Survivor Series is considered one of the ‘big four’ pay-per-view events, along side WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Royal Rumble. Naturally, the pressure is always on the creative team to make Survivor Series a memorable show.
Though Survivor Series has left a handful of memorable bouts, some of the main events in the pay-per-view’s history had us shaking our heads. These matches had plenty of hype going in, but wound up being complete disappointments.
Sometimes it’s the chemistry between the superstars. It could also just be how the finish was scripted, or even the superstars just weren’t worthy of highlighting the event. With that all said, here’s a look at the five worst main event matches in Survivor Series history.
5. Batista vs. King Booker (2006)
Batista was never reliable to put on a great match, but he was pushed into the main event picture in 2005. Because Vince McMahon notoriously loves wrestlers with big muscles, Batista got to highlight the 2006 edition of Survivor Series, where he faced World Heavyweight Champion King Booker for the title.
These two had real life beef backstage (including a real fistfight that Booker T allegedly won), and the match itself was far from exciting. Everyone was pretty sure Batista would win and it wasn’t anything to celebrate. He was the champion not long before the match, and failed to really get over as the face that ran the place.
Nonetheless, nobody was surprised – and few were overly content – when The Animal pinned King Booker to win the championship. If the Team DX vs. Team Rated-RKO was the main event instead, 2006 would not be on the list.
4. Triple vs. Goldberg (2003)
The Triple H and Goldberg feud highlighted the later years of The Attitude Era, but boy did it ever last way too long. Here we had a pair of fan favorites, though The Game was better on the mic than in the ring. As for Goldberg? The man has always proven he can’t put on a good match that lasts over two minutes.
Triple H and Goldberg squared off for the World Heavyweight Championship. Goldberg had to win, but the match couldn’t be too short. So they had him win in 11:45 – still fairly short time for a main event.
This match was all-around disappointing, leaving much to be desired. We saw Kane face Shane McMahon, Team Bischoff vs. Team Austin, and Vince McMahon vs. The Undertaker. All of those would have been better suited for the main event, but we got another dose of an uneventful Triple H and Goldberg bout.
3. Ultimate Warriors/Rockers vs. Heenan Family (1989)
In a card that that featured five different four-on-four elimination tag matches, the creative team chose to have The Ultimate Warrior and Jim Neidhart team up with The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty). They went up against The Heenan Family consisting of Arn Anderson, Andre the Giant, Haku and Bobby Heenan.
This match featured a bunch of wrestlers that weren’t actually good wrestlers. The teams didn’t make a whole lot of sense, and it was obviously going to be a victory for Warrior’s team.
There were too many slow wrestlers who just couldn’t bring the “wow” factor in this one. The pace and choreography were terrible, making this main event a rather forgettable one.
2. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar (2016)
Goldberg returned to the WWE in 2016 to face Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series which was first match with the company in 12 years. Though their bout at WrestleMania XX was one of the biggest disasters ever, the creative team allowed the two unstoppable forces to highlight the 2016 edition of Survivor Series.
In a shocking result, Goldberg squashed Lesnar in 1:26, hitting him with two spears and a jackhammer to conquer The Beast quickly. But really? Fans paid money and we all got hyped to see these men fight for 1:26?
The result also didn’t make much sense. Lesnar is a UFC fighter, while Goldberg was a 49-year-old who hadn’t wrestled in over a decade. Goldberg last wrestled in April, making him a unfulfilling candidate to end Lesnar’s run as the unbeatable force. What a horrid, awful match.
1. Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (1997)
It’s the biggest controversy in WWE history – the Montreal Screwjob.
In this case, Bret Hart was to face Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. Hart was about to leave for WCW, but Vince McMahon agreed to A) let Hart beat his real-life rival in his home country, then B) drop the title on the next day’s episode of Raw. It was to be the ideal send-off for Hart.
However, McMahon became concerned that Hart wouldn’t fulfill his promise and would take the belt with him to WCW. Backstage he conspired with Michaels, Triple H, Shane McMahon and referee Earl Hebner to “screw” Hart over.
Michaels locked in the Sharpshooter submission on Hart. Even though the Hitman didn’t tap out, McMahon ordered Hebner to ring the bell which he did. Michaels won the match, Hart spat in McMahon’s face, knocked him out backstage and left the WWF on bitter terms.
It was an ugly moment for the history, with no real winners. Hart’s legendary run with the company ended on a sour note, while McMahon and Michaels tainted some form of their respective reputations and legacies. Thankfully they all buried the hatchet and are friends today. But the Screwjob still ruined what was to be a glorious 1997 edition of Survivor Series.
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