10 – 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. 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.
9 – 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, sure.
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.
8 – The First Time We SMELLLLLLLLLLLED…
“Now there’s a blue-chipper right there!” Jim Ross called from the first night!
The 1996 Survivor Series was headlined by Shawn Michaels vs Psycho Sid for the title and the first matchup of Stone Cold Steve Austin and the returning Bret Hart, but it was one of the traditional Survivor Series matches that would have the most impact on the future of the business.
In one corner we had Crush, Goldust, Jerry Lawler and Hunter Hearst Helmsley taking on Jake Roberts, Marc Mero, Barry Whindam (I refuse to call him The Stalker) and the man making his WWF debut – Rocky Maivia. The son of Rocky Johnson and grandson High Chief Peter Maivia would spend nearly a year showing off his natural talent before transitioning from Rocky Maivia, and that fantastic jericurl, to the much more well-known Rock.
Maivia would be the sole survivor in this match, win 17 championships, become one of the most recognizable names in the wrestling world and then…you know…the regular world.
7 – 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.
6 – The Future Arrives
This was a quote from Michael Cole after the debut – “Those three men may have affected the long term history of the WWE tonight.” Mr. Cole, you had no idea how right you would be!
It was Day 365 of the historic 434 day WWE Championship run for CM Punk. The odds that Punk would hold on to his title past the 2012 Survivor Series seemed insurmountable as The Best in the World went up against both John Cena and Ryback. But, as I just said, this was day 365 out of 434…so obviously the title reign continued. Uh, spoiler alert, I guess.
The “how” Punk retained the title is the story here though. After hitting both Punk and Cena with the Shell Shock, Ryback was attacked by three unknown men dressed in all black. The trio decimated Ryback capped off with what would be called the Triple Powerbomb on the announce table.
Slowly but surely, Cole recognized the three men, and introduced the rookies from NXT to the WWE Universe – Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns…The Shield.
The three men would spend the next year and a half dominating the entire WWE roster until their breakup in the summer of 2014. Since then, all three men have held the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. So, things have been good for The Shield.
5 – 1:26
At WrestleMania 29 in 2013, Triple H defeated Brock Lesnar. The rest of 2013 went by…and 2014…and 2015…and most of 2016 and Lesnar had not been defeated again.
The Beast Incarnate had been built up as this unstoppable force running through every superstar on the roster, including doing the unthinkable and ending The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak. The question was who would be the one to beat him? Being the man to stop the force known as Brock Lesnar would be an amazing boost for a young career!
WCW legend Goldberg had struck a deal to be a part of the WWE2K17 video game as a pre-order bonus playable character. After that deal was made, Goldberg made a deal with Vince and found his way back to WWE programming for the first time in over 12 years. His first match back would be a major match between the two aforementioned powerhouses at the 2016 Survivor Series. Obviously this would be the back and forth battle of strength that their WrestleMania 20 matchup was supposed to be.
The bell rang – Lesnar tried a quick shove to show that he was the alpha male, to which Goldberg shrugged and pushed Lesnar back sending him to the other side of the ring. A minute 26, two spears and a jackhammer later and the wrestling world was in complete awe as The Conqueror had been Conquered! Goldberg was the victor that night, would go on the win the Universal Championship (for some reason) and then drop the belt to Lesnar at this year’s WrestleMania.
4 – “That Car Hit Austin!”
Apparently being driven on your head upside down perfectly vertical can catch up to you at some point. Who knew?
In late 1999, Stone Cold Steve Austin needed to have neck surgery that would require nearly a year of rehab before returning to the ring. So that question came up – how do you remove the biggest star in WWE history from TV for that long?
Someone in that meeting, possibly someone that Austin owed money to, raised their hand and responded with “eh, let’s run his ass over with a car!” And that’s exactly what happened.
