Sorry for the lateness. I was planning on finishing this baby up yesterday, but I was exhausted. Exhausted from MARKING! Why was I marking again? Oh yeah…
Right! Miz winning the title. Good times. But I’m sure I’ll be forgiven for finishing this list off a couple days late. Posting it on Thanksgiving sort of works, right? You’ll forgive me, won’t you, Miz Title Win Reaction Girl?
Oh. Never mind, then.
As for the PPV? I thought the first half was brilliant and the second half was below average. The Kane vs. Edge match especially. That’s a shame, since I like the angle.
Now for the top three Survivor Series!
3) SURVIVOR SERIES 2001
Date: November 18, 2001
Era: Crossover Era
Location: Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina
Known as: WWF vs. WCW/ECW
Elimination Matches: 1 out of 7
The 01 Series is almost a paradox. It comes out of what many would consider to be the all-time worst storyline in wrestling history, WWF vs. WCW/ECW. The once-dream match angle became eight months of missteps followed by more missteps. While it did have some stuff going for it, the whole experiment felt like two steps forward, four steps back. Yet here we are at the final show of the rivalry and we get a seriously good PPV out of it. After all the warring between the McMahons, the final decision in the rivalry will be settled as Team WWF takes on the Alliance, made up of WCW and ECW wrestlers… in theory. The WCW/ECW side is made up of Rob Van Dam, Booker T, Kurt Angle, Steve Austin and Shane McMahon. In other words, an ECW guy, a WCW guy and three WWF heels.
“THE END IS HERE!” plays in a Doors-style musical montage of the history of the WWF, including the various logos. It’s awesome. If you were to watch this without knowing the context of the lead-up, you’d almost be able to accept that this could very well be the WWF’s doom.
Most of the backstage stuff is based around the Alliance. They confront Austin over Vince’s insinuation that he’s a turncoat. Angle has to comfort Stephanie McMahon, who’s afraid of losing WCW and being forced to become “a regular person”. Booker T and Shane discuss the issue as well. Prior to his match, Test is shown macking on Stacy Kiebler and then after the match attacks Scotty 2 Hotty in the hallway (more details on that later). As Lita and Jeff get ready for the big tag cage match, Matt gets closer and closer to his heel turn by acting outright strange around them. Vince discusses his strategies with Linda all based around the phrase “shit happens”, only to be interrupted by a confronting William Regal. Commissioner Mick Foley is given the job of appearing at WWF NY, which he proceeds to shit on in an attempt to play himself as bitter over how he’s been treated.
Then there’s Vince McMahon’s pep talk where the Rock really needs to pee.
Love the pop for Gorilla Monsoon.
Our opener is Christian defending the European Championship against Al Snow and what an opener it is. Christian starts it up with a fantastic promo and Al Snow enters to the Tough Enough theme. Eh… stick to the “What do we want?!” theme. The two have absolutely terrific chemistry and lead to many great reversals. There’s no slowing down here and the crowd is absolutely hot. The only screw-up here is Jim Ross, announcing an inverted DDT as the Unprettier and having to correct himself later when he sees an actual Unprettier. Christian makes the mistake of taunting and gets rolled up for a two-count. Snow does a top-rope crossbody and Christian rolls with it into a pin, also getting a two-count. Snow lands a Snow Plow, but Christian gets his foot on the ropes. Shortly after, he’s able to get Snow with the aforementioned Unprettier and retains. I really can’t remember an Al Snow match that’s looked this good off the top of my head.
William Regal vs. Tajiri is a very brief match, but at least it looks nice for what it is. Their styles work well clashed together, starting the match with a sequence of Tajiri kicks met with Regal blocks. It becomes a bit of a clusterfuck for a bit, but everything’s so fast-paced, it doesn’t seem to really matter. Tajiri gets some offense in that busts Regal’s nose. If you know anything about Regal, giving him a bloody nose is like signing a death warrant. Tajiri misses a kick and gets powerbombed into a pin. Torrie Wilson runs in to check on her boyfriend Tajiri and is greeted with a powerbomb from Regal. A moment later, Regal decides not to leave quite yet and gives her one more for good measure.
Edge and Test battle it out in a match that unifies the US Championship and Intercontinental Championship. This way, if the winner of the match happens to be on the losing faction, they’ll still be granted immunity from being fired once all is said and done. The match is merely okay. They don’t exactly stink up the ring, but it’s mostly Test in control while the commentators make zero effort in trying to make us care about the match. They’re too busy discussing other matters than the big unification PPV match going on in front of them. It gets a lot more interesting later in the match, including Test attempting a move off the top rope and getting dropkicked on the way down. Test tries the Pumphandle Slam, to which Edge slides out behind him and hits his Edge-o-Matic. The ending plays on the idea that the two competitors are too tough for each other’s moves. They keep reversing finishers into their own and repeatedly fail to get the full three count. Two Spears and a Pumphandle Slam later, Edge goes for the Impaler DDT, which transitions into Test going for the Full Nelson Powerbomb. Edge blocks it and turns it into a roll-up, getting the pin and uniting the titles under his name. Really would have helped if JR and Heyman tried to focus.
