Survivor Series is the second oldest WWE pay-per-view in history, second only to the grandaddy of them all, WrestleMania. The show celebrated its 30th year back in 2016, which means that it has remained one of WWE’s big four now for three decades. Survivor Series is billed as the only night of the year when the Raw and SmackDown brands go head to head in order to determine which brand is better. Of course, back in 2009 and 2010, this wasn’t the case, since WWE unveiled the Bragging Rights pay-per-view which was essentially exactly the same.
This year it seems that WWE has pulled out the big guns as the show will feature Champion vs. Champion throughout the show, with each champion from SmackDown facing off against the equivalent champion on Raw. There is also the traditional Survivor Series Elimination match that will see five of SmackDown’s best stars battle five of Raw’s best with pride resting firmly on their shoulders.
The teams that have been picked over the past few weeks have proved that this show is about much more than just the matches. Survivor Series needs to bring back its name this year and be one of the best shows of the year. With three decades of history already written in the books, Survivor Series has some of the most intriguing facts of any pay-per-view in the history of the company. Here are just 15 things that many of the WWE Universe didn’t know about the annual event.
15. The ECW Championship Has Only Been Defended Once
Perhaps only the most hardcore WWE fans will remember the ECW Championship. It was WWE’s brand of ECW when the company attempted to reboot the once violent and unpredictable show on a PG platform. Needless to say, the show was a flop and the Championship then went the same way a few years later.
The Championship was defended on the main roster a handful of times, though, and one of these times was back at Survivor Series in 2007 when CM Punk defeated both John Morrison and The Miz to retain his Championship. At this point, Morrison and The Miz were on the same page and attempted to double team Punk throughout, but Miz later turned on his friend in favour of the Championship, which cost him, since he was the one who was awarded with a Go To Sleep so that Punk could retain his title.
14. The First Singles Match At The Event Didn’t Take Place Until 1991
Survivor Series debuted back in 1897 but it wasn’t until the fifth annual version of the event back in 1991 that there was finally a singles match booked on the card. In the years before Survivor Series had become known for its elimination style matches and the show used to contain a number of these lasting 20-30 minutes each.
The first event contained just four of these style matches with the shows that followed taking the same route, but 1991 was different. It marked the one year anniversary of The Undertaker‘s debut and he was able to defeat Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship in front of 17,500 fans in Detroit, Michigan. This was the Undertaker’s first Championship win and it was considered to be a huge upset over someone of Hogan’s calibre. Survivor Series went on to become a great omen for Undertaker in the years that followed before it became known as his event.
13. There Is Only One Team In History Whose Members Have All Been Eliminated At The Same Time
The elimination aspect of the show has always been the selling point that has made Survivor Series one of the most anticipated events of the year, but it seems that back in 1994, it was the elimination aspect of the show that cost Shawn Michaels‘ team dearly when they became the first group to be eliminated as a five-person unit.
Two and a half decades later, they still remain the only team to have been eliminated in this way. Michaels’ team had the match won. Razor Ramon was the only member of the team left to defeat when Michaels became cocky and wanted Diesel to hold him while he delivered a superkick. Predictably, Ramon moved out of the way and Michaels kicked his own teammate which led to the duo arguing outside of the ring. While they were arguing their teammates held them back and the referee counted all five men out and announced that Ramon was the sole survivor.
12. The WWF Championship Changed Hands At Six Consecutive Events From 1994-1999
The WWF/E Championship will always be the biggest prize in WWE, but it seems that from 1994 until 1999 it was seen as something of a hot potato at Survivor Series. The Championship first changed hands in 1994 when Bob Backlund defeated Bret Hart in a submission match.
The following year Hart defeated Diesel in a No Disqualification match. In 1996 Shawn Michaels was defeated by Sycho Sid before Michaels regained the Championship in 1997 as part of the Montreal Screwjob when he defeated Bret Hart by submission. The Rock won the Deadly Games Tournament to become the WWF Champion in 1998 and The Big Show defeated The Rock and Triple H in 1999 to become the Champion following a triple threat match. This unflattering streak at the event finally came to an end back in 2000 when Kurt Angle was able to successfully retain his Championship against The Undertaker.
