Survivor Series has always held a special place in my heart. I was reeled deep into my fandom of professional wrestling by repeat viewings of my grandfather’s Survivor Series 1989 VHS tape that cut off before the final match. The Hulkamaniacs vs The Million Dollar Team, Roddy’s Rowdys vs Rude’s Brood, and The Dream Team vs The Enforcers are must see matches just to see a different time of WWE where things were simpler. ‘89 is my favorite of the old school Series’. The concept of Survival and how rivals were positioned against each other in 4 vs 4 teams amazed me even if Bad News Brown tended to walk out of every team match year to year, and guys got pinned on ridiculous moves which led to decades of “I bet such and such loses to a snapmare” jokes.
Looking at this year, I’m extremely excited about the prospects of Survivor Series. Lesnar vs Styles, The Shield vs The New Day, The 5 on 5 Mens match, and The Usos vs The Bar are as good of a top 4 that one can ask for in WWE, and on paper looks to be the best of the year. I’ve opened up this column to take questions on Survivor Series history as well as the present. Let’s get to it.
“Did you consider last year’s 5 v 5 survivor series match to be all time great?” – Andre Lamar Singleton
I haven’t watched it since, but I remember it being one of the better one’s I’ve ever seen. It was 53 minutes long and it achieved something when it set up Orton and Wyatt as a dominant force, although it ended up not working out for the feud overall. Reigns looked like he was set to be the heroic one that would take Wyatt and Orton down, and it also featured the long desired Rollins vs Styles matchup. I enjoyed seeing Shane McMahon getting speared out of mid-air, and the story Jericho told where he had to pop Shane for real so he could calm his ass down. I think you’re talking about a top 3 Survivor Series match ever, and those teams will look great on paper when we look back.
“Looking at the 5 on 5 men’s team this year, how badly does this scream to you that WWE is having major problems with creating stars in recent years?” – Dellon James
On a 1-10 scale, I’d say like a 7. They have an issue where the ages of long time guys like Orton are lining up with the ages of the “new stars” like Nakamura or Styles or Roode. It seems like the pendulum has swung back to guys becoming main eventers late in their careers, as they do time in NXT or outside WWE for most of the time, and come to WWE later. It feels like the days of sub-30 year old main eventers in WWE are on suspension. Strowman being the youngest guy in the men’s match at 34 should be an alarm, but at the same time that’s 3 years younger than Orton who has literally been on TV since I was a child. I think the TV age of guys is more important than the actual number, but it’s funny that we just got beat over the head for a month about Mickie James being old, but that was left out of any mention of this match. WWE needs to get younger, and those younger folks need to get better at the same time. Tough situation.
“What were your thoughts on the 1st Elimination Chamber Match?” – Jeremy Donovan
Hot take alert. This happened during the period I wasn’t an active watcher of wrestling, but I’ve gone back and watched it, as well as several other Elimination Chamber matches. It never felt all that dangerous to me. I liked some of the jumps that RVD did from the top of the pods, but I thought the concept might work better if they just started with all 6 in the ring. I thought Shawn Michaels haircut and trunks were as bad as it could get, but liked seeing him win his last World Title in a building that once revolted against him in 1996. Overall, it’s a cool match, but I’ve never been a huge fan.
“The worst match ever at Survivor Series that doesn’t include the 5 V 5? Best match ever at Survivor Series that doesn’t include the 5 V 5?” – Jeremy Mitchell LaBoy
Two matches come to mind for me.
Randy Orton vs The Big Show for the WWE Championship was an embarrassment of a match, where in the lead up they tried to give The Big Show the “Yes” chant, while Daniel Bryan was moved out of the title picture. The big stipulation was that no interference would happen from The Authority, and at the end Big Show lost to hearing some music. This was also after “The Big Slave” era of Show, where he did a number of dirty deeds for Triple H & Co. to get out of financial debt. I remember hating this match back then.
Bret Hart vs Stone Cold Steve Austin from 1996 is a gem. A hybrid of Bret Hart’s matches against Roddy Piper and Owen Hart from Wrestlemania 8 & 10. It was a wrestling match, but it was also a fight between a hero, and this disgusting guy who wouldn’t leave him alone for months. I tend to watch it once a year, and it makes me angry that Bret’s career was only essentially 1 more year. I don’t count WCW.
The last title match that occurred at a Survivor Series that you actually cared about and were invested in? – Jeremy Mitchell Laboy
I’d probably go with John Cena vs Ryback vs CM Punk. I was so invested in Punk completing that year cycle with the championship, I didn’t care how he held onto it. After they didn’t switch the title at Hell in a Cell from Punk to Ryback, they couldn’t just walk up to the finish line and say, “Nah.” Cue The Shield running in and it was one of the most shocking finishes of the decade. I badly wanted Punk to march to Wrestlemania with the championship, but yanno…The Rock.
Who does the inaugural Big Show heel turn this year? – Joe Saba
Looking at the roster’s in the 5 on 5 match, I’ve learned to never trust Randy Orton. Triple H is already a heel or else I’d nominate him. Orton is in that place after he’s been the babyface champion and he’s cooled down for a few months and he’s where his turn usually comes in. However, Smackdown is on the whole “UNDEFEATED, NEVER LOST!” mentality of Lavar Ball, when it comes to facing Raw. I can’t think of a time where Raw has ever won one of these. Orton turning in theory should lead to a loss, but if I had to pick anyone from Raw, the only choice is Finn Balor, but they would be stretching to do that. Stick with Orton WWE.