The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff) take on the Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) in a Cage Match to unify the WWF and WCW Tag Team Championships. The Hardy/Dudley stuff got so run into the ground over the years, but this is definitely one of their best outings. The four men involved take to the cage dynamic and make it theirs. It starts off mostly pretty basic, including a very early hot tag to Jeff after the Dudleys show control for a spell. It starts to really go somewhere when the Hardy brothers hit two Poetry in Motions and then start climbing out of the ring. The Dudleys go after them, leading to Matt leg-sweeping D-Von off the top rope while Bubba gives the Bubba Bomb to Jeff from the same height. There’s a lot of great innovation in here. Matt goes for a high-risk move, gets caught and then gets spiked into the cage. Jeff is whipped towards the cage, jumps up, tries to climb, gets caught by Bubba and is hit with the Doomsday Device. Matt stands in-between the ropes and the cage and gets squashed by both Dudleys one at a time. We get high flying moves, missed top-rope maneuvers and the usual trademark holds. Outside of the ring, Stacy Keibler seduces the referee and is able to slide a table in. The Dudleys try the Dudley Death Drop on Jeff, but the Hardys prevent it with a Spear from Matt and a DDT reversal from Jeff. The two are fully able to escape the cage and get to the top. Though Matt escapes, Jeff decides he’d rather Swanton Bubba through a table. He goes for it and MISSES! Bubba rolled out of the way at the last second, so Jeff and the table are left shattered. Easy pin on Jeff, adding more to the rift between he and Matt.
There’s an Immunity Battle Royal featuring Billy Gunn, Bradshaw, Farooq, Lance Storm, Billy Kidman, Diamond Dallas Page, Albert, Perry Saturn, Raven, Chuck Palumbo, Crash Holly, Justin Credible, Shawn Stasiak, Steven Richards, Tommy Dreamer, the Hurricane, Spike Dudley, Funaki and Test. The idea is that whoever wins will be guaranteed a job for a year no matter which side gains control of the company by the end of the night. That basically tells us right there who is going to win the main event if it wasn’t obvious enough. Backstage, Test – fresh off his loss against Edge – finds Scotty 2 Hotty and destroys him, stealing his spot in the battle royal.
The moment the match begins, Shawn Stasiak runs headfirst at Bradshaw, misses and goes flying out. Albert pulls Test out of the ring and tries to tear him apart, which is mostly revenge for Scotty (Albert’s tag partner) but with some nice callback for the old T ‘n’ A days. Now, it’s a real testament to how good this show is when you consider that this is my least favorite match of the night and I LOVE battle royals. It isn’t bad, but it’s not the most energetic showing. In fact, I think part of it is that none of the guys in the match rank high enough for me to give a damn outside of DDP. Tazz walks out and enters himself into the match, soon followed by Chavo Guerrero and Hugh Morris. Tazz takes a break from being a badass to yell at Paul Heyman in the commentary booth. This is a dumb move and gets him tossed by Billy Gunn from behind. With nothing to lose, Tazz briefly goes after Paul anyway. Bradshaw gets a couple impressive-looking eliminations, such as taking out Hurricane with the Clothesline from Hell and throwing out Kidman with the Fall Away Slam. The final four are Test, Billy Gunn, Bradshaw and Lance Storm. Test sees Storm and Bradshaw grappling, so he takes advantage by throwing them both out at the same time. He misses a boot to Gunn’s face, evades the Fameasser, lands the boot and knocks Gunn right out of the ring. Yeah, this one was pretty obvious from the start.
The vacant WWF Women’s Championship is defended with Trish Stratus vs. Jacqueline vs. Lita vs. Ivory vs. Molly Holly vs. Jazz. Jazz is a surprise entrant, getting all sorts of shocked hype from Heyman. While a short match all in all, it really is well put together. Jazz destroys Lita early on with a running Blackhole Slam and it gets better from there. It’s fast-paced and everyone knows what they’re doing. Jacqueline tries to team with Lita and pull off the Poetry in Motion, but turns on her and lays her out with a clothesline. Right after, she turns around and falls prey to the Molly Go Round. This is the beginning for a series of finishers begetting other finishers. Chick Kicks, X-Factors (Ivory), Twist of Fate and so on. In the end, Ivory tries a back suplex on Trish. Trish flips behind her, grabs her and knocks her out with the Stratusfaction. Trish becomes the new champion.
Now for the main event, where we have Team WWF (The Rock, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, Kane and Big Show) vs. Team WCW/ECW (Shane McMahon, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Booker T and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin). What I absolutely love about this is that they would regularly show the different locker rooms watching the match. In the WCW locker room, it doesn’t matter whether the wrestlers are excited, distraught or tense. Diamond Dallas Page stands in the middle of the crowd with a huge smile on his face and wide eyes. He’s like that guy who would show up in the background all the time on Freakazoid. Austin still gets a pop coming to the ring, albeit initially. Lots of time dedicated to these intros.
It starts off with Rock vs. Austin. Rock pulls a couple pages out of Austin’s book by hitting the Lou Thesz Press and flipping him off before dropping the elbow. Jericho vs. RVD takes over for a sec and they definitely have some fantastic chemistry together. RVD tries a hurricanrana and it’s reversed into the Walls of Jericho. Shane McMahon runs in to break it up. The story of the opening minutes is that Team WWF keeps pressing the advantage while Shane keeps running in to prevent every potential fall. Undertaker uses Old School twice – shockingly with no reversals – and tags in Big Show. Show is in great shape here, but gets taken out first when a chokeslam attempt on Angle is turned into an Angle Slam, Booker T hits the Scissor Kick, does the Spineroonie, RVD does the 5-Star Frog Splash and Shane McMahon finishes him off with an elbow from the top rope. Shane dances around in celebration, not noticing that the Rock is standing right behind him. This leads to Shane enduring a chokeslam from Kane, a Tombstone from Undertaker, a Lionsault from Jericho and then being pinned.
