Thanksgiving is fast approaching. That means a few things will be guaranteed in the near future – turkey on Turkey Day, multiple weekday football games, and the WWE’s answer to the Fall Classic, the Survivor Series.
What started as the Thanksgiving Night Tradition has evolved into a regular Sunday Night pay per view held on Thanksgiving week. The second longest running show in WWE has given us several memorable moments. So to get us ready for the 31st installment of Survivor Series, let’s take a look at the 31 most memorable moments in Survivor Series history.
(Disclaimer – The debut of the Gobbledy Gooker just missed the cut)
31 – Unification Tease
Randy Orton had just defeated Big Show to retain the WWE Championship in the main event of the 2013 Survivor Series after John Cena defeated Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship. The brand split had basically ended over the course of the last few months, so having two main champions really didn’t make any sense anymore.
So Cena would come down to the ring during Orton’s celebration and give us a bit of a tease with a stare down between the two champions. The next month the two would compete at TLC to determine the unified champion. WWE would only have one champion until the brand split returned in the summer of 2016.
30 – RKOing the Host
The 2003 Survivor Series took place in Dallas. During some downtime, Jonathan Coachman made his way down to ringside to interview the owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban. During the interview, Cuban emphatically said that current Raw GM Eric Bischoff would see his team lose to Stone Cold Steve Austin’s team.
Bischoff did not approve and asked Cuban to join him in the ring. After a quick back and forth, Cuban would push Bischoff to the mat. In his celebration though, Randy Orton would sneak up behind the vocal owner and hit Cuban with an RKO. Cuban has taken his share of bumps when WWE rolls through Dallas…impressive.
29 – Holla If Ya Hear Me!
The first brand split took place in 2002. At the Survivor Series, Raw’s Christopher Nowitzki and SmackDown’s Matt Hardy got together to run down the Madison Square Garden crowd.
While doing this, the familiar sirens and red lights hit, and out came the recently signed and current WWE free agent “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner. Freakzilla hadn’t been seen on major TV since WCW closed in 2001. The crowd was electric for the debut and Steiner would find himself in the Raw title picture very soon after… … … and then would basically do nothing until he left in 2004.
28 – Lesnar Gets Screwed
In October 2002, Brock Lesnar successfully defended his WWE Championship against The Undertaker in an incredibly brutal Hell in a Cell match. After that, Big Show challenged Lesnar for the title, a challenge to which Lesnar’s advocate, Paul Heyman, wasn’t too keen on accepting.
Lesnar accepted anyway and the two would meet at Madison Square Garden. In a way to show he was right, Heyman pulled the referee out of the ring after Lesnar hit an incredible F5. This gave Big Show the chance to hit Lesnar with the chokeslam, win the championship, and celebrate with HIS new advocate.
27 – Chuck Norris
Is there anything else that needs to be said?
OK, I’ll say a little more.
Yokozuna beat The Undertake in a Casket Match at the 1994 Royal Rumble after basically all of the heels came out to help. The rematch was set for Survivor Series that year in San Antonio. In order to make sure the same shenanigans didn’t happen again, WWF brought in Chuck Norris to keep the peace. Some tried to test Walker, Texas Ranger but would fail…especially Jeff Jarrett would took a crescent kick to the mouth…Chuck Norris.
26 – Stuff Him In The Box
We have seen a few casket matches in Survivor Series history – 2008 with The Undertaker vs Big Show, and the aforementioned Taker/Yokozuna match to name a few. But it all starts somewhere.
In 1992, The Undertaker ended his feud with Kamala with what was then called a “Coffin Match.” Same general concept only the end of the match would see the Dead Man nail a lid on as opposed to just slamming the lid shut. Creepy meter definitely bumped up a few with it.
25 – Double Tag Switch
The 1989 Survivor Series gave us a 10 tag team elimination match…a lot of people on the apron! During the match though, Demolition’s manager, Mr. Fuji, would pull the rope down with his trademark cane causing Smash to fall to the floor, get knocked out and counted out. Once they realized what happened, Ax and Smash took out their aggression on their now FORMER manager with a body slam on the floor. The move got the crowd crazy and would vault Demolition to the top of the fan-favorite teams.
Obviously having a sensitive side, the Powers of Pain, The Barbarian and The Warlord, would see what happened, help Fuji up and bring him over the their corner. The move did not sit well with the fans and the Powers of Pain would become one of the most hated teams in the WWF, leading to a tag title match at WrestleMania 5.
24 – The Shield Tease
The summer of 2016 saw the return of the brand split as Raw and SmackDown Live were given individual rosters. To see where both brands stood, the Survivor Series that pitted the two shows against each other. The main event was a traditional 5 on 5 elimination match.
It had been over two years since The Shield imploded and all three had gone their separate ways, and were involved in this match – Dean Ambrose for SmackDown Live and Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins for Raw. During the match, Ambrose attacked current teammate, rival and WWE Champion AJ Styles. Ambrose had to be pulled away by security.
Seeing their former Shield brother under duress, Rollins and Reigns took out the security guards, exchanged a meaningful look with Ambrose, and proceeded to give Styles the trademark triple powerbomb and gave the fans a quick nostalgia trip. The Shield…now where did they get their start? Hhmmm… #Foreshaddowing.
23 – The End Of The Alliance
Yes, it was a very condensed version of WCW, but it was still fun to see a WWF vs WCW (and ECW) battle play out for the better part of 2001. It all came to a head with the “Winner Take All” Match in 2001 when Team WWF (The Rock, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, Kane and Big Show) defeated Team Alliance (Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Booker T, Rob Van Dam and Shane McMahon).
The best part about this is that Team Alliance was mostly comprised of WWF guys! Yes, it would have been better if Team WCW was Sting, Goldberg, Ric Flair, Lex Luger and Booker T, but take what you can get.
22 – Sweet Chin Music Outta Nowhere
It seemed like insurmountable odds for WWE Champion John Cena as the main event of the 2009 Survivor Series was a triple threat match between Cena and both members of DX, Triple H and Shawn Michaels.
It didn’t take too long for us to see that it would be more of an even playing field than we thought. The match started as expected with Cena on one side of the ring looking across the ring to both future Hall of Famers. Then, without warning, Michaels turns toward Triple H and hits him with Sweet Chin Music. The look on Cena’s face and the collective gasp of the crowd told the story.
21 – SmackDown Celebration Cut Short
It was the first real battle between Raw and SmackDown after the first roster draft. Randy Orton ended up being the sole survivor and was congratulated by the SmackDown roster in the ring as they hoisted the Legend Killer up on their shoulders. This win came one month after Orton and his dad Cowboy Bob Orton put The Undertaker in a casket and lit it on fire. You know, that old story.
The Deadman apparently did not appreciate this.
The lights went out while Orton was on the shoulders of his SmackDown colleagues. From there, The Undertaker walked out of a flaming casket to let Orton know he did not get the job done. The two would meet the next month at Armageddon inside Hell in a Cell.
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