11. The First Ever Casket Match In WWE History Took Place In 1992
Survivor Series was definitely seen as The Undertaker’s event and he further proved this in 1992 when he unveiled his very own match type called a coffin match. The match was promoted as such throughout the buildup but has since become known as a casket match.
Undertaker took on Kamala in the specialist match type after The Deadman had been able to defeat the big man at SummerSlam. His manager Harvey Wimpleman wanted revenge and agreed to this match. Of course, Undertaker went on to have 15 casket matches in his WWE career and won 10 of them, which means that the odds were definitely in his favour. Of course, Undertaker didn’t know at the time that the match would go on to be one that defined him, but he was able to put Kamala into the casket and close the lid to make history and notch up his first win in this kind of match.
10. The Elimination Chamber Actually Debuted At Survivor Series
The Elimination Chamber is considered to be one of the worst WWE structures of all time. No superstar walks out of the cage the same way and many of the WWE Universe refer to the chamber as Satan’s Structure. The company is unable to use the Chamber as much under their PG banner.
The Chamber actually made its WWE debut at Survivor Series back in 2002 and it had quite the debut at the event. Shawn Michaels defeated Triple H, Chris Jericho, Kane, Rob Van Dam and Booker T to win his first World Heavyweight Championship. Michaels was able to win the debut match by defeating his longtime friend and rival Triple H with the Sweet Chin Music. The Chamber was considered to be so successful that the company went on to allow it to have its own pay-per-view for a number of years before it was replaced by Fastlane back in 2015.
9. Randy Orton Holds The Record For The Most Survivals In The Traditional Match
Randy Orton and The Ultimate Warrior hold the record for becoming the sole survivor of the traditional Survivor Series match on three occasions. Orton was successful for three consecutive years in 2003, 2004 and 2005 before he was defeated by DX’s team back in 2006.
Orton went on to be the survivor two more times over the past twelve years. He went on to be one of two survivors at the event in 2008 when he and Cody Rhodes walked out victorious. Orton then went on to help SmackDown to win the first bragging rights match between Raw and SmackDown Live since The Brand Split when he walked out victorious alongside Bray Wyatt. Even though The Viper has missed a handful of Survivor Series events over the past few years, he can still boast that when it comes to Survivor Series he is still the ultimate survivor.
8. The Shield Debut In 2012
There was once a saying that went, “If you’re going to debut, do it at Survivor Series.” A number of successful WWE stars have taken their first step through the curtain at the annual Survivor Series event, including The Rock, Kurt Angle, Sting, The Undertaker and even The Shield.
The three stars return as a trio for the first time at the event for more than three years this weekend, but the former World Champions made their first televised main roster appearances at the event back in 2012, as they invaded CM Punk’s match against Ryback for the WWE Championship. It was unknown what The Shield wanted at the time or why they decided to target Ryback, but it later became clear that the group was out to fight against injustice and they felt that Ryback’s shot at the WWE Championship on that night five years ago was the worst kind of injustice.
7. Lita Retired At The Event Back in 2006
It seems that 2006 was a rough year for women’s wrestling in WWE; Trish Stratus announced her retirement from the company in September and left as a seven-time Women’s Champion at Unforgiven in Toronto, when she defeated her long-time friend and rival Lita.
Lita herself announced that she was walking away from the company merely two months later at Survivor Series. Lita walked in as the Women’s Champion but was defeated by Mickie James in her debut at the event. This loss was Lita’s fifth, which it the most any superstar has managed to lose at the event without any kind of reply. Lita and Trish have since gone on to be WWE Hall of Famers and after a decade of dark times for the WWE Women’s Division, it seems that the women are finally in a much better place and the Women’s Revolution has done its job.
6. Mickie James Is Undefeated At Survivor Series
It came as quite a shock this past week on Raw when Mickie James was pinned by Bayley so that the latter was named as the first woman in the traditional Survivor Series Elimination match. Mickie has a fantastic record at Survivor Series and her experience would have given the Raw women’s team the edge over SmackDown.
