WWE Survivor Series is coming up this November and the show is already looking quite interesting. WWE SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan challenged WWE RAW to three major RAW vs SmackDown matches for the event.
The five best tag teams, men, and women on each side will go head to head in three different matches with the respective people and the winner will earn bragging rights and possibly more against the other show. This is pretty big, but WWE trumped that by announcing Brock Lesnar will take on the returning Bill Goldberg at the event as well, which seems right now to be the clear main event for the show. This is Goldberg’s first match in over a decade with WWE, so it is a pretty big deal for wrestling fans.
Right now, it seems obvious that WWE could not possibly give us a bad Survivor Series event this year. In the past though, we’ve seen some hits and misses with each event with moments that we will certainly never forget. Due to this being one of WWE’s “Big 4,” the company does as much as they can to make this event a can’t-miss spectacular. Survivor Series is also one of the oldest events in WWE history, which means there are some awesome moments to talk about.
15. The Rock Debuts – 1996
Obviously Dwayne Johnson is now one of the biggest stars in the world, but before his major movie roles, he was with the WWE as The Rock. However, he did not debut with this amazing, legendary character. In fact, he payed homage to his Samoan heritage as well as his father when he made his debut at Survivor Series in 1996.
He took part in one of the traditional Survivor Series matches under the name Rocky Maivia. He was said to be a “blue chipper” the moment he came out by announcer Jim Ross, who was also Head of Talent Relations in his career as well, and helped some of WWE’s biggest Attitude Era stars get over.
Rocky would not work well in his gimmick at this point and would eventually turn into The Rock later, but he certainly made a huge impression on his first night where he would go on to win the match for his team.
14. The Undertaker Debuts – 1990
I know what you’re thinking – two debuts back to back? The Undertaker‘s debut was a huge thing in WWE history and helped Survivor Series stay on top as one of the Big 4. In fact, he made sure to do one last Survivor Series event in 2015 just because he didn’t want to go without doing one more. This despite an ISIS threat on the building that night, weirdly enough.
The Undertaker’s debut happened as part of Ted DiBiase‘s Survivor Series team, where he was a mystery addition to the team. This happened on November 22, 1990. Weirdly enough, he was originally called Cain The Undertaker, but this was kept out of his entrance the first time around. I wonder where that Cain name ended up….
He made sure to make an impact right away when he eliminated WWE Hall of Famer Koko B. Ware one minute into the match with the tombstone piledriver. He would then eliminate yet another WWE Hall of Famer in Dusty Rhodes before being eliminated himself via count out. His team would go on to win the match with DiBiase being the sole survivor.
13. The Undertaker Is Buried Alive – 2003
You may start to realize that this a stacked list for The Undertaker pretty quickly, however he is all over this event. Literally over his entire career, barring WrestleMania, THIS is the event he is most known for. Back in 2003, he was having yet another rivalry with his brother Kane…so that’s where it ended up. And it was really a good time for Kane to go nuts and then attack his brother again.
Kane had unmasked a little before this and people saw him as one of the most legit monsters WWE had in years. Most feel WWE dropped the ball on Kane at this time because of how over he was as a heel. If they would have put the WWE World Title on him at the time, it would have been a smart plan. Kane was so legit that he had to be the one to bring the true Deadman back.
For those unaware, Undertaker went through a gimmick change from the Deadman to the American Badass, a talker who rode his bike to the ring rather than walk down it slowly who didn’t have much more to his gimmick than that. Who better to kill this character than monster brother Kane? Undertaker would take on Vince McMahon in a buried alive match where Kane would interfere to bury his brother alive to the shock of everyone, considering they were on two different shows at the time.
12. Paul Heyman Betrays His Beast – 2002
When talking about some of the best moments of Survivor Series, you have to talk about some of the most shocking too. Paul Heyman may now be the advocate who speaks for “The Beast” Brock Lesnar, but before this Heyman and Lesnar weren’t always best buds. In fact, Heyman turned on Lesnar in 2002 when he would screw over Lesnar at Survivor Series that year to side with none other than the The Big Show.
It does make sense to see him go after another monster if he was going to turn on Lesnar. The way he did this was by watching Brock tear apart Big Show and almost get an easy 1, 2, 3. Heyman would watch Brock hit the F-5 on Show and then right before the ref counted to three, he pulled the ref out. People booed the heck out of Heyman and most did not even understand it. It was one of the most talked about moments of the night and in the history of the show because of the shock it provided. No one expected it, and no one thought it was smart.
11. The Undertaker Returns – 2005
At WrestleMania 21, Undertaker entered a rivalry with the young upstart Randy Orton who literally had the world at his fingertips. He came very close to taking the streak away from Taker but came up just a bit short. Their rivalry was by no means over. Orton would take out the Deadman earlier in the year and that meant he would have to return sometime later.
