Since its debut in 1987, there have been 30 Survivor Series events. It is one of WWE’s “Big Four” wrestling shows along with WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, and SummerSlam. After ‘Mania, it is their second longest running pay-pre-view. The cornerstones of the night are the traditional Survivor Series Matches, elimination tag-team bouts usually fought between two teams of five. Originally, the card consisting over over-stuffed matches coincided with Americans over-stuffing themselves by airing on Thanksgiving. Nowadays, to match the format of the rest of their big events, the Survivor Series usually takes place the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
So far, there have been 79 matches in the show’s epic history. Generally, the matches are competitive contests between the teams with only a few wrestlers remaining on the victorious side. In 26 rare instances, the matches have ended with only one man or woman standing tall, rendering them the sole survivor. What is even rarer is a match that ends without any superstars on one team being eliminated from the battle. In fact, there have only been seven times a full entire team has been able to make it through a match completely intact. When looking at these dominant teams, we also have to look at the squads that they unequivocally conquered. The teams that were never able to make it out of first gear and couldn’t keep up with the opponents who manhandled them.
Let’s take a look at the seven Survivor Series team who couldn’t muster a single elimination and the seven squads who shut them out.
15 Honorable Mention: The Rock (1998)
The 1998 Survivor Series is the only edition of the pay-per-view to not include a traditional Survivor Series match, yet there was someone who still achieved a clean sweep that evening. In lieu of elimination matches, WWE chose to stage a single elimination tournament dubbed “Deadly Games” for the recently vacated WWF Championship. The bracket was a real who’s who of Attitude Era stars including, The Undertaker, Kane, Goldust, Ken Shamrock, Mankind, and of course, a pre-Gillberg Duane Gill. None of these men were left standing at the end of the night as The Rock would be victorious. Throughout the evening, with the crowd soundly behind him, “The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment” had scored victories over Big Boss Man, Ken Shamrock, and The Undertaker before squaring off against Mankind, who seemed to be Vince McMahon’s handpicked champion. In a callback to the year before, the match came to an end when Dwayne applied the Sharpshooter to Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy. Mr. McMahon called for the bell, screwing a wrestler once again, handing The Rock his fourth win of the evening and his first world title.
14 Shut Out: Jake Roberts, Jimmy Snuka, Marty Jannetty, And Shawn Michaels (1990)
Before the 1990 Survivor Series, no team had ever been shut out in a Survivor Series Match. It was only a matter of time before a group performed so poorly they did not score a single elimination. Captained by a partially blinded Jake “The Snake” Roberts, “The Vipers” also consisted of a 47-year-old Jimmy Snuka and the “always the bridesmaids” Rockers. This team never stood a chance. Proving that he was the “Jannetty” no matter who was on his team, Marty took the first pinfall following a powerslam from the Warlord. Snuka and Michaels would follow suit, both being pinned by members of “The Visionaries” before Roberts was counted-out after chasing after Rick Martel backstage. Michaels would go on to achieve greater Survivor Series success, winning two of his four world championships at future events as well as winding up on the other side of this list.
13 Clean Sweep: Rick Martel, The Warlord, Hercules, And Paul Roma (1990)
The first team to achieve a “flawless victory” at Survivor Series was “The Visionaries.” The heel tandem made up of Rick Martel, The Warlord, as well as Power and Glory (Hercules and Paul Roma) chose their name to mock Jake Roberts, who had recently been blinded by Rick Martel after The Model sprayed The Snake with his own personal perfume called Arrogance. To play up his wound, Roberts wore a contact lens that whited-out his optical injury. Despite a definite speed disadvantage, “The Visionaries” had both strength and cunning. They eliminated both Rockers with power moves, Snuka with tight-pulling small package, and used Roberts’ own aggression against him to get The Snake counted out. The match itself did a great job telling the story of a less than 100% Roberts unable to get his hands on the dastardly Martel. The bout propelled the feud between the two forward, eventually leading to a Blindfold Match at the next year’s WrestleMania.
12 Shut Out: Col. Mustafa, Hercules, The Berzerker, And Skinner (1991)
The less said about The Iron Sheik’s run as Colonel Mustafa, the better. The former World Heavyweight Champion was nearly 50 when he returned to the WWE in 1991 to team up with Iraqi sympathizer Sargent Slaughter. The duo wouldn’t last long as Slaughter soon turned face, leading to a rivalry between the two. When it came to the match, Mustafa, who had put together a squad of villains so mundane you might not have realized the picture above features Big Bully Busick and NOT Hercules (who was a last-minute replacement for B-cubed), was easily dispatched by the Sargent. Despite being part of the first team to accomplish a clean sweep the year before, Hercules was the next to go. Not surprisingly, the jobber-ific twosome of the disgusting tobacco-drooling Skinner and discount Bruiser Brody The Berzerker were not skilled enough to overcome the odds.