RVD hits a 5-Star Frog Splash on Kane, but shortly after, Kane reaches up and grabs him by the throat. Booker surprises Kane with a sidekick, the ring fills up and amongst all the confusion, RVD nails a sidekick from the top rope and pins Kane. Undertaker fights off the Alliance the best he can and even does a cool spot where all four heels are in the corners and Undertaker clotheslines them one at a time. Booker T runs in with a chair, it gets kicked into his face, Austin gets Undertaker with a surprise Stunner and Angle pins him. Now it’s two against four, but not for long. Booker is knocked into Angle, who is standing on the apron, and Rock rolls up Booker for a surprise pin. More Jericho/RVD wrestling follows, ending with Jericho lifting his knees to block RVD’s Split-Leg Moonsault. Jericho follows up with the Breakdown (Skull-Crushing Finale) and pins him. The Rock is taken out during a brawl, making Jericho the lone WWF guy until Rock can recover. There’s a botch in there involving Austin and Jericho running into each other. Jericho briefly gets Angle in the Ankle Lock, but Angle gets out of it and Jericho finds himself as the face in peril. For the first time in a half hour, the match slows down. Goddamn, this is a good fucking match.
Rock gets tagged in, beats on Angle and puts him in a Sharpshooter. Angle taps immediately, making Heyman on commentary question why he tapped so quickly. Jericho tags in and tries rolling up Austin. It’s turned into some unique counter-roll-up by Austin and Jericho is eliminated. It’s one-on-one, but Jericho angrily hits Rock with the Breakdown. Undertaker comes out to confront him, but Jericho just doesn’t give a damn. Rock is tossed out of the ring and there’s some outside brawling before Austin drags him back in and puts him in the Sharpshooter. Rock refuses to tap and Heyman insists Hebner rules it a submission anyway because, “That never stopped him before!” Rock gets the ropes and the hold is broken. Austin punishes the Rock by hitting him with the championship belt and two more Sharpshooter attempts. He gets him with a low blow and somehow Rock is able to surprise him with a Stunner. Both go down. WCW Referee Nick Patrick attacks Earl Hebner and pulls him out of the ring. Though Rock gets a couple licks in, Austin gives him a taste of his own medicine with a Rock Bottom. Rock kicks out. Austin hits Patrick and pulls Hebner in. Austin is shoved into Hebner, reverses a Rock Bottom into a Stunner, but can’t make the pin without a conscious referee. All of the sudden, Kurt Angle runs in, hits Austin in the face with the belt, Rock follows up with a Rock Bottom and Austin is pinned. WWF wins, Vince comes out to pose out of victory and in the WCW locker room, DDP is STILL smiling, albeit nervously as Stephanie McMahon cries and ruins it for us by reminding us that she’s involved in the story.
It’s a really good match, marred only by an ending that doesn’t exactly give us a decisive winner when we really should have had one. You’d think Vince would have wanted that, considering the entire angle was about him pissing on the ashes of WCW. Still, the PPV is solid as a rock and when watched on its own, almost makes you forgive the entire WWF vs. WCW angle.
2) SURVIVOR SERIES 1988
Date: November 24, 1988
Era: Hogan Era
Location: Richfield Coliseum in Richfield, Ohio
Known as: That one with the Demolition/Powers of Pain double-turn
Elimination Matches: 4 out of 4
I mentioned that Survivor Series 1989 was the most forgettable of the PPV’s 23 years, but 88 does give it a run for its money. While it is forgettable, it really shouldn’t be. This is one that surprised me by being so damn good, even when you have a three-hour show with only four matches. I guess the reason it’s so forgettable in the long run is that nothing is happening in the storylines yet. Hogan and Savage have finally wiped their hands of the feud with the Mega Bucks and are moving on to starting up a feud with Big Boss Man and Akeem the African Dream. The Powers of Pain have arrived as heroes to dethrone the heel champions Demolition. The Ultimate Warrior has recently won the Intercontinental Championship from Honky Tonk Man and there’s still some residue there. Then you have Jake Roberts finding himself in a feud with Andre the Giant, almost like the endboss of the Heenan Family. So really, not much is going on, but the results are far better than expected.
I feel I have to mention Jesse Ventura is dressed like a pilgrim. He does that in all the early Survivor Series, but I don’t think I’ve ever brought it up. He’d get all dressed up and then act offended when Monsoon calls him Jesse “The Pilgrim” Ventura.
So promos. Bad News Brown follows his match by doing a hilarious interview backstage that is almost good, but completely throws me off in the way that he keeps messing up his lines and spends most of the time pointing and staring at the wrong camera. After the big 20-man tag, Fuji gives an angry rant about how ungrateful Demolition are while the Powers of Pain refuse to comment on the goings on in their match. The Heenan Family has a fairly generic promo, but Andre’s just standing there, looking completely fucking creepy. For Boss Man’s team, it seems he hasn’t quite hit his stride in how to talk well. Luckily we have the Mega Powers, which is made up of guys who are all fully capable of cutting a crazy promo. Putting them together is like summoning Captain Planet, only with Elizabeth awkwardly frightened.
There’s some hype in there for the Royal Rumble, complete with a jerky animated graphic of 30 silhouettes fighting it out in a ring.
