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Top 7 WWE Survivor Series Moments

November 20, 2021 | Posted by Steve Cook
Wrestling Survivor Series Montreal Screwjob Bret Hart Shawn Michaels Dark Side of the Ring, Bret Hart Earl Hebner

This weekend brings us the Survivor Series, WWE’s second oldest event. It’s become a thing over the years to talk about how the Survivor Series pales in comparison to WrestleMania, the Royal Rumble & SummerSlam, WWE’s other tentpole events. Sometimes we forget that Survivor Series has been the site of some events that changed wrestling history.

Today, we look at the seven more magnificent Survivor Series Moments.

7. Bad News Brown Turns On His Team (1988 & 1989)

Most wrestling fans in my age group bring up the same talking point every year when Survior Series rolls around. We wish the event would turn back the clock to the days where every match was elimination-style. It was fun to see the various Superstars form teams & alliances, especially when they had cool names. Unfortunately, this seems unrealistic in today’s WWE, as it’s difficult for most of these people to get along for any period of time. We get a men’s & women’s elimination match in the name of brand supremacy, and these teams rarely get along in the same fashion that the Heenan Family, the Rude Brood or the Hulkamaniacs did.

One Superstar who was ahead of his time and would fit in with the current WWE generation’s inability to make friends was Bad News Brown. Brown was the ultimate loner, not having any time for anybody else in the WWF. Two straight years, Brown was placed on teams with his fellow bad guys. Folks like the Honky Tonk Man, Ron Bass & Rick Martel, who were among the most hated wrestlers of that era & theoretically were on the same page with Bad News as far as deestroying the favorites of WWF fans went. Bad News Brown didn’t care. A miscommunication with Greg Valentine led to Brown walking out on his partners in 1988. Brown was a last-minute replacement for Akeem in 1989, and a disagreement with Big Boss Man led to the same result.

6. The Shield Debuts (2012)

A good way to immediately seem like a big deal is to make your debut at the end of a major PPV. Not everybody gets to do that, but Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns were given that opportunity at the 2012 Survivor Series. The group that would become known as the Shield interfered in CM Punk’s WWE Championship defense, giving Punk the win over John Cena & Ryback. They started off as mercenaries for CM Punk, eventually transitioning to working for The Authority before they figured out they could call their own shots.

The Shield started off in the main event, and all three members became viable singles stars once they split up for the first time in 2014.

5. The Rock Returns (2011)

Survivor Series has always been a special event for The Rock. Rock made his debut at the 1996 edition of the show, where he was the sole survivor of one of the elimination tag team matches and immediately dubbed a “blue-chipper” by Jim Ross. That event took place at Madison Square Garden, so it only made sense that Rock’s return to wrestling in 2011 would take place at the same event. Rock teamed with John Cena to take on The Miz & R-Truth in a match that everybody knew the result of before, but were still excited to see.

It was tough picking between this & Rock’s debut, but the crowd reaction to Rock here pushes this over the top. Rock returning to WWE in the first place was a surprise, and after seven years everybody was ready to see him get in the ring again.

4. HBK Wins The First Elimination Chamber Match (2002)

Shawn Michaels had returned to in-ring competiton at SummerSlam, defeating Triple H in his first WWF/E match in four years. HHH got the last laugh that night, putting Michaels back out of action with a post-match attack. HHH was then awarded the World Championship by Eric Bischoff, and a list of contenders quickly formed, including Michaels. Bischoff announced the first-ever Elimination Chamber match for Survivor Series, with HHH defending the World Championship against Michaels, Chris Jericho, Kane, Booker T & Rob Van Dam.

HBK overcame the odds, winning the World Championship for what ended up being his last run with a main championship. The Chamber proved to be an interesting structure to have a match in, but not as interesting as Michaels’ brown tights, which are still a focal point of discussion to this day.

3. The Rock Wins The Deadly Game (1998)

The 1998 Survivor Series is considered by many to be Vince Russo’s crowning achievement as a wrestling writer. Although the event didn’t feature much in the way of superior in-ring action, it did tell one heck of a story throughout. A 14-man tournament took place in order to determine a new WWF Champion, with various stories interweaving. Mankind had been established as Mr. McMahon’s preferred winner. Stone Cold Steve Austin was obviously not an option for Vince, and Austin had recently been re-signed by Vince’s son Shane in a development that saw Shane demoted to referee status. Vince had also started a dispute with The Rock, who had become accepted by the people as their Champion. Shane redeemed himself in Vince’s eyes by screwing Austin out of a win over Mankind in the semi-finals.

Rock made it to the finals against Mankind, and the result seemed clear when Vince & Shane made their way to the ring during the match. As it turned out, Rock had been on the McMahons’ side all along, and Vince called for the bell to ring once Rock put Mankind in the Sharpshooter. It was a shocking development that led to Rock feuding with Mankind & Austin in the winter of 1998-99 & some really big business for the WWF. It was also the Rock’s first WWF Championship victory.

2. The Undertaker Debuts (1990)

Most mystery partners don’t live up to the billing, but the Million Dollar Team’s mystery partner at the 1990 Survivor Series ended up being one of the biggest stars in wrestling for the next three decades. When you saw The Undertaker walk down to the ring for the first time, you knew you were seeing something different. He just ran over everybody in his path, and his elimination from this match via countout was an afterthought. You knew he was going to be a force to be reckoned with.

The Undertaker retired thirty years later at the Survivor Series. In between, he did a few things.

Honorable Mention: The Gobbledy Gooker Debuts (1990)

On the very same show the Undertaker made one of the best WWF debuts ever, the Gobbledy Gooker made one of the worst. Let’s be honest though, this thing was never going to be “good”. Nobody thought that Hector Guerrrero in a chicken suit was going to be a future main eventer. It was just some silliness to cater to the younger audience and embarrass Gene Okerlund.

1. The Montreal Screwjob (1997)

You all know the story here. Bret Hart was on his way out of the WWF, headed to WCW where he would get paid and not do much else. He was the WWF Champion at the time he decided to leave, so it was obvious that he’d be losing the title pretty soon. Vince McMahon wanted it to be to Shawn Michaels in Montreal at the Survivor Series. Hart wasn’t good with that for a number of reasons, but went ahead with the match anyway. Things didn’t go the way Bret expected them to. Bret went to WCW, and Vince McMahon became the most hated man in wrestling, a fact that Vince would use to reinvigorate the WWF & put it back on top of the wrestling food chain.

One of the most talked about matches in the history of pro wrestling, there’s nothing else that can come close to topping the Montreal Screwjob as the top Survivor Series moment. Not even the many times they tried to re-create it.

article topics :

Survivor Series, WWE, Steve Cook