Randy Orton happened to be on Team SmackDown at Survivor Series in 2005. He was quite useful to the show and helped to lead his team past Team RAW. However, once he won the match Taker returned inside a casket on fire and would enter to attack Orton.
10. Bob Backlund Wins A Late WWF Championship – 1994
Bob Backlund is a WWE Hall of Famer who helped to give us some highly memorable matches and moments in WWE. However, no one saw what was about to come in 1994’s Survivor Series event. Around two weeks before Survivor Series, Randy Savage was pretty much forced out of the WWE because Vince McMahon wanted to focus on new stars instead of the old and didn’t want Macho Man to wrestle anymore.
Vince wanted to instead focus on Bret Hart, who had amazing matches all the time and was the clear future of WWE. Hart happened to be the WWF Champion at the time and was walking into Survivor Series against legend at the time, Bob Backlund. The 45-year-old Bob was in the middle of his crazy old man gimmick, which he literally still uses today. Most of course thought the younger Hart would win.
To set this up, Hart had been feuding with brother Owen previously and those two were not quite out of the woods yet as enemies. This led to Bob getting the best of Bret by beating up Hart enough for Owen to convince his mom to throw in the towel to cost his brother the WWF Title. While Bob did drop the title shortly after, it was a shocker that was cool to see as a nod to the older Backlund when no one thought he would ever hold a World Title again.
9. Austin vs. Hart – 1996
While “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s greatest rival in WWE may be Vince McMahon, one could say his wrestling soulmate is Bret Hart. Hart had memorable matches with a lot of people, but few compare to his matches with Austin. This came out big time in 1996 when the two had an amazing match at Survivor Series.
At this time, WWE felt strongly about Austin’s future as fan support continued to rise. This led WWE to putting him in matches with some of the top talent, like Hart. This match may have been what truly started the Austin era after his memorable King of the Ring promo. Both men absolutely killed it on this night.
Hart did everything to put Austin away, but it took a random roll-up to catch the younger Austin off guard. Hart made Austin literally worth a million bucks in the match, and it may be one of the best put overs despite a win in WWE history. Austin would get the best of Hart later, but on this night he showed he was ready for the main event and fan support grew huge afterward.
8. Edge Makes His Presence Felt – 2008
2008 was a weird year in WWE. They were beginning to go PG and a lot of things were being phased out, such as the “R” in Rated R Superstar. Edge was fantastic but needed time away to sort of reinvent himself. He was taken to hell months prior, almost literally. At time, we were hearing so many rumors of Christian returning to WWE and it made us wonder if he was coming to WWE in November.
Jeff Hardy was set to take on Triple H and Vladimir Kozlov at Survivor Series. Before this however, he was taken out near his hotel room and WWE managed to work the media to making them think Jeff may have gotten into trouble again, but it was then claimed a man attacked him beforehand. A mystery attacker was present but no one knew who…at the time. With Hardy out, we needed a third man for the triple threat. After The Game and Moscow Mauler beat each other up, Edge was introduced by SmackDown GM Vickie Guerrero sporting a nice beard.
He would end up entering the match and winning the WWE Championship. Hardy would come out shortly after Edge to stop him from winning, but he ended up accidentally helping Edge win the match and the title. The moment Edge appeared and shocked us all was absolutely mind-blowing.
7. Austin Meets A Car, Head On – 1999
In 1999, WWE apparently thought they needed to become the male version of a soap opera and decided to do some weird stuff. However, one thing was out of their hands and creatively they needed to find a way to help themselves out. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was needing to take time off due to neck surgery, but of course WWE could not just let him leave due to an injury. They had him get hit by a car, because you know, reasons.
The whole time WWE teased various people from The Rock to Triple H among various others. However, it ended up being Rikishi who claimed he “did it for da Rock.” This basic hit on Austin did help The Rock a bit, but it really didn’t make sense at the end of the day.
WWE had Rikishi turn heel for a bit and see if he had a shot as a singles wrestler, then they said Triple H put him up to the hit and everything. It was all sorts of nuts. But it was cool to see a guy get hit as a kid, especially someone so over like Austin.
6. The Undertaker Puts An End To Hulkamania – 1991
We told you this list would be full of The Phenom, and this might be his biggest contribution to the Survivor Series event. One year after he debuted with WWE, Undertaker took on Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship in 1991’s Survivor Series event. The event clearly was big for Taker, but this show was also big for the rivalry of Hogan and Ric Flair. Due to help from The Nature Boy, The Undertaker managed to beat Hogan for the title.
While Undertaker did not hold onto the WWF Title for a very long time (only a week basically before Hogan retained it), this time in history was marked because of what Undertaker became. It was a moment very few will forget, especially due to how iconic The Undertaker became and how huge Survivor Series became for him over his storied and legendary WWE career.
5. Elimination Chamber Debuts – 2002
The Elimination Chamber is one of WWE’s most brutal matches. The wrestlers notably hate the structure because it was never made to look good or sound good, it was made to look as if the wrestlers were getting hurt all the time and it surely accomplished that. The structure is made of four bullet-proof pods that can apparently still break with enough force…ask Goldberg.