The opening contest is the Ultimate Warrior, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, the Blue Blazer, Sam Houston and “Jumping” Jim Brunzell vs. the Honky Tonk Man, “The Outlaw” Ron Bass, “Dangerous” Danny Davis, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Bad News Brown. Former partners Valentine and Beefcake fight it out with Valentine coming off as superior. He tags in Davis and just like that, Beefcake grabs him and puts him to sleep with the sleeper hold. Dude is out just a little over a minute into the match. Then it’s some good early interactions as all the different faces work over Valentine. Eventually, he’s able to slip away and tag in Bad News Brown, who completely bullies around Brunzell. Since Brunzell is only at this show to replace Don Muraco, who left the company, Brown handily puts him away with the Ghetto Blaster. He and Valentine work over Sam Houston with Brown holding him up so Valentine can elbow him in the head. Houston, as I’m sure you can already tell, moves out of the way so Brown gets nailed. Since he’s already antisocial, this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and he angrily storms out of the ring and leaves his team. It makes perfect sense, it keeps his heat and it’s only unfortunate that they had to do the exact same spot the year later. It’s also a shame that we don’t get any interaction between Warrior and Brown. That’s a feud I would’ve liked.
The action continues with everyone looking great. Houston tries a Monkey Flip on Bass and it’s turned into a powerslam. Bass eliminates him. Warrior finally steps in and cleans house. He picks up the Blazer and throws him onto Bass. It becomes Blazer vs. Valentine, which is outright fantastic outside of one botch. Their battle ends as Blazer goes to the top and Honky Tonk Man shoves him off. He lands on his ankle, injuring it. Valentine puts him in the Figure Four and makes him submit rather easily. Amusingly, Honky Tonk Man is in the ring, trying to piss off Warrior by taunting him, but Warrior’s too busy playing to the crowd and misses his cue. What a meathead.
Beefcake is worked over by all the heels and can’t quite make the tag. For once, he never does. He turns the momentum around and puts Honky Tonk Man in the sleeper. The two end up on the outside with the sleeper held on, eliminating them with an overly fast count-out. It’s Warrior vs. Valentine and Bass. He takes them down with a double clothesline, hits Bass with a running axe-handle and Valentine is too late to save him. Bass is out. Ventura and Monsoon argue about how Hammer was the legal man (he wasn’t) and Warrior quickly finishes Valentine off with another running axe-handle. Warrior is the sole survivor. Warrior is always the sole survivor unless he’s with Hogan.
Then we get our super-huge 20-man tag match. The Powers of Pain (Warlord and Barbarian), the Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty), the British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid), the Hart Foundation (Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) and the Young Stallions (Jim Powers and Paul Roma) vs. Demolition (Ax and Smash), the Brain Busters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard), the Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff and Boris Zhukov), the Fabulous Rougeaus (Raymond and Jacques Rougeau) and the Conquistadors (Uno and Dos) where if one wrestler is eliminated, so is his partner. I just noticed that these final three entries in this article all feature the top three longest matches in Survivor Series history.
To start it off, Davey Boy tosses around one of the Conquistadors for a bit, then he and Dynamite do the same to the Rougeaus. This is awkward to watch for anyone who knows anything about the Jacques Rougeau/Dynamite Kid/roll of quarters story, but I’m not going to get into that. The short of it is that this is the Bulldogs’ last WWF show, meaning they can’t get punished if they happened to pull something on the Rougeaus. There are a lot of tags on both sides with the faces besting the heels every time except whenever one of them is in the ring with someone from Demolition. It becomes Raymond Rougeau vs. Bret Hart where Raymond ducks down and gets taken out with a Small Package.
Smash and Barbarian duke it out, which comes off as some really sweet striking. Michaels gets into the ring and gets worked over in the heel corner, enduring an Arn Anderson spinebuster at one point. Then one of the Conquistadors makes the mistake of throwing him into the face team’s corner and Jannetty tags in. Lots and lots of awesome action later, we have Powers against Zhukov, where Powers hits a second-rope crossbody and Zhukov rolls with it and turns it into a pin. Tully is tagged in to face the Barbarian. Tully sees him, gives a very scared strut and then tags out to Volkoff. The action continues and we have Michaels vs. Zhukov. Jannetty POSSIBLY makes a blind-tag (bad camera angle) and pins Zhukov with a Sunset Flip while Ventura gets pissed on commentary because he doesn’t believe there was a tag. The Rockers then beat the hell out of one of the Conquistadors so badly that he tries to tag in to the wrong corner. Just to give you an idea of how exhausting and amazing this match is: it isn’t until 25 minutes in that we have an actual rest hold!
Bret gets eliminated after delivering a German Suplex on Tully. Tully gets his shoulder up and the ref counts it as Tully pinning Bret. Dynamite Kid runs in there and follows with a Tombstone, yet Tully is able to kick out of that. Huh. Interesting difference two years can make. The Rockers and Brainbusters go at it in the ring and refuse to adhere to the ref to the point that both teams are disqualified. As they brawl to the back, we’re left with the Powers of Pain and the British Bulldogs vs. Demolition and the Conquistadors. The commentators are completely shocked that the Conquistadors have lasted this long. The faces destroy one of them as Davey Boy hits a running powerslam and chooses to tag in Barbarian. Barbarian accidentally kicks the poor guy into the heel team’s corner, allowing the tag. The commentators give him hell for that mistake.
Dynamite Kid works on Smash and tries for a diving headbutt off the top, but misses. He gets up in a complete daze, allowing Smash to shut him down with a clothesline. Bulldogs are out. Now it’s 4-on-2 with the Powers of Pain as the underdogs. When they fight Demolition, Fuji keeps climbing onto the apron against the wishes of his tag team. When Smash runs across the ropes, Fuji pulls the top one down, causing Smash to tumble out. Monsoon and Ventura aren’t sure if it was an accident, but Ventura damn sure believes he did it on purpose. Smash is counted out and Ax gets in Fuji’s face over this. Fuji doesn’t need to explain himself and when Ax turns away, Fuji hits him with his cane. Ax turns around, Smash stands back up and they destroy him and walk off.