11 Clean Sweep: Sgt. Slaughter, Jim Duggan, The Texas Tornado, And Tito Santana (1991)
Before the bell even rang Gorilla Monsoon proclaimed, “Not a whole lot of doubt in my brain who’s going to come out on top of this one.” Surprising no one, the team made up of three of the most beloved babyfaces of the era and one of the most promising men to lace up a pair of boots was able to overcome the group whose lineup wasn’t finalized until the day of the show. The living, breathing G.I. Joe known as Sgt. Slaughter made short work of his former ally-turned foe after a weak-looking clothesline and finished off Hercules with a schoolboy. The other two eliminations occurred when El Matador (Tito Santana with a fresh coat of paint) struck Hercules with a flying forearm and Duggan nailed Berzerker with a slightly better looking clothesline. Oddly enough, the up-and-coming Texas Tornado was the only member of his team to not score an elimination.
10 Shut Out: Bam Bam Bigelow, Bastion Booger, Fatu, And Samu (1993)
As a guy whose favorite wrestlers are big boys, this is admittedly a team for me. The team was made up of the savage Headshrinkers, the smelly, sweaty, and obese Bastion Booger, and the (for better or worse) physical representation of New Jersey, Bam Bam Bigelow. Since nobody had the courage to speak up 24-years ago, I will say it today. Two of the pinfalls scored should have been disqualifications against the “Doinks.” The first came early on in the match where Samu was tricked into biting into a water balloon, only for it to explode in his face causing him to be rolled up by “Doinkwhacker” Luke. The second was when Fatu slipped on a banana peel (a foreign object!) and being pinned by Butch. I’m not saying they need to go back and reverse the decision. A simple apology would be nice.
9 Clean Sweep: Mabel, Mo, Butch, And Luke (1993)
As a wrestling fan, especially one who writes about it online, I am used to disappointment. I constantly allow myself to get my hopes up, only for them to be dashed right before my eyes. The first time I ever remember feeling this way was during this Survivor Series Match. I was five-years-old and, in addition to digging big, fat wrestlers, I was also a fan of Doink the Clown. I found the idea of a wrestling clown to be hilarious and really enjoyed it when multiple Doinks would appear at once (again, I was five). You can only imagine how high my hopes were when I was promised four Doinks taking on some of the largest wrestlers of the era. That’s when WWE decided to pull the old bait and switch. What I got was an abysmal eleven-minute charade where the Doinks, portrayed by The Bushwhackers and Men on a Mission, decisively defeated their gargantuan opponents.
8 Shut Out: Doink, Dink, Wink, And Pink (1994)
Perhaps I don’t need an apology, maybe this match is vindication. Maybe this is karma. By the time the 1994 Survivor Series event rolled around, I was no longer enamored by Doink the Clown’s tired shtick. I was a much more mature wrestling fan (after all, I was six-years-old). Shortly after the “Four Doinks” debacle, the green-‘froed harlequin was visited by Santa Claus on an edition of WWF Superstars of Wrestling and given his own mini-clown: Dink. The diminutive Dink would accompany his larger counterpart to the ring and even teamed with him to take on Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon at Wrestlemania X. Eventually, Doink would reignite a rivalry with Jerry Lawler after The King popped Dink’s balloon (savage!). Lawler would soon introduce his own lookalike sidekick named Queasy. In a mind-boggling game of one-upmanship, both wrestlers soon had three little people on their sides and were ready to do battle in a traditional Survivor Series Match.
7 Clean Sweep: Jerry Lawler, Queasy, Sleazy, And Cheesy (1994)
It’s not often that a Survivor Series match consists mainly of wrestlers solely created for one match. Alas, we bring you the time “The Royal Family” took on “Clowns R’ Us” at Survivor Series 1994. The bout focused on the ever-growing feud between Doink, Jerry Lawler, and six little people, each representing either Lawler or Doink. In an unexpected outcome, thanks to some chicanery from Lawler, the villainous kings were able to stay together and defeat the clowns. In the end, Lawler, who had mistreated everyone involved, got what he deserved when all six miniature grapplers accosted the “Burger King” and Doink pied him in the face.
Fun fact: this was the first time in Survivor Series history that each member of the sweeping team scored an elimination for their team.
