10 – Meeting The Chamber
It was billed as a combination of Survivor Series, the Royal Rumble and War Games.
In 2002 Survivor Series made its way back to Madison Square Garden. A major show in what is considered to be WWE’s home arena needed something big. It doesn’t get much bigger than tons of steel and chain forged together to create the Elimination Chamber.
Two men start the match and four more are held in pods outside of each corner of the ring released in timed intervals. The World Heavyweight Championship was the carrot at the end of the stick held out to Shawn Michaels, Chris Jerihco, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Kane and current champion Triple H.
Not only was the match concept itself a memorable moment, but the fact that in only his second match after being out of action for over four years, Shawn Michaels became the World Heavyweight Champion!
Even more incredible, and somewhat forgotten a bit, is yet another example of the resolve of Triple H. Everyone knows about how The game tore his quad and still finished the match … … … twice. In the first chamber match, RVD hit the 5-Star Frog Splash on Triple H from the top of one of the pods. Coming down, Van Dam’s leg came across The Game’s throat crushing his trachea. This happened pretty early in the match and he still finished the match. To say that its commendable is an understatement.
9 – It’s Not Who You Think It Is
SmackDown’s main event for the 2008 Survivor Series was a triple threat match between WWE Champion Triple H and his two challengers, Vladimir Kozlov and Jeff Hardy. New broke earlier in the day that Hardy was found laid out in the hotel stairway (a story played out so well that several legit news outlets were picking up the story) so Hardy would not be able to compete in the match.
Triple H and Kozlov went at it one on one and were having pretty good match when SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero hit the stage and exclaimed that the triple threat match was still on “HE’S HERE!!! HE’S HERE!!!”
Only the “HE” that Guerrero was referring to was NOT Hardy, it was the returning Edge who we had not seen since August. Hardy would make his way to the arena to attack Edge but it wasn’t enough as the Ultimate Opportunist would steal the WWE Championship.
8 – Gigantic Sole Survivor
All that the wrestling world was talking about in 1987 was Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. Their match at that year’s WrestleMania is still regarded as the match that propelled WWF to the level that it is now.
After the match though, the fans wanted more. And who could blame them. Vince McMahon is too smart to just give a rematch like that away for free though…and who could blame him? But wait a full year until WrestleMania IV, the next pay per view? Not when there’s money to be had!
So McMahon did what McMahon does – he created. A new event that would be based on tag team elimination matches which would be called “Survivor Series.”
The main event of the first Survivor Series was a five-man teamed captained by The Eighth Wonder of the World and another team captained by the current champion Hogan – it would be the first time that Hulk and Andre were in the ring at the same time since WrestleMania.
Surprisingly, Hogan ended up counted out during the match and was eliminated. It was the 80’s! Hogan was supposed to win, well, everything! Not that night though. In the end, Andre the Giant stood tall (obviously) as the very first main event sole survivor in Survivor Series history.
7 – Never Before – Never Again
The night after WrestleMania 27, the match was made between The Rock and John Cena for WrestleMania 28. The Rock returned to the WWE Universe for the first time in seven years and now we knew when we would get our first Rock match!
But we just couldn’t wait that long!
So in an effort further promote that unprecedented match made a year in advance, The Rock made his official in ring return at Madison Square Garden to team up with his future WrestleMania opponent Cena.
The opponents for the two future Hall of Famers? Of course it was The Miz and R-Truth! … … … ok.
The match went exactly as expected, but The Rock in the ring was all we needed. That, and the post-match Rock Bottom on John Cena to take us from “Never Before – Never Again” right to WrestleMania’s “Once in a Lifetime” encounter!
Well, the “Once in a Lifetime” tagline went to hell when the two had their rematch at WrestleMania 29, so maybe the “Never Again” portion should have been given more thought.
6 – Reigns Wins…And Loses
For the second time in Survivor Series history the vacated WWE Championship would be won in a tournament.
Unlike the 1998 tournament, only the semi-finals and the finals were a part of Survivor Series – the first two rounds were held prior to the event. In the semi’s, Roman Reigns defeated Alberto Del Rio and Dean Ambrose beat Kevin Owens to set up a final matchup of former Shield members. Fitting since the title was vacated due to an injury from the third Shield member, Seth Rollins.
The two put on a great match but in the end it was Reigns that prevailed to win the WWE Championship for the first time in his career. Balloons, confetti and fireworks (not provided by ISIS as was previously feared) filled the Phillips Arena as Reigns celebrated with the title. Triple H came down to congratulate the new champion, which was not very well received as Reigns would take out The Game.
While doing this, Sheamus, in all of his Mad Max beard glory snuck in the ring and hit the Brogue Kick on the unsuspecting champion as soon as Reigns turned around. After this, Sheamus handed his handed his Money in the Bank briefcase to the ref, and would cover Reigns for the 1-2-3. Reigns would be the champion for mere minutes as Sheamus ended the night holding the belt high over his head.