Warlord and Barbarian show concern and help Fuji up. Shortly after, he trips the Conquistador Uno with his cane and allows Barbarian to get the win after a diving headbutt. The Powers of Pain have gone heel, but one isn’t sure if that’s been the setup all along or if it just happened. It’s likely the former as the Powers of Pain hold him over their shoulders like it’s a parade. Demolition run back to the ring, attack their rivals and send them packing worse for wear. Ax and Smash have officially gone face. Seriously, go find this match on YouTube of Dailymotion. It’s so good.
Next is Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Ken Patera, Tito Santana, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and Scott Casey vs. Andre the Giant, Mr. Perfect, “Ravishing” Rick Rude, Dino Bravo and King Harley Race. Race is the only living member of that team. That’s messed up. I myself have no idea who Scott Casey is, but I found out that he was the replacement for B. Brian Blair, who was the replacement for Junkyard Dog. Third stringer in the house. I’m sure he won’t last.
We begin with Patera vs. Rude, where Patera completely overpowers him. For the next few minutes, there are a lot of momentum shifts between sides and a whole lot of quick tags. It goes back to Patera vs. Rude, where Patera runs into a boot and receives the Rude Awakening. Patera is out first and that’s a great idea, since he’s atrocious in the ring. Dino Bravo takes it to Casey and after a bit of punishment, Casey shows signs of a comeback. He runs into a Side Suplex and is also taken out. To make things worse for the faces, Hacksaw is caught in peril, but luckily he’s able to tag in Tito. Tito gets a couple nearfalls on Dino, but does succeed in taking out Harley Race with a surprise Flying Forearm. Then Andre starts killing him. Tito foolishly tries a Sunset Flip and Andre sits on him. Tito’s out.
Hacksaw works on Andre and succeeds in knocking him into the ropes, where he gets tangled up. Jake comes in and attacks Andre. It’s as Jake strangles Andre that he tags out and escapes. Jake holds onto the momentum and tries a DDT on Dino, but Rude clotheslines him from the apron. “GO, JAKE, GO!” is chanted as he absorbs an awful lot of punishment. He’s only saved by repeatedly putting his leg on the rope to escape pins. He makes the hot tag to Hacksaw and the mentally challenged patriot tears Dino to pieces. He sets up for the 3-Point Stance, Dino’s manager Frenchy Martin grabs his leg and Hacksaw gets disqualified for angrily beating Dino with his 2×4. I’ve noticed that Hacksaw has never lost a Survivor Series match through a pinfall. It’s always count-outs and disqualifications. What’s the deal with that? Were they protecting him for a possible main event run?
When Jake tries to follow up on the beatdown with a pin, Dino still kicks out. It’s 4-on-1 and it starts to go on for a little too long. Yes, we get it. The odds are against him. Jake pulls down Rude’s pants because that’s liable to happen in 50% of Rude’s matches and it distracts him enough for Jake to hit the DDT and pin him. Andre steps in and strangles the hell out of Jake. After going too far with choking and biting Jake, Andre is disqualified. Mr. Perfect comes in, pins Jake without a problem and the heels win. Jake gets his revenge by unleashing Damien in the ring and everyone runs. The Jake vs. the world section gets pretty dull and, like I said, Patera sucks, but it’s still a pretty good match with good psychology injected into some parts. If this is the worst match of the show, then I have no problem ranking this as #2.
The main event is Hulk Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Hillbilly Jim, Hercules Hernandez and Koko B. Ware vs. Big Boss Man, Akeem the African Dream, “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase, Haku and the Red Rooster. In a silly – but awesome in its own campy way – intro, Hogan comes out separately from the rest of his team and his teammates are the ones who tear off his shirt! That’s some goddamn teamwork right there, son! We begin with some fantastic Savage vs. Dibiase stuff, who are the best of the workers in this match (Koko and Rooster come in 3rd and 4th). Hercules is tagged in and chases Dibiase around. It becomes Hogan vs. Haku and there’s a funny moment where Hogan clotheslines Haku and Red Rooster grabs his own throat to illustrate how much that had to hurt. Rooster gets tagged in and mixes it up with Koko. Oh, so THAT’S why those two are in this match. So we can have exciting wrestling. Well played. All the faces basically gangbang the poor Rooster, ending with a top-rope elbow drop from Savage. Heenan is pissed at Rooster, like he’s supposed to be better than being murdered by five wrestlers.
Akeem and Hillbilly Jim have a faceoff and it’s pretty bleh, but could be worse. It ends with Akeem splashing Jim and pinning him. The faces all work on Akeem, but he won’t fall over. Then they make the mistake of tagging in the jobber Koko, who is handily beaten down by Akeem. Akeem tags in Boss Man, who finishes Koko off with the Boss Man Slam. Hogan goes after Boss Man. Boss Man takes a lot of offense, but still won’t fall, so Hogan bodyslams him. Despite that good initial showing, Hogan is put on the defensive and gets worked over by the remaining heels. When Dibiase’s in the ring, Hogan turns it around and makes the effort to tag in Hercules. Hercules gets his revenge on Dibiase until Virgil grabs him by the leg. The brief distraction is all Dibiase needs to roll up Hercules and pin him. As Dibiase yells at the defeated Hercules, Savage gives him a taste of his own medicine by rolling him up for a pin too.
