat down, bloody Shawn Michaels giving his all against three other guys. This might have ended up higher on my list if not for the ref bump and Batista run-in. As I said, this is everything you want to see in a traditional Survivor Series match, outside of a clean ending.
2. 1995 WWF Championship: Diesel (c) vs Bret Hart
-Sometimes there are things that you just can’t explain. Like the fact that Kevin Nash has great chemistry with Bret Hart. They had a good match at the Royal Rumble earlier in the year, and they had another good one here. The No DQ element was something that was not around much during this time period in the WWF. That alone added to the spectacle of the match. The ending sequence was well done. Diesel pushes Hart off the apron and he goes through the Spanish announce table on the outside (on a side note, could that be the first time that table was broken?). Diesel goes to powerbomb Hart but Hart falls to the ground. Diesel takes his time, and the announcers play up that he is showing sympathy for Bret. Bret then rolls up Diesel to pick up the win. After the match, Diesel snaps and powerbombs Bret and punches multiple referees. While this match may not have been a technical masterpiece, it told a great story throughout.
1. 1996: Steve Austin vs Bret Hart
-Everyone likes to talk about the match these two had at Wrestlemania 13 as the one that launched Austin into stardom. But this match is the one that put him on the match. Austin hung with Bret the entire match. Austin’s popularity was rising at the time, but there might have still been some questions about his work in the ring. This match put any doubt about that to rest. With the match also being Bret’s return match, it had a big fight feel to it. The crowd was into every big move. And I liked the ending of the match. While Austin matched Hart with ever wrestling move along the way, the veteran Hart was able to find one counter Austin wasn’t ready for. When you look back, Austin and Hart were the perfect opponents for each other.
So what’s your take? Agree? Disagree? Feel free to leave your comments down below!
Until Next Time,
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Tags: Booker T, Bret Hart, chris jericho, Eddie Guerrero, edge, kevin nash, Kurt Angle, randy orton, rey mysterio, Ric Flair, Rob Van Dam, shawn michaels, Steve Austin, survivor series, The Rock, triple h, WWE