Some are keen to question the validity of the spiritual ‘Big Four’ tag that highlights WWE’s pay-per-views calendar.
It’s true that Survivor Series has always been the Andres Iniesta to the Barcelona front three, but this year’s card looks the best line-up since the peak of the Attitude Era.
If some of the matches from Sunday’s card live up to expectations, we could be talking about a rare classic in modern times. Here are the top ten best moments in the history of Survivor Series:
Undertaker v Vince McMahon – Survivor Series 2003:
A card that was fairly solid the whole way through, McMahon v Undertaker had intriguing build. After Taker defeated Big Show and Brock Lesnar in a handicap match, the Deadman was given the right to pick an opponent and a stipulation.
After costing him the WWE Championship the month before, Undertaker picked Vince as his opponent in a Buried Alive match.
It was as one-sided as you’d imagine, until Undertaker’s brother Kane got involved – which ignited yet another feud in their endless line of sibling tiffs. Kane would meet his end at Wrestlemania XX.
Sting’s WWE Debut – Survivor Series 2014:
Look, this ‘Authority’ angle is one of the dullest arcs in the history of the company – and that’s saying something. But when they amp up the stipulations, like firing half of their talent if they lost a match, people would take notice.
Little did we know, however, that it was all a setup for Sting to enter into a feud with HHH ahead of Wrestlemania.
Triple H’s team had a three-on-one advantage, with Dolph Ziggler being the only opposition remaining. He fought off Seth Rollins, Kane and Luke Harper to pick up the win – thanks to the help of the Stinger. The crowd lost it.
The Undertaker v Hulk Hogan – Survivor Series 1991:
Granted, Hulkamania was from its peak, but there was still an aura around Hogan that nobody could match. The Undertaker has only debuted a year previously (we’ll get to that) and this booking decision was somewhat of a shock.
However, in hindsight, it helped cement a legend and they certainly won’t regret it.
After Paul Bearer grabbed Hogan’s leg as he went for an Atomic Legdrop, Ric Flair slid a chair into the right and The Undertaker tombstoned him onto the steel for the three count. Of course, this was only to be the beginning for one of the most loved superstars of all time.
Kurt Angle’s Debut – Survivor Series 1999:
Coming from an amateur wrestling background, everyone knew who Kurt Angle was. He won Olympic gold with a broken-freakin’-neck as the song goes. What everyone didn’t know, however, was how successful he’d go on to be.
Angle was billed as the cocky, but lovable supreme athlete, yet the crowd simply didn’t take to him. In what was really a procession, Angle tore Stan Stasiak apart – that fella who’s had more different names that your local takeaway.
The match was forgettable; the legacy was not.
Team WWE v Team Alliance – Survivor Series 2001:
Question – how do you make a match with Chris Jericho, Kane, The Rock, The Undertaker, Booker T, Kurt Angle, RVD and Stone Cold absolutely stink? You book the entire angle wrong.
The invasion storyline of 2001 could and should have been the best thing the company had ever done, but instead – they wasted talent and used it as a platform to soften Austin’s heel turn that should never have happened.
This did boost Angle in a major way, though – and it’s quite unique to look back upon, given all that’s happened since.
The Debut of The Undertaker – Survivor Series 1990:
Ted DiBiase stood in the ring before announcing the final member of his four-man team to face ‘The Dream Team’, which contained Koko B. Ware, Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart and Dusty Rhodes.
It would be Mark Callaway in his funeral home attire. This unheralded rookie would be counted out for chasing Dusty Rhodes, but would go on to become bigger than anybody else in that ring at the time.
It was truly the beginning of a legend.
The Introduction of The Hounds of Justice – Survivor Series 2012:
After doing their time in the early stages of the NXT brand, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins formed one of the greatest stables the WWE has ever produced.
The Shield were introduced to the main programme in incredible fashion at Survivor Series 2012 when they interfered in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship. As Ryback looked to be getting the better of John Cena, in rushed Reigns and co.
They powerbombed Ryback through the announce table and sent shockwaves through the WWE Universe.
Austin Run Over – Survivor Series 1999:
All scheduled for a triple threat match against Triple H and The Rock, Austin made his way backstage for an interview before chasing down Triple H. The Game led him to a parking area, where a car came and ran him over.
One of the defining moments of 1999, the fans in the arena and around the world were shocked by the turn of events. As it transpired, the company wasted the heat and said Rikishi did it for The Rock. Okay, WWE – okay.
It doesn’t take away from the moment though, as Austin needed to be written off television due to an injury.
The Introduction of the Elimination Chamber – Survivor Series 2002:
A match type that redefined drama, the elimination chamber made its first appearance at the 2003 edition of this event – and the drama of the match itself somehow matched the level of intrigue surrounding it.
Shawn Michaels was listed in this match, but the common belief was that he was there to make up the numbers and wouldn’t have much of a say in proceedings. How wrong we were.
The Heartbreak Kid would eventually pin long-time pal Triple H to claim a shock World Heavyweight Championship.
The Montreal Screwjob – Survivor Series 1997:
Not even the defining event of the pay-per-view, but easily the most hotly-debated and most commonly-discussed modern day wrestling segment.
As Bret Hart was set to leave for rival company WCW, Vince McMahon asked him to drop the belt to Shawn Michaels. He refused to do so in Montreal. The boss didn’t accept that.
In one of the greatest, yet most awkward sequences of all time, Vince McMahon ordered referee Earl Hebner to ring the bell despite Hart not tapping out to his own finisher.
The landscape of professional wrestling would never be the same again.