Hogan’s in peril again and even eats a Boss Man Slam. Boss Man’s too busy taunting instead of the pin and decides to go to the top rope for a splash. It looks really bad and he misses it. Hogan tags to Savage and the Macho Man cleans house. That is, until Slick trips him. Elizabeth gets in his face and he decides to abduct her. Hogan sees this and clocks Slick. Boss Man and Akeem attack him from behind and then handcuff him to the bottom rope. Boss Man’s the legal man and is counted out. With nothing to lose, he takes out the nightstick and beats Hogan with it. This is really cool to see because ten years later at Survivor Series 98, Boss Man would also lose a match under the same circumstances. In 88, he loses and softens up the top guy Hogan by beating him with his nightstick for an elongated time. In 98, he loses and softens up the top guy Austin by beating him with his nightstick for an elongated time. If he was still alive for 08, we’d have a better explanation for why Jeff Hardy wasn’t in the main event match!
Back to the beating, Boss Man also hits Savage with the stick and Akeem proceeds to splash the champ and shove the ref. He’s disqualified and the two evil behemoths find themselves making a good team. That leaves Haku against a very weak pair of Mega Powers and one of them handcuffed. Slick taunts Hogan with the keys, but during the Haku/Savage wrestling, Haku makes the mistake of accidentally hitting Slick. Elizabeth steals the keys and frees Hogan while Savage receives a beating from Haku. Haku hits a splash off the top and Savage kicks out. Savage makes the tag to Hogan, who handily takes Haku out with a boot and legdrop combo. Savage and Hogan celebrate their win, but not all is well. They have a new pair of enemies and Savage shows signs of distrust based on the way Hogan acts around Elizabeth…
I can’t recommend the 88 Series enough. All four matches are a blast to watch and it lords over the efforts of the surrounding years like a diamond in the rough.
So what is the best Survivor Series? The only one I haven’t talked about is…
1) SURVIVOR SERIES 2002
Date: November 17, 2002
Era: Crossover Era
Location: Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York
Known as: That one with the Elimination Chamber
Elimination Matches: 0 out of 6, unless you count the Elimination Tables Match
The idea of there only being one champion in the WWE was starting to wear thin. How can one man go back and forth to two shows and co-exist in two different angles over his championship? No, Brock as the lone champ wouldn’t do. Eric Bischoff decided to bring back the WCW Championship as the World Heavyweight Championship and award it to Triple H for doing absolutely nothing to deserve it. As time went on, many wrestlers showed that they deserved a title shot against him for one reason or another, including Shawn Michaels, who had returned after four years of forced retirement due to back problems. Bischoff decided to create a new type of match that, as he put it, merged together pieces of the Royal Rumble, Survivor Series elimination tags and War Games. It was time for the Elimination Chamber.
Nothing special about the intro here, but we do get a very unfortunate moment where Stacy Keibler is at the World (formerly WWF New York) and introduces Saliva to play a crappy song accompanied by a video package to hype up the main event. At least the video packages are totally quality outside of that, especially with the main event, Brock vs. Big Show and Trish vs. Victoria. The best backstage promo has Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit argue about their upcoming tag title match and as it gets really tense, Angle explains that, “Tag team partners don’t shake hands. Tag team partners gotta hug!” and hugs the confused Benoit. Paul Heyman gets interviewed about the upcoming Brock vs. Big Show match and appears very nervous. When asked who he thinks will win, he’s very confident that his client will.
Triple H gives a good promo about his title defense and everyone else gets a quick shot of them getting ready. Booker T and Jericho are simply getting warmed up, Kane is doing push-ups against the wall and RVD is doing a split. When Shawn Michaels is interviewed about his thoughts, it cuts him off and goes into a RNN update where Randy Orton gives everyone news about his injured arm and its healing process. Oh, RNN. I forgot how great you were. Even without having a match, Orton is fucking over Shawn Michaels. It really is a Survivor Series tradition.
Then there’s a segment in the middle of the show where Matt Hardy and Chris Nowinski argue in the middle of the ring about the crowd. Matt thinks that New York is made up of losers and Nowinksi disagrees, saying that they’re full of stupid people. The two decide to see eye-to-eye by calling New Yorkers “lupid”. Then Scott Steiner makes his first WWE appearance in almost ten years by walking out and beating up both heels. Place goes nuts for him.
Starting us off is Bubba Ray Dudley, Spike Dudley and Jeff Hardy vs. Three Minute Warning (Rosey, Jamal and Rico) in a Tables Elimination Match. The Three Minute guys rush into the ring and are all immediately tossed out. Spike is thrown at them and he gets caught, which makes them exposed when Jeff jumps onto all of them. Bubba and Spike do the WAZZUP Headbutt to one of the heels while Jeff jumps off the top rope and delivers a legdrop to Rico’s crotch. Soon after, a table is brought in. Jamal sets up a table in the corner and places Spike in front of it, dives at him, misses and ends up flying through the table by himself. Since Spike didn’t throw him, it doesn’t count. Jeff tries a top-rope crossbody onto Rosey, but bounces off of his chest when Rosey is obviously trying to catch him. The crowd lets them have it with a, “YOU FUCKED UP!” chant.
Spike tries to give Rico the Dudley Dog, but Rico’s teammates catch him and deliver a Double Flapjack through a table. Spike is out first. Despite getting crotched on the top rope by Jeff and Bubba, the Three Minute Warning trio continue to hold the match in their hands. Rosey drags Jeff over the railing on the outside and sets up a table near an exit. Bubba fights off Jamal and Rico for a second, runs off and saves Jeff. He helps beat down Rosey and allows Jeff to climb up over the exit sign. Jeff jumps off with a Swanton and crashes Rosey through the table.
