THIS month marks 30 years because the first ever Survivor Sequence – which happened on November 26 1987.
Well-known for its tag-team elimination matches, it was the second of WWE’s “massive 4” pay-per-views to come back after WrestleMania – and remains to be an vital occasion to at the present time.
With this yr’s Survivor Sequence going down this Sunday, Solar Sport appears again on the 30 best moments and matches from the occasion’s storied historical past.
Staff Andre v Staff Hogan – Survivor Sequence 1987
Contemplating the lumbering heavyweights concerned – Andre the Big, King Kong Bundy, One Man Gang – the inaugural Survivor Sequence major occasion is a belter.
Hogan’s teammate Bam Bam Bigelow does a lot of the legwork whereas Andre truly defeats the Hulkster’s crew to change into the occasion’s first ever sole survivor.
Kurt Angle’s debut – Survivor Sequence 1999
The Olympic Hero confronted glorified jobber Shawn Stasiak in his first TV match. Hardly a technical traditional, however vastly important contemplating Angle’s legacy.
He already had the all-American heel shtick that might sky rocket him to changing into WWE Champion inside 11 months.
The Grand Finale Survivors Match – Survivor Sequence 1990
In an idea that’s by no means been repeated, the survivors of every elimination match went right into a grand finale.
The surviving babyfaces – Final Warrior, Hulk Hogan, and Tito Santana – took on the surviving heels – Ted DiBiase, Rick Martel, Warlord, Hercules, and Paul Roma.
It actually is not sensible when you think about that in storyline phrases there’s no such factor as babyfaces and heels – however it’s enjoyable to see Hogan and Warrior posing collectively on the finish.
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Bobby Heenan’s commentary – Survivor Series 1993
The critically panned 1993 show – with the All Americans v Foreign Fanatics and famously awful four Doinks – was saved by Heenan’s hilarious banter on commentary.
During a match between the Hart brothers and Shawn Michaels’ Knights, Heenan mercilessly mocked Bret Hart’s parents, Stu and Helen.
He said: “Stu and Helen are going to remake Sleepless In Seattle… it’s going to be called Senile in Seattle.”
The women’s division goes hardcore – Survivor Series 2002
Long before the “women’s evolution”, Trish Stratus paved the way for female WWE superstars.
She defended the title against Victoria in this surprising brutal hardcore match, leagues ahead most of the women’s action WWE peddled in the 2000s.
Victoria got the win with a classic wrestling combo – a fire extinguisher to the face followed by a suplex.
Return of Taker – Survivor Series 2005
This marked Randy Orton’s third year in a row of being his team’s sole survivor – back when he was one of WWE’s most exciting talents.
Getting the win for Team SmackDown, Orton’s celebration was cut short when Undertaker – last seen in a burning casket set alight by Orton – returned for revenge.
Druids brought a casket to ringside, which was struck by lightning before Undertaker emerged to lay out the entire SmackDown roster.
The 20-man elimination match – Survivor Series 1988
The first two Survivor Series events featured a huge matchup – a 10 tag team elimination match, with 20 men in total around the ring.
The 1988 version is the best, featuring the talents of the Hart Foundation, The Rockers (in their PPV debut), the British Bulldogs, and Brain Busters.
Also famous for nonsensical double turn which saw Mr Fuji turn on tag champs Demolition and side with the Powers of Pain.
Cena returns to become World Champion – Survivor Series 2008
In one of John Cena’s near superhuman returns from injury, Cena came back from neck surgery in a matter of months to face Chris Jericho.
Though not a classic, it marked the first time Cena held the Big Gold Belt – and the first title match between Cena and Y2J in several years.
Owen Hart puts on an Oscar-worthy performance – Survivor Series 1994
Bret Hart defended the WWE title against the unhinged Bob Backlund, in a “throw the towel in match” – a nod to how Backlund had lost the belt 11 years before.
British Bulldog was in Bret’s corner and Owen Hart in Backlund’s – but Owen knocked out Bulldog and convinced his mother to throw in Bret’s towel to cost him the title.
It’s one of WWE’s hokiest angles but Owen’s hammy performance – feigning remorse when Bret is trapped in Backlund’s painful chicken wing hold – is a joy to watch.
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Warrior v Weasel – Survivor Series 1989
Ultimate Warrior’s team battled the Heenan Family in the main event – and due to a real-life failed drugs test from Tully Blanchard, Bobby Heenan substituted in the match.
Unfortunately for Heenan, it came down to just him and the Warrior (what are the chances?), with Warrior battering the Brain to get the win.
It’s pure comedy but also proof of how brilliant Heenan was at bumping around the ring and drawing heel heat.
