On Nov. 20, WWE presents the 30th annual Survivor Series. As we move towards the event, let’s take a look at how the former Thanksgiving tradition has evolved over the years.
It’s the 10th annual Survivor Series, which means we’re about a third of the way through!
Survivor Series ’96 – November 17, 1996, Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
The Survivor Series finally makes its New York City debut after 10 years and New York City fans show their appreciation by… booing the living crap out of supposed babyface WWF Champion Shawn Michaels in his title defense against Sycho Sid.
Sid has tons of charisma and seems to be one of the few guys who can transcend the typical workrate guys who prefer five-star action to high-powered spots. So when the guy considered to be one of the best workers in all of wrestling in 1996 comes up against Sid, Madison Square Garden – a very smark-heavy environment – cheered for the big man. Sid hitting Michaels with a camera before pinning him to win the WWF Title was a moment very few people saw coming, considering how loudly the crowd erupted for it.
Best Match: Bret “Hitman” Hart defeated “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
Steve Austin’s rise to the top of the WWF began right here. Bret Hart returned from a sabbatical after losing the WWF Title to Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII and said he wanted to work with the best worker in the company, singling out Austin. Austin, for his part, had been calling out Hart for a bit, as well, looking to prove himself. I was a big fan of Austin’s when he was in WCW and definitely disappointed when he was mired in stupid feuds with Savio Vega in the WWF. But if anyone doubted Austin’s ability, the match against Hart at Survivor Series should have quelled them. It wasn’t just Hart carrying Austin to a great match; it was two great wrestlers putting on a clinic for everyone, from the fans to the boys in the back. The match is a bona fide Survivor Series classic that helped to bridge the gap from the New Generation into the Attitude Era.
Worst Match: Flash Funk, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Savio Vega and Yokozuna drew with Farooq, Vader, “Diesel” and “Razor Ramon”
You have at least a couple of guys in this match who could have benefitted from a push with a win. Farooq was just starting the Nation of Domination. Vader was on a downswing after losing to Shawn Michaels at SummerSlam but could have been recouped. And Flash Funk, also known as 2 Cold Scorpio, was just starting and could have established himself with a win. But instead, we focus on the replacement versions of Diesel and Razor Ramon – which was dumb even by WWF standards – and the returning Snuka. The brawl leading to a draw just made the whole thing pointless.
An Electrifying Debut: So, how about this Rocky Maivia guy, huh? Jim Ross said during the show that the future Rock was a Blue Chipper with a big future in the business, but I don’t think ANYONE could have predicted how much of a pop culture phenomenon Dwayne Johnson managed to make himself. And it all started here, with his debut as part of Marc Mero’s team. Maivia overcame a 2-on-1 disadvantage to eliminate Crush and Goldust to become the sole survivor in the match and kick off an amazing career.
The Survivor Series Rankings
Only one new entry this time around, but it’s a doozy!
*DISCLAIMER* The Survivor Series Rankings are for discussion purposes only and in no way reflect an official or authoritative list. It is simply my opinion. If you disagree, let me know via email or on Facebook. Match survivors are in bold and new entries to the Top 10 are in italics.
1 – Bret “Hitman” Hart defeated Diesel (c) – No Disqualification WWF Title Match (1995)
2 – Bret “Hitman” Hart defeated “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (1996)
3 – Powers of Pain, The British Bulldogs, The Rockers, The Hart Foundation and The Young Stallions defeated Demolition, The Conquistadors, The Brain Busters, The Bolsheviks and the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers. (1988)
4 – “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, The Mountie and The Warlord defeated “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Bret “Hitman” Hart, Virgil and The British Bulldog. (1991)
5 – Bret “Hitman” Hart (c) defeated Shawn Michaels – WWF Title Match (1992)
6 – “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, Hillbilly Jim, Koko B. Ware and Hercules defeated King Haku, Akeem, Big Bossman, “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and The Red Rooster. (1988)
7 – Shawn Michaels, British Bulldog, Ahmed Johnson and Psycho Sid defeated Yokozuna, Razor Ramon, Owen Hart and Dean Douglas. (1995)
8 – Andre the Giant, King Kong Bundy, One Man Gang, “Ravishing” Rick Rude and “The Natural” Butch Reed defeated Hulk Hogan, Bam Bam Bigelow, Ken Patera, “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff and Don Muraco. (1987)
9 – Razor Ramon, The British Bulldog, The 1-2-3 Kid and the Headshrinkers defeated Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Owen Hart, Jim “The Anvl” Neidhart and Jeff Jarrett (1994)
10 – The Jumping Bomb Angels, Fabulous Moolah, Velvet McIntyre and Rockin’ Robin defeated Sensational Sherri, The Glamour Girls, Donna Christanello and Dawn Marie. (1987)
The top of the eliminations rankings are stagnant this time around, as a new generation of stars with a new attitude start to come up through the ranks.
1 – Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior (tie, 7)
3 – Tito Santana (6)
4 – “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, Sgt. Slaughter, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, The Undertaker (tie, 5)
8 – Brutus Beefcake, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig, Aja Kong, Lex Luger, Shawn Michaels (tie, 4)