6 Shut Out: Big Boss Man, Prince Albert, Mideon, And Viscera (1999)
Here we have the single most embarrassing performance in Survivor Series history. After Big Show assaulted his own team before the match, doing the bulk of their work for them, the enormous team of Boss Man, Prince Albert, Mideon, and Viscera (who had better results under Doink makeup) was unable to take advantage of the odds. The Big Boss Man had been a thorn in the Big Show’s side for weeks leading up to the show, had crossed the line when he tricked the giant into thinking his father had died. This caused Big Show to go on an absolute tear. After almost instantly mauling Mideon (who was wearing some of the worst applied face paint I’ve ever seen), Albert, and Big Vis, Show set his sights on Boss Man. Knowing he didn’t stand a chance against the unstoppable behemoth, Boss Man walked away taking a count-out loss.
5 Clean Sweep: Big Show (1999)
Originally paired up with the baffling combination of The Blue Meanie, Taka Michinoku, and Funaki (SmackDown’s Number One Announcer!), Big Show decimated the trio backstage during Sunday Night Heat rendering them unable to compete. Wanting to get Boss Man all to himself, “The World’s Largest Athlete” opted to enter this match alone, and boy did it pay off! In what is currently the shortest Survivor Series Match of all time, clocking in at 1:26, the seven-footer dispatched Mideon, Albert, and Viscera in short order with massive chokeslams. Despite being unable to exact revenge on the man who had tormented him, the evening was far from over for the Big Show. Subbing in for an injured Steve Austin, he was put into the main event of the night and beat both Triple H and The Rock to win his first WWF Championship.
4 Shut Out: Edge, Randy Orton, Johnny Nitro, Gregory Helms, And Mike Knox (2006)
Here’s a great joke: Knox, Knox. Who’s there? Mike Knox. Mike Knox who? Exactly.
Kidding aside, there aren’t many people with a more depressing pay-per-view debut than that of Mike Knox. Three seconds after hitting Knox with a superkick, showing the WWE Universe how little he mattered, HBK asked his team, “Who was that?” Speaking of not mattering, also on the team was Gregory Helms. The former Hurricane was in the middle of a run so bland, his theme song began with him exclaiming his own name so the audience would know who he was. Throw in a pre-Morrison, pre-Mundo, pre-Impact Johnny Nitro and two thirds of your team isn’t looking so hot. The bright spot of the group was the titular Rated-RKO. Orton and Edge made for an awesomely hate-able pair, however even the two of them were unable to score any eliminations over the superior Team DX.
3 Clean Sweep: Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, And CM Punk (2006)
The 2006 Survivor Series cadre of Team DX will undoubtedly go down as one of the most stacked lineups in the history of the pay-per-view. Putting together one of the greatest tag teams of all time (The Hardy Boyz) with what WWE will tell you is one of the greatest tag teams of all time (Triple H and Shawn Michaels), and adding CM Punk to the mix was a recipe for greatness. Team DX worked as an impressively cohesive unit that ran roughshod over the cocky heels in Team Rated-RKO. To make up for being part of the first team ever to be shut out, Michaels was able to garner two huge eliminations, the aforementioned “Mike Knox Incident” (a great name for a band) as well as knocking off the Rated-R Superstar with Sweet Chin Music.
2 Shut Out: Paige, Layla, Summer Rae, And Cameron (2014)
The most recent instance in a shutout at Survivor Series is also the only time it has happened during a women’s match. Although we were still a few months away from the “Give Divas a Chance” movement and even further away from a full on “Women’s Revolution,” there was a great deal of talent in this match. Unfortunately, the majority of it was on the opposing team. If your team is going to have Cameron on it, consider yourself at an automatic disadvantage. Predictably, the former Funkadactl was the first to be removed from the bout. The rest of the women on her squad didn’t fare any better, with Layla and Summer Rae falling prey to Alicia Fox and Emma, respectively. Even Paige, one of the most talented women to ever get in the ring, failed to earn an elimination.
1 Clean Sweep: Alicia Fox, Natalya, Naomi, And Emma (2014)
It had been eight years since a team complete a clean sweep at the November pay-per-view, the longest drought ever between occurrences. Pairing Alicia Fox and Natalya, two of the most experienced women on the roster, with promising newcomers Naomi and Emma proved to be a brilliant move by WWE’s matchmakers. The women’s abilities complimented each other very well. Natalya’s technical prowess, Naomi’s athleticism, Emma’s fighting spirit, and Fox’s unpredictability all meshed together nicely. The winning team was able to showcase variety of moves with eliminations involving a roll-up, a backbreaker, Emma’s Emma-Lock submission, and Naomi’s devastating headscissors DDT. Never appearing to be in any real danger, the dominant combination was able to make it through the entire match without a single blemish.