Survivor Series Since 1987, (W)WW(F)E has presented Survivor Series, a majour pay-per-view that has seldom

failed to entertain me. Originally conceived as an event where “Teams of five strive to survive”, Survivor Series has changed itself, and a couple of time, changed wrestling forever, but it all started as a great big volley in the battle between Vince and Jim Crockett, the promoter down in Atlanta. Crockett had bet the farm on the first PPV from the NWA(which would later go on to become the WCW). He had been planning it for nearly a year and chose Starrcade 1987 as the first card. Starrcade had been a Thanksgiving tradition, where stars from around the world would descend on an NWA city and have a night of huge matches. Previously, they had been shown on closed circuit throughout the Mid-Atlantic territory, but Vince had started showing wrestling on PPV and making loads of money. When Vince got wind of the idea, he launched a counterstrike: a series of elimination matches called the Survivor Series. Then Vince had his masterstroke: force PPV providers to choose between the NWA show or Vince’s latest genius idea. It worked like a charm: Crockett lost a ton of money, Vince made a ton of money, and less than a year later, the NWA was sold to Turner to save it from collapse. Many thought the show that Vince put on wouldn’t really matter, just holding it had done the trick, but the show proved to be a raving success. The Richfield Coliseum sold 20,000+ seats and the matches were, on average, very good for the WWF in that era. A tag team elimination match that went 37 minutes ranked as the highlight, though a women’s match also made a big impact, as the Jumping Bomb Angels introduced moves that had never been seen by the WWF audience up to that point. The audience, both in the arena and at home, came away satisfied with the event and a tradition was born. The second show did not live up to the previous magic. Injuries forced jobbers like Scott Casey and the Conquistadors onto the show, and it did not help at all. The tag team elimination match did rule, mostly due to the presence of Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, The BrainBusters, but the rest of the show couldn’t compete with the over-all quality of the previous year. They also did a rare double turn, making Demolition, the resident Road Warriors rip-offs into big faces by having the Powers of Pain, the new Road Warriors rip-offs take on Mister Fuji as a manager. Yes, I know it sucks, but I was 13 and thought that was very cool. The third show had little going for it, except for the only Survivor Series appearance of Zeus(aka Tiny Lister). The fourth had two things: An Ultimate Survivor match, where the ones who had made it through the elimination matches would meet, a match eventually won by Hogan and Warrior, and of course, the moment that defined bad ideas in wrestling for nearly a decade, the Gobbledygooker. Hector Guerrero (Brother of Eddy, better known as LazerTron) did a skit with Mean Gene where he popped out of an egg in a Turkey suit. I am not making this up. The Show was decent, but the shadow of the first show overwhelms everything up to this point.

The fifth show started to change things. First of all, Flair had arrived in the Fed and had his first WWF pay-per-view match at SS-V. The match was great, featuring all-time WWF legends Flair, Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Davey Boy Smith and Ted DiBiase. The match had a screwy ending, but was the best thing going in wrestling at the time. The second thing was the first non-elimination match, a WWF World Title defense where Hogan dropped the belt to Undertaker due to Flair’s interference. The match led to Tuesday Night In Texas, one of the worst PPVs ever. The sixth show went almost all the way with the change. There was only one elimination match(a terrible tag match) and a bunch of very lame matches. The show had been built on the main event, a World title match between Shawn Michaels and champion Bret Hart. A great match, and the first of the two Survivor Series matches between these two. The Boston Garden hosted the seventh edition, and turned out an interesting show. The elimination matches returned, and they did have a great match where the Smokey Mountain Wrestling tag champions, The Rock ‘n Roll Express, lost the titles to the Heavenly Bodies in an excellent match that the audience booed. The other matches were awful, but they did start the famous Owen vs Bret Hart feud during one of the elimination matches. The 1994 Survivor Series had a terrible match where Jerry Lawler and midgets defeated Doink and midgets. Somehow, this managed to be terrible, even with the midgets involved. The big news had to be the fine “Throw in the Towel” match between Mr. Bob Backlund and Bret Hart. Owen Hart, continuing the feud with Bret, put on an amazing bit of acting, and convinced Bret’s mother Helen to throw in the towel. The match was great, and the performance by Owen may have been the best of his great career. In 1995, three elimination matches, a world title match, and the debut of GoldDust. One of the matches, a Wild Card match, went very well, and the Woman’s match, featuring several stars of All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling, introduced new moves to the fans, much as the Jumping Bomb Angels had in 1987. The most important moment belonged to the main event. Bret Hart challenged for Diesel’s World Title. Towards the finish, the not yet Big Sexy charged Bret on the ring apron, giving him a big knee and sending him flying through a ringside table. The crowd went nuts, and that marked the beginning of modern hard core wrestling in the WWF. The tenth annual event held three debuts: Flash Funk (aka 2 Cold Scorpio), the Nation of Domination (complete with White Boy Rappers formerly known as PG-13), and the first third generation WWF superstar, Rocky Maivia. Shawn Michaels also dropped the title to Sycho Sid, in what may have been Sid’s best match. Bret Hart, in his first PPV match following a lengthy lay-off, took on Steve Austin, then a rising star, in a match that set the pace for their legendary feud. Montreal, November 9th, 1997. That day will forever be remembered as the date of the double cross, where Vince had Earl Hebner call for the bell when Shawn Michaels had champion Bret Hart in the Sharpshooter. Bret had signed to go to WCW, but wouldn’t

drop the belt in Canada, so Vince went with an old fashioned double-cross to strip him of his belt. Many say that this moment changed the WWF forever, and certainly helped turn Vince into the best heel the world has ever known. 1998 used that formula perfectly. Vince had been parading Mick Foley, in his Mankind guise, as his chosen champion during the tournament that took place over the course of the show, but in the finals, when Mankind took on a then face Rocky, Vince turned on Mankind and had Hebner ring the bell once he put Mick in the sharpshooter. The first event many consider a tragedy against the sport, but the second may have been the best piece of booking that the WWF had ever seen. 1999 was a big year for the WWF, with huge houses and huge feuds bringing the company to the front of the mainstream. The Survivor Series that year was about what you would expect, a decent set of matches, the debut of Kurt Angle, and a three-way title match that didn’t blow me away, but had enough for me to watch again. 2000 didn’t thrill me either, though we did get treated to the Radicals (Chris Benoit, Eddy Guerrero, Perry Saturn, and Dean Malenko) in an elimination match and a no contest between HHH and Steve Austin. 2001: the year that WCW and WWF came together. The end of the Alliance angle took place at Survivor Series, with the Rock standing tall over all, and two WCW belts went away, including the WCW US title, which had been around since 1975. A solid show, as most had been, and this had several moments of history in it. As a total, Survivor Series may have to take a back seat to Wrestlemania as the highlight of the year, but it always produces some good moments. I highly encourage you, gentle reader, to seek out the first edition, as well as the 1995 and 1997 editions. The rest are hit or miss, but I can say you won’t be wasting your time with any of the earlier editions.