The Rock teams with Cena – Survivor Series 2011
Fifteen years after Rock’s debut at Survivor Series in Madison Square Garden, he returned to a WWE ring in the very same building.
Tagging with Cena to face Miz and R-Truth (what a mismatch that was), Rock proved he still had the stuff between the ropes.
It was really a set up for Rock’s already scheduled match against Cena at WrestleMania, so the Great One hit Cena with a Rock Bottom after they beat Miz and Truth.
The Undertaker is reborn – Survivor Series 1996
When Mankind arrived in WWE, he proved a game changer for the Deadman – giving Undertaker the best matches of his career to that point.
It also transformed Taker from cartoonish zombie to a dark, more menacing character.
This entrance for his match with Mankind – lowering from the ceiling with gothic bat wings – was a defining moment in the evolution on the Phenom.
Team WWE v The Alliance – Survivor Series 2001
The WCW/ECW invasion was one of the biggest creative failures in WWE history, but in culminated in this barnstormer of a match stacked with talent.
On Team WWE was The Rock, Big Show, Taker, Kane and Chris Jericho, facing Steve Austin, Shane McMahon, Kurt Angle, Booker T and Rob Van Dam for the Alliance.
Team WWE got the win when Angle turned babyface and clocked Stone Cold with the WWE title belt.
The Honeymoon is over – Survivor Series 1994
After months of Shawn Michaels clocking his buddy Diesel with accidental Sweet Chin Music, Big Daddy Cool finally snapped.
In the middle of their elimination match, HBK nailed Diesel once again – prompting Diesel to chase Michaels out of the arena.
It’s a classic babyface turn from Diesel and just three nights later he beat Bob Backlund to become WWE Champion.
The original Elimination Chamber – Survivor Series 2002
The Elimination Chamber has lost its shine due to the sheer number of matches of the years, but the concept was ingenious when it was first introduced.
It also features six of WWE’s top stars from the time – Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Kane, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, and Chris Jericho.
The moment belonged to Michaels, who won his first world title since returning from injury. It would also be his last run with a top belt.
Reigns becomes WWE champion (for five minutes) – Survivor Series 2015
Roman Reigns finally became “the guy” when he won a tournament to win the vacant title, defeating his former Shield brother Dean Ambrose in the finals.
Unfortunately for Reigns, Sheamus cashed in his Money in the Bank minutes later to steal the championship.
Sheamus’ stint as champ was such a failure that Reigns regained the belt less than a month later.
The Undertaker kills Hulkamania – Survivor Series 1991
Just one year after his debut, the Deadman faced Hulk Hogan for the title – the first singles match in Survivor Series history.
The match –dubbed the “Gravest Challenge” – ended when Taker Tombstoned Hulk on a steel chair, slipped into the ring by Ric Flair.
Hogan complained for years that the move hurt his neck, which is utter rubbish if you rewatch the footage – his head’s nowhere close to the chair.
The Hulkster would win the belt back from Taker six nights later.
DX v Rated RKO – Survivor Series 2006
Packed with big spots and a clean win for the hugely popular Team DX – HBK, Triple H, The Hardy Boyz, and CM Punk – this was pure wrestling fun.
They finished off Team Rated RKO in just over 10 minutes, finally eliminating co-captains Edge and Randy Orton with a pair of Sweet Chun Musics.
Michaels is on top form but it’s the huge chants for then-fresh faced CM Punk that steal the show – which must have irked Triple H something rotten.
Rocky Maivia debuts – Survivor Series 1996
Peddled by WWE as one of the all-time great moments, the Rock’s first match is certainly significant – if only as a curiosity because of how far off the mark WWE was with him at first.
The ultra-babyface “blue chipper” – complete with big curly locks and traditional islander garb – took his original name from his father Rocky Johnson and grandfather Peter Maivia.
He was the sole survivor of the match, but it would take the fans rejecting him and chanting “Die, Rocky die!” to transform him into the the charismatic mega-star he would become.
The Hounds of Justice arrive – Survivor Series 2012
In the conclusion of a triple threat between WWE Champ CM Punk, John Cena and Ryback, NXT stars The Shield charged into the arena to annihilate Ryback.
It was the start of a red hot push, as The Shield were the hottest new act in years – though fans often forget they were originally aligned with Punk.
One year later Roman Reigns pinned four men to become a sole survivor – the first sign that he was on his way to super stardom.
The Wild Card match – Survivor Series 1995
In another one-time- only concept, WWE put together an elimination match with mixed teams of heels and babyfaces – friends battled friends, and hated rivals teamed together.
Shawn Michaels, Sid, Ahmed Johnson, and British Bulldog faced Owen Hart, Yokozuna, Razor Ramon and Dean Douglas, with HBK, Johnson, and Bulldog emerging as the survivors.