The main event was scheduled to be Austin and The Rock challenging Triple H for the WWF Championship. Before the match, The Game lured Austin to the parking lot where a set of headlights kicked on and a car sped up and hit Austin.
This gave us a year-long storyline of who ran over Austin. Turns out it was Rikishi behind the wheel. So that was a bit of a letdown. But then it turned out Rikishi did it for Triple H, which made a lot more sense. So it was ok then.
3 – FINALLY!
“OH MY GOD! IT’S STING!!!!!”
What could possibly be considered the greatest call in Michael Cole’s career set the tone perfectly for the magnitude of what the WWE Universe was finally getting to see!
During its heyday, everyone on the top of the WCW roster was or would be a part of the WWE roster – Flair, Goldberg, the nWo, Luger, Booker T, Steiner, Macho Man…I could go on. Everyone crossed over to the other side and the New York based promotion.
Everyone except for one.
Sting built his career in WCW and stayed loyal to the brand throughout the Monday Night Wars. Once Vince bought out his top competition and fans started to see WCW stars slowly trickly onto Raw and SmackDown, you had to figure it would only be a matter of time that the Stinger would show up as well.
It will happen this WrestleMania…ok next WrestleMania…no really, the next WrestleMania…and so on.
Year after year passed and Sting found himself comfortably in TNA for years. Rumors came and rumors went with no Sting.
Then in 2014, Triple H had taken out Dolph Ziggler which would have given Seth Rollins and Team Authority the win in the main event which would mean that The Authority would remain in power. As The Game brought in a new ref to make the final three count. The lights went out and a familiar face was on the big screen. Sting walked out to an enormous response from the crowd and took out Triple H, setting up their match at next year’s WrestleMania.
It took way too long to happen, but it was more than worth the wait!
2 –THE Debut
In the early 90’s, WWF fans were introduced to a number of characters that had absolutely no chance of any kind of long-tern success in the business. A dentist, a garbage man, disgruntled hockey player to name a few. There was one, though, that made it through the 90’s…and the 00’s…and, well, pretty much the rest of sports entertainment history. And it all started at the 1990 Survivor Series.
Ted DiBiase captained a team with Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, the Honky Tonk Man, and the ever popular mystery partner. DiBiase grabbed the mic, made the introduction, and everything changed. Walking out with his manager Brother Love (which I still just don’t get) was the man who would become arguably the most respected man in sports entertainment both on camera and behind the scenes – The Undertaker.
The Deadman dominated to opposing team of Dusty Rhodes, Koko B Ware and The Hart Foundation. It was clear to see that this man was something to behold, but no one could have predicted just how successful he would end up being.
27 years later, his presence still sends chills down the spines of his opponents, not to mention the crowd still cheers as loud as they can when they hear that familiar bell toll.
1 – “Bret Screwed Bret”
Simply mentioning Survivor in any context will quickly bring your mind back to that night in Montreal.
Everyone knows the story about what happened. If you don’t, or you need a refresher, you can check out a recent post about the Montreal Screwjob by clicking HERE.
The events of that night meant so much more than just a wrestling show. It was the catalyst for the sports entertainment world as we know it now. Gone are the days of keeping the business’ secrets more guarded than the President. No more wresters starting bar fights with guys who say they aren’t tough or that wrestling is fake…and getting fined if they didn’t fight.
The curtain was open; we saw backstage issues playout right in front of our eyes. Bret didn’t want to do business so Vince made him do business. How significant of an event this was is still seen today everytime WWE is in Canada. If Vince is on camera, the crowd is very quick to remind him that “YOU SCREWED BRET! YOU SCREWED BRET! YOU SCREWED BRET!”
When Bret finally came back to WWE in 2010, Shawn Michaels said it best – when you think of Bret and Shawn, don’t think about Montreal, think about Anaheim and the time the two future hall of famers gave us wrestling magic in the 60 minute Iron Man Match at WrestleMania 12.
But who are we kidding, we’re always going to think about Montreal!
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