Later in the ring, Rico sets Bubba up on a table. Jeff shakes the wrong top rope and causes Rico to fall over. Hooray for botching. Jeff does it again when he tries his usual spot where he runs across the railings. This time he slips and falls at Jamal, who blocks with a table. Jamal sets up Jeff on a table on the outside, climbs to the top rope and splashes him to elimination. Jamal then runs into the ring to save Rico from being put through a table by Bubba. Bubba is set up on the top rope and Jamal plans for a hurricanrana off the top and through a table, but Bubba turns it into a top-rope powerbomb through that table and makes it 1-on-1. Both Jamal and Rosey come back in because, after all, it’s no DQ. Then D-Von Dudley runs out after months of being separated from Bubba and acting out an evil preacher gimmick. The two reunite and put an end to Three Minute Warning by slamming Rico through a table with a Dudley Death Drop. A fantastic opener that’s only marred by Jeff fucking up rampantly.
Jamie Noble defends the Cruiserweight Championship against Billy Kidman next. Ah, back when the Cruiserweight division existed. Good times. Kidman starts off with several attempts at quick pins, but Noble takes control. After a couple minutes of lording over Kidman, he jumps off the top and receives a dropkick. Kidman picks him up with an Atomic Drop, then drops him on his face instead. He climbs to the top and Nidia yanks Noble out of the ring. Kidman responds by hitting a top-rope crossbody. Nidia soon interferes again by grabbing Kidman’s leg. He pulls her to the apron and Noble accidentally runs into her when trying to get Kidman. Kidman gives him a Sky High Powerbomb and he kicks out.
We get a lot of back and forth action and a lot of sweet moves that fail to put the other away. Noble hits moves like the Tigerbomb and a hanging DDT. Kidman goes with a DDT from the top and a nasty enziguri. He climbs to the top and Noble goes after him. Kidman kicks and punches at Noble until finally able to shove him off. Noble lands on the mat and Kidman earns the title by crushing him with the Shooting Star Press.
One odd moment comes from Tazz on commentary, noting, “Jamie Noble has something up his sleeve, but he has no shirt and therefore HE HAS NO SLEEVES!” Something about that delivery is like he realizes it isn’t literal and he gets really angry at himself.
A couple posts ago, I said that the Alundra Blayze and Friends elimination tag match was probably the best women’s match in Survivor Series history. I misspoke. That definitely goes to Trish Stratus defending the WWE Women’s Championship against Victoria in a Hardcore Match. They go all out with the setup, as garbage cans filled with weapons are tied to all four corners. I can barely do this match justice, but the these two – who as far as I’m concerned are the two best female performers in this era – bring out all sorts of unique and innovative weapon-based attacks and counters. Broomsticks, trashcan lids, kendo sticks and even an ironing board are used here. In the end, Victoria pulls out a mirror and eats a surprise Chick Kick to the face. Victoria recovers and sprays Trish in the face with a fire extinguisher. Trish is out of it and Victoria makes the pin for the second title change of the night.
Now for Brock Lesnar defending the WWE Championship against the Big Show, which I’d say is the worst match of the night. It’s actually a really good match and better than you’d expect from Big Show, but it’s entirely too short and one-sided. The two start with a staredown. Big Show overpowers Brock and taunts him, to which Brock tackles him. Brock pulls out a belly-to-back suplex and a German, but when he tries the F5, his ribs hurt too much. He accidentally runs into the ref and hits another belly-to-belly suplex. He grabs a chair and Big Show chokes him before he can use it. Brock forces the hand off and holds up the chair again. Big Show punches the chair away, but Brock holds onto it and slams it into Big Show’s skull. He picks up the dazed Big Show and gives him an F5! A new ref comes out for the count and Paul Heyman both pulls him out of the ring and punches him.
Brock realizes his manager has turned on him, so he chases him around. Big Show picks up a chair and meets Brock with it, poking him in the injured ribs. Big Show hits the chokeslam onto the chair and pins Brock. Then he and Heyman run off into a limo and get the hell out of there. While the two work well together, the big problem (outside of being just over four minutes) is that Big Show doesn’t come off as much of a threat. The lead-up had Heyman begging Brock to reconsider this match because he can neither lift, F5 or defeat the Big Show. Even with hurt ribs, Brock proves him wrong and yet Heyman sells him out anyway. I get that it’s mostly because Brock doesn’t need Heyman anymore and Heyman realizes this, but it still comes off as cheap.
The penultimate match is Edge and Rey Mysterio defending the WWE Tag Team Championship against Los Guerreros (Eddie and Chavo Guerrero) and the team of Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit in a Triple Threat Elimination Tag Match. Jesus, why didn’t they just let these six guys do the Elimination Chamber instead? So the elimination deal is based on the teams and not individual wrestlers. So once someone’s pinned, the team is done with. It starts with Benoit and Mysterio fighting back and forth with chops vs. kicks. There’s a lot of frequent tagging and all the Smackdown Six guys look absolutely terrific. The only thing against it is a botch spot where Angle backdrops Mysterio and he tries to land on the top rope. Instead, he slips and falls to the mat, killing all his momentum. Angle and Benoit take turns working over Mysterio. Finally, Mysterio finds a way out when Angle gives him a Release German Suplex and Mysterio lands on his feet. He dropkicks Angle and they both go down. Angle tags Benoit as Mysterio tags Edge. Edge kicks some ass and once Angle gets back in there, the Spear is blocked with a drop toehold and Angle puts on the Angle Lock while Benoit puts on the Crippler Crossface at the same time. Mysterio makes the save.