It’s a shame WWE has never repeated the Wild Card match – the creative potential of the concept is huge.
The crowd turns on Shawn – Survivor Series 1996
Just one year later, Shawn Michaels and Sid were still at odds – but by now Shawn was WWE Champion – and pair faced off in Madison Square Garden.
The notoriously harsh MSG crowd turned on the Boy Toy – even cheering when Sid nailed HBK’s 62-year- old mentor with a TV camera and gave him a supposed heart attack.
Michaels – at the height of his tantrum phase was visibly miffed – and lost the belt to Sid in the unexpectedly electric matchup.
Goldberg tames the Beast – Survivor Series 2016
The biggest story in WWE last year was Goldberg returning to WWE after 13 years and demolishing his old foe Brock Lesnar in 86 seconds.
At the time it was hugely controversial – for some an exciting moment, for others a pointless waste of Lesnar’s first loss since ending the Streak.
In hindsight it was the start of a redemption story for both men, leading to an exciting powerhouse match at WrestleMania 33.
The Bret v Shawn rivalry begins – Survivor Series 1992
Five years before the Montreal Screwjob, newly crowned WWE champ Bret Hart and IC champ Shawn Michaels wrestled their first high profile singles match.
Having these two athletic performers main event a PPV in the immediate “post-Hogan” era was a huge progression.
Of course, Hogan would undo that good work when he returned three months later to recapture the title and hog the spotlight again.
Regardless, this a classic encounter between superstars on their way to becoming two of the greatest of all time.
Sting debuts in WWE – Survivor Series 2014
Survivor Series has a long history of debuts, but this is one fans never thought they’d see in WWE – WCW’s biggest franchise player, Sting.
Thirteen years after WCW folded, Sting finally came to WWE, arriving to confront Triple H at the end of the Team Cena v Team Authority match.
As Sting emerges it’s a skin-prickling moment – endlessly rewatchable for the historical significance of seeing Sting and Trips face-to- face.
Bret outsmarts Diesel – Survivor Series 1995
WWE wanted Diesel/Kevin Nash to be the next Hulk Hogan, but his yearlong run as WWE champ was a dud – so it was up to Bret Hart to take the mantle once again.
The match – their third on PPV in 18 months – was the best match of Nash’s career, famous for WWE’s first table spot, as Diesel sent Bret crashing into the Spanish announce desk.
Seemingly overpowered by Diesel, Bret rolled up the 7-footer for the win. Post-match Diesel snapped, jackknifing Bret and laying out referees.
Rock becomes the Corporate Champ – Survivor Series 1998
At the peak of the Attitude Era, WWE told one of its greatest ever stories in the “Deadly Games” title tournament.
The fans had turned the wildly popular Rock babyface – and they were fully behind him as he battled Mankind, supposedly handpicked by Vince McMahon to win the vacant belt.
But in the final seconds, Vince called for the bell when Rock put Mankind the Sharpshooter. A year after Montreal, it was another screwjob – a ruse all along.
Rock turned on “the people” and named himself Corporate Champion – a huge twist ending that fans genuinely didn’t see coming.
The Deadman debuts – Survivor Series 1990
The biggest of all superstar debuts at Survivor Series, Undertaker was the mystery partner on Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Team.
Taker got two pinfalls but was then counted out – and match was more notable for the dynamite exchanges between DiBiase and Bret Hart stole the show.
But with 27 years of hindsight, it’s a hugely important moment – the debut of the greatest character in WWE history.
Bret Hart v Stone Cold – Survivor Series 1996
Though not as well remembered as their WrestleMania 13 match, this is a technical classic – 25 minutes of prime wrestling storytelling from two all-time greats.
Bret had been on hiatus since losing the championship in March and returned to find Steve Austin now running roughshod over WWE.
Bret got the win when he reversed a sleeper attempt into a roll-up, but it was Austin’s first step to becoming the hottest act in wrestling.
The Montreal Screwjob – Survivor Series 1997
It’s not just the biggest moment in the history of Survivor Series – but the biggest moment in the history of professional wrestling.
During the Bret Hart v Shawn Michaels title match, Vince McMahon called for the bell – screwing Bret Hart out of the WWE Championship on live PPV.
After 20 years, WWE still spins the story that Vince didn’t want Bret – who was departing for WCW – showing up in the competition with his top belt.
Due to Bret’s remaining contract and previous copyright lawsuits with WCW never would have happened – but still, it was the peak moment in the WWE v WCW war.
It also turned Vince into the villainous “Mr McMahon” and kick-started the Attitude Era. A moment that changed wrestling forever.
Watch Survivor Series on the WWE Network this Sunday November 19 and pre-order on DVD and Blu-ray now at WWEDVD.co.uk.