WWE fans still love the match, but there is only one first and this happened to include some major WWE stars you may have heard of: Rob Van Dam, Booker T, Kane, Chris Jericho, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels all competed for the World Heavyweight Championship under the WWE RAW brand in this match supposedly invented by RAW GM Eric Bischoff.
Michaels and Triple H were the two key members in the match due to their history at the time as enemies. The match was brutal and took a lot out of each man. Shawn managed to win the match and his only World Title in his storied second career half, and would take another first to the bank. Keep in mind, he won the first WWE Ironman, Ladder, and Hell in a Cell match prior to this.
4. Team WWF Ends The Alliance – 2001
In 2001, WWE ended up buying ECW and WCW. It was a huge thing considering the rivalries WWE had with them at times. Storyline wise WWE had Shane McMahon purchase WCW with Stephanie taking over ECW. It worked out well as the two formed The Alliance to take down their father’s WWF. Various names like Sting, Goldberg, Hulk Hogan, and more did not join in at the time due to contracts they had with Time Turner, which allowed them to sit out a year. This led to a very weird combination of current WWF stars like Steve Austin and Kurt Angle joining the Alliance.
Finally due to the severe amount of problems both sides caused each other, Vince McMahon proposed a big Survivor Series match with each team’s best against the other for total control. It was a great plan to end the “Invasion angle,” and it allowed us to end a rivalry that has some very bad problems with it.
The end of the match resulted in a one on one situation where The Rock of Team WWF would have to take on Stone Cold of Team Alliance. Kurt Angle would return in the match after being eliminated and hit Austin with the WWF Championship, allowing Rock to hit the Rock Bottom and beat Austin to give Team WWF the win. To this day, it is one of the most notable moments in Survivor Series history.
3. Sting Makes His WWE Debut – 2014
Way back in 2014, there were rumors that the man called Sting may make his way to the WWE after years of staying away from the business. He would always stay with WCW or TNA Wrestling and continued to stay away until finally making his debut later in his career at 2014’s Survivor Series event. The match set up was perfect. It was Team Authority versus Team John Cena. If Cena won, The Authority would have to disband. It was perfect, but no one saw Team Cena winning.
Big Show would turn on Cena and his team when he knocked out the 15 time World Champion and left the match after shaking Triple H’s hand. Dolph Ziggler would be the last member standing and clearly had nowhere to go with a couple Authority members left standing. He would somehow get the match down to he and Seth Rollins and was close to winning the match alone until Triple H got involved and took out the ref. That was when Sting made his presence known by coming down to the ring and taking out Triple H.
He would then put Ziggler’s arm over Seth’s body and the ref would count to three, causing The Authority to go, for now. It was one heck of a debut that started Sting’s anti-Authority run in the WWE. This moment will go down as one of the greatest WWE moments of all time, but especially for this show for sure.
2. The Rock Turns Corporate – 1998
In 1998, the first Deadly Games Tournament went down with the finals to crown a new WWF Champion. Both Rock and Mankind seemed to get to the finals in weird ways. Foley got through basically due to weird help and Rock seemed to not fight the greatest of competition along the way. Finally when it came down to the finals, Vince McMahon and WWE replicated the Montreal Screwjob by having Rock put Mick in the sharpshooter and the ref calling for the bell.
Mankind never tapped out, but we saw the fix was in when Vince and Shane McMahon got in the ring and celebrated with Rock and revealed they had this planned all along. This set up for The Rock vs Steve Austin at WrestleMania the following year and it was quite a show for sure, but of course WWE needed a top heel to work with Austin and Rock was perfect in the role.
1. The Montreal Screwjob – 1997
The Montreal Screwjob may be known as one of the most memorable moments in WWE history, but it is often misunderstood as WWE screwing over Bret Hart. It really wasn’t about that, honestly. Bret Hart was offered a big deal by WCW and Vince McMahon could not match it, so Hart was set to leave. However, Vince wanted him to drop the WWF Championship before he did due to what happened with the Women’s Title beforehand. Hart originally agreed, but when he was told it would be his real life enemy Shawn Michaels he would lose to, he decided not to do it and would simply vacate it later.
This was also happening in Canada, Bret’s home nation where he was treated almost like God. The Canadians loved him and it was the only place Bret would go as a heel where he would truly be babyface. Bret did not want to lose to HBK big time, but especially here and many could see his argument. However, he was told to do business and refused.
Vince didn’t like this and when HBK and Triple H were informed of it, they claimed they would “do business for him,” referring to Hart going down one way or the other at the Survivor Series PPV. Both Michaels and Hart had a great match before it would end when Shawn put Bret in his signature hold, the sharpshooter. Referee Earl Hebner would call for the bell early and then pretty much run out of the arena. Boos rained down and Hart even spit in Vince’s face.