What follows is a pure clusterfuck of amazingness. Eddie gives Benoit a Sunset Flip while at the same time Benoit delivers a German Suplex to Edge. Benoit throws Eddie out of the ring, hits three consecutive Germans on Edge and climbs to the top rope. Meanwhile, Eddie climbs to the top and drops onto Edge with a Frog Splash. Benoit breaks the pin with a diving headbutt to Eddie. Angle gives Eddie the Angle Slam with an Angle Lock follow-up and Benoit puts Edge in the Crippler Crossface. With the ref not seeing it, Chavo hits Benoit with the belt. Angle lets go of Eddie and picks up the belt. Benoit sees it and freaks out. Mysterio dropkicks them, Edge hits a Spear on Benoit and pins him. Angle and Benoit don’t take their loss well and beat everyone up before arguing at each other as they walk to the back. That leaves the Guerreros to work over Edge until he can tag to Mysterio. Mysterio and the Guerreros pull off some amazing lucha work, put to an end by Edge giving both Guerreros a Spear at the same time. Eddie falls to the corner and Mysterio delivers a Baseball Slide to his face. There’s a complete miscommunication when Edge tries to set Eddie up for the 619, as Eddie oversells being shoved into the middle rope by bouncing off it and flying across the ring… probably because he realizes that Chavo is on that side for the upcoming spot. Mysterio hits the 619 and goes for the West Coast Pop, only to get smacked with a title belt by Chavo. Eddie puts Mysterio in the Lasso from El Paso and makes him tap. Excellent work all around.
The main event is Triple H defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Booker T, Kane, Chris Jericho, “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels and Rob Van Dam in the Elimination Chamber. Before the introductions, Eric Bischoff comes out to boast about his idea and go over the rules. He also slams a pipe into the cage to show how solid it all is. Saliva plays Chris Jericho to the ring, which is unfortunate. Jericho, Booker, Michaels and Kane all stand in their assigned pods while Triple H and RVD start things off. It goes back and forth until a Pedigree is reversed into a backdrop and Triple H falls out of the ring. RVD repeatedly slams Triple H into the cage until he’s busted open. RVD climbs over Jericho’s cell for a 5-Star Frog Splash, but Jericho grabs his leg through the bars of the cage. Though a setback, RVD is still able to hold dominance over Triple H.
The first five minutes are up and Jericho enters. He goes for RVD because Jericho vs. RVD is totally sweet. RVD is able to get the best of him early on with some crazy acrobatics and command over his surroundings like he’s Spider-Man climbing up the walls, but Jericho and Triple H are able to join together against RVD and beat him down. They smash him into the wall again and again until Booker T enters the match. His first course of action is the clear the ring, which he follows with a Spinaroonie. Booker first tangles with RVD, then moves on to Triple H. He hits the Scissor Kick on Triple H, but Jericho prevents the pin. I guess he didn’t want it to be two faces vs. one heel or whatever. RVD delivers a 5-Star Frog Splash onto Triple H and Booker follows by hitting RVD with a Missile Dropkick. Booker pins RVD and makes him the first elimination.
Kane enters next and beats on both Jericho and Booker. He grabs Jericho and slams him into the pod glass so hard that he shatters it! Jericho is a bloody mess, but still gives Kane an assist when Booker sets him up for the Scissor Kick. Jericho gives Booker a low blow and allows Kane the opening to chokeslam Booker down. Jericho hits the Lionsault and Booker is pinned. Jericho tries to escape the cage by climbing up, but he gets yanked off and thrown back into the ring. Finally, the last entrant Shawn Michaels comes in and fights Jericho and Kane. Kane completely dominates, giving all his opponents chokeslams. He prepares the Tombstone on Triple H, but he gets out of it and pushes Kane forward just as Michaels performs Sweet Chin Music. Kane sits up, is pulled into a Pedigree, eats a Lionsault and gets pinned.
Jericho and Triple H team up on the much fresher Michaels. No matter what Michaels tries, he can’t seem to turn it around. He endures a Lionsault and kicks out. He has a brief change in fortune when he puts Jericho in the Walls of Jericho, but Triple H kicks him in the stomach and drops him with a DDT. Jericho tries for the pin, but gets pulled off. He and Triple H start to argue who gets to eliminate Michaels. Triple H goes for a Pedigree, it gets turned into the Walls of Jericho and Michaels nails Jericho with Sweet Chin Music. He pins Jericho and we’re down to Michaels vs. Triple H. On the outside of the ring, Michaels sets up a Pedigree, but Triple H gives him a Slingshot that again shatters the glass of one of the Elimination Chamber pods. Triple H holds the advantage for most of this fight, but another attempt at a Pedigree causes Michaels to throw him into the cage. Michaels climbs to the top of one of the cells and hits an elbow drop. He gets ready to finish Triple H off with Sweet Chin Music, but it’s countered into a Pedigree. Both go down. Triple H slinks over for a pin, but Michaels kicks out. Another Pedigree is turned into another backdrop and when Triple H stands back up, he’s met with Sweet Chin Music. Michaels makes the pin and becomes the new champion while Jim Ross won’t shut up about how much of a miracle this all is. I just noticed how five of the six matches are title matches and every one of them changed hands.
It’s funny how some matches and events like Royal Rumble and Survivor Series need a couple tries before they can get it all down correctly, but Elimination Chamber kicked the perfect amount of ass on the first try. What a way to finish off a tremendously strong PPV. I feel bad putting it at #1 because it lacks any real traditional elimination tag matches and goes against the grain, but it is what it is. Tradition doesn’t automatically make something good. It just so happens that the show was too awesome on its own.
Thanks for reading this series and for dealing with me getting burned out with one day left to go. I’ll certainly try harder next time. Again, special thanks to Bearnt!, who was eager and willing to help me get any segments onto YouTube that weren’t already represented.
And I leave you with another Thanksgiving failure. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Mr. McMahon and His Ass. Yes, this was an officially sanctioned thing once.