Mickie made her Survivor Series debut back in 2006 where she was able to defeat WWE Hall of Famer Lita in her final match to lift the Women’s Championship for the second time. In 2008 Mickie was victorious as part of the Raw women’s team when she was able to eliminate Michelle McCool. The following year Team Mickie was victorious over Team Michelle McCool in another traditional five-on-five women’s match. The final time Mickie was part of Survivor Series before she returned to the company earlier this year. This would have been Mickie’s chance to pick up her fourth win at the event.
5. Shawn Michaels Holds The Record For Most Losses At The Event
Even though Shawn Michaels managed to defeat Bret Hart back in 1997 at Survivor Series and was the victor in the first ever Elimination Chamber match in 2002, Michaels also holds one of the most unflattering records at Survivor Series. He has lost 10 matches at the event, which is the most in history.
Lita holds the record as losing five without a win, but it seems that Michaels has the much worse record. Michaels has been part of many Survivor Series events over the past three decades and it seems that with these appearances there will always be a number of losses chalked up. This record doesn’t seem to have affected HBK’s legacy throughout his career and he is still considered to be one of the best wrestlers of all time. Michaels won’t be part of this year’s Survivor Series, but he will appear at WWE’s Live Event in Houston a few days before, where he will be a special guest referee for the match between Drew McIntyre and Adam Cole.
4. CM Punk’s Historic Reign As WWE Champion Began At Survivor Series 2011
CM Punk may have walked away from WWE almost four years ago, but he will always be remembered as the longest-reigning WWE Champion of the modern era following his 434-day reign. The WWE Universe remembers that Punk dropped the Championship to The Rock back at The Royal Rumble in 2013, but his reign actually began at Survivor Series back in 2011.
Punk took on Alberto Del Rio at the show and it seems that his reign was started in the best possible way when he forced the Mexican star to tap to the Anaconda Vice in the centre of the ring. 2011 was definitely Punk’s year and the summer was actually known as The Summer of Punk. It was perhaps his best year as a WWE star and it would have put the icing on the cake for Punk to walk out of Survivor Series in Madison Square Garden with the WWE Championship.
3. The Money In The Bank Contract Has Only Been Cashed In Once
Survivor Series has been part of WWE’s calendar for more than three decades, but the Money in the Bank contract has only been part of the show for the past 12 since it was introduced in 2005. It comes as a shock to know that the contract has only been cashed in at a Survivor Series event once.
This happened back in 2015 when Seth Rollins was forced to relinquish his World Championship following a knee injury and Roman Reigns then defeated Dean Ambrose in the finals of a tournament to crown a new Champion. Roman thought he was finally the World Champion before Sheamus made his way to the ring, cashed in his contract and took the title away. Luckily, Roman was able to reclaim the Championship a few weeks later on Monday Night Raw. WWE completely failed Sheamus as Champion and he himself was probably thankful when it came to an end.
2. Goldberg’s Return Match After 12 Years
When Bill Goldberg was unveiled as part of WWE2K17, the WWE Universe began to speculate that the former WCW star could be making his return to the company. These rumours became a reality at Survivor Series back in 2016 when Goldberg returned to the company for the first time in 12 years to face Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series. Their match was deemed to be a fantasy warfare that became reality, and it really was a fantasy match for some of the WWE Universe.
Goldberg managed to defeat Lesnar in an embarrassing match that lasted less than two minutes, before for the duo then had another match at WrestleMania 33 where Lesnar was victorious. Interestingly, Goldberg’s final match in WWE took place at WrestleMania 20 in March 2004 where his opponent was also Brock Lesnar. It seems that the feud between Brock and Golberg managed to last more than a decade.
1. Randy Orton’s Elimination Record
Randy Orton has already been mentioned on this list because of his incredible record of being a survivor in the traditional Survivor Series match, but it seems that Orton also holds the record as the superstar who has eliminated the most stars in the Survivor Series match as well.
Randy Orton set the record at 13 back in 2012 when he eliminated Alberto Del Rio following a fantastic RKO, even though it was Team Ziggler who picked up the win that night. Orton further cemented this record at the event last year when he managed to eliminate Chris Jericho to take his tally to 14 en route to SmackDown Live’s win over Team Raw. Orton has been confirmed to be appearing at this year’s Survivor Series team for SmackDown once again, so he could further cement his place in the history books if he is able to eliminate any members of Team Raw on Sunday night.
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