Do you think Survivor Series being around the Thanksgiving holiday hurts it or helps it? – Rance Morris
I think possibly before the advent of The Network this could have effected PPV Buys, but since the change of their entire business model, they can focus more on the creative side which they’ve done ironically starting the year the WWE Network was launched. It’s the time to start looking forward to Wrestlemania, and the last spotlight show. I wouldn’t run a huge December show, Survivor Series is perfectly placed to be far enough from The Royal Rumble to get another 2 months of stories done before it is go time.
Which main roster acts do you think were the biggest omissions from survivor series card? – James Boyd
There was a guy who defeated Shane McMahon in a Hell in a Cell match at the last PPV that is nowhere to be found on this show. Maybe it is for storyline purposes with him being set to ruin the match for Smackdown, but if that isn’t the case, Kevin Owens is clearly the biggest omission. I thought his feud with Shane and attack on Vince made him a Superstar in WWE’s eyes. However, he and Sami Zayn have been put on hold since then, and even lost matches since Zayn’s big turn. I hope to see these guys in some fashion, or else this was a colossal error in judgement.
Where would you set the number for over/under for asuka eliminations based on sdl’s 5th women being natayla, paige, nikki bella or any other surprise returns? – James Boyd
I’d imagine the safe bet for Asuka would be 2.5. I believe I’ll take the over as well. Those seem to be the three options. I’d love for a reverse of last year to happen and see Nikki Bella take Natalya out of the match as a great bookend. I’d also like to see Paige. Now if WWE wants to start beating her right away, fine…put her in. However if they want to groom her again as someone important, maybe she should skip the match altogether and be a free agent both GM’s want to sign.
This is the biggest match of the new day’s already-hall of fame career. Are they gonna get steamrolled? – James Boyd
Looking at The New Day, fresh off a career making rivalry with The Usos over the summer, this is undoubtedly their moment to shine. It is Big E and Xavier’s chance to show what they look like opposite of actual main eventers. They’ve long given up on Kofi, so for the Woods and E this is an even more precarious situation as it could lay the groundwork for their post New Day careers. I really hope they don’t get steamrolled. However, we’re dealing with THE ORIGINAL SHIELD as Michael Cole told us 742 times last week, and it feels like WWE will want them going over as strong as possible to make up for lost time due to viral meningitis.
Thoughts on Brock V Goldberg last year? Amazing character piece or everything that is wrong with the WWE or both? – Sam Brown
As a one off, last year this was fucking incredible. Goldberg’s initial return was everything modern WWE seemingly normally isn’t. Organic, feel good, shocking in a good way. I watched this with a few buddies of mine, and we marked completely out when Goldberg got Lesnar outta there in 90 seconds. The build to the match made me think of this guy Goldberg who was a hero to everyone, who wanted to go out on his terms and he showed up and cut some great promos and he got over heavily. Then WWE pounced on the moment and thought… LET’S DO IT AGAIN! LET’S PUT THE TITLE ON HIM! IT’LL BE THE BIGGEST WRESTLEMANIA EVER!!!
Suddenly, that good will evaporated, but it resulted in one of the most fun 5 min matches we’ve ever had. But as far as that first run up to Survivor Series, it felt electric.
Best Survivor Series moment? – Kyle Moores
My personal favorite Survivor Series moment has to be the 1998 Deadly Games Tournament. It was a Vince Russo masterpiece, and I’m not one to ever cape for Russo. The lead up and execution of every single thing building to the double switch between The Rock & Mankind should be required viewing for any writer or booker in the business. Every level to it, from figuring out The Rock really didn’t have it that tough, to Shane screwing Austin in the semi finals, to the sudden reprise of The Montreal Screwjob just ONE YEAR LATER. The savagery of Vince McMahon was at an all-time high. It was the night he got his champion, and The Rock finally stepped in as the main eventer WWE wanted from day 1. Almost nothing is close.
Does the WWE win the Monday Night War if the Montreal Screwjob doesn’t happen? – David Fenichel
WWE goes down in flames. The theory behind this is, Bret Hart hands over the championship after beating Vince McMahon’s Phenom, his Sexy Boy Degenerate, and his supposed Toughest Son Of A Bitch. Basically, Bret Hart kicked the entire locker room’s ass and was heading to the hotter show, and by the way…here’s your piece of tin when it actually meant something HOLLA! There is no evil force to bounce Austin, and later Rock off of after Wrestlemania 14.
Maybe WWE is less inclined to raise their PPV prices which never fixes their debt? Maybe they don’t have 3 Million Dollars to hand to Mike Tyson? Maybe WCW lands him instead? Maybe we are all watching the WCW Network right now, and they are bringing back the Hell in a Cell match for the first time in 20 years for the WCW Power Plant show on the undercard of World War 3 or Starrcade? Maybe, Hulk Hogan has continued going over the entire business for 20 years?
if u could take any 2 of the survivor series teams past or current to make a 5v5 which teams would you take – Theo Williamson
I think I’d go with Team WWF The Rock, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, Kane & The Big Show (2001) vs Team Raw 2016 (Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Old Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens & Seth Rollins)
Last year’s Raw squad was insanely stacked and is one of the few that could match up with the famed Team WWF from 2001. Although we would have to grab two different Chris Jericho’s from the space time continuum, its old vs new and both groups of teams would make this a classic.
Smackdown over Raw
Brock Over AJ
Charlotte Over Alexa
The Shield Over The New Day
The Usos Over Cesaro & Sheamus
Raw Women Over Smackdown Women
The Miz Over Baron Corbin.
What are you expecting this year?
Rich Latta is a Senior Contributor to SocialSuplex.com and Host of the One Nation Radio Wrestling Podcast. He never tried to roll his eyes back like The Undertaker because he was afraid they would get stuck. Send him a tweet @RichLatta32 or drop a comment below.