Survivor Series, along with WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and The Royal Rumble, is one of the "Big Four" pay-per-view events on the WWE calendar every year.
However, given how huge WrestleMania is, how SummerSlam has been built up to be the "WrestleMania of the summer," and how unique the whole Royal Rumble format is; Survivor Series can almost feel like the forgotten child of the "Big Four" family. But it shouldn't be.
With the 31st edition of the pay-per-view coming up on Nov. 19, 2017, in Houston, Texas, it seemed like the perfect time to look back over the last 30 Survivor Series' and the five massive moments that have defined the show. Moments you may have forgotten actually occurred at a Survivor Series.
In 1980, the third season of the TV show Dallas ended with J.R. Ewing being shot by an unseen assailant. "Who Shot J.R.?" was the question on everyone's mind all summer until the culprit was finally revealed during season four. Nineteen years later, the WWE had their own version of a mystery soap-opera moment.
The 1999 Survivor Series had a planned triple-threat match between The Rock, Triple H and Steve Austin. However, prior to said main event, Austin suffered a hit-and-run attack from a car. It was a pretty shocking moment at the time—even for the Attitude Era. Most people agree that the months that followed—leading up to the reveal of "who ran over Stone Cold"—had some of the best storyline work the WWE has ever done.
Although, most people also agree that the eventual reveal that it was Rikishi who said: "I did it for The Rock" was a big letdown, pretty lame, and a huge waste of a great months-long build!
We probably won't be seeing any major debuts this coming Nov. 19, 2017, but in the past, Survivor Series has been where some very, very major debuts have taken place. Now, no one probably could have predicted how big and iconic The Undertaker and The Rock would end up being. But they both, along with some others, got their starts at a Survivor Series.
The Undertaker made his debut at the 1990 Survivor Series when he was revealed to be the mystery member of the team lead by Ted "The Million Dollar Man" DiBiase against the team headed by Dusty Rhodes.
Six years later, The Rock (Rocky Maivia at the time) had his first WWE match at the 1996 Survivor Series. His team consisted of himself, Jake Roberts, Marc Mer,o and Barry Windham against the team of Triple H, Jerry Lawler, Goldust, and Crush. The Rock ended up winning the match for his team and was the lone survivor.
The recent reforming of The Shield has been a major storyline on WWE TV recently, but it was back at the 2012 Survivor Series that Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose made their debuts as The Shield when the stable interrupted the Championship match between CM Punk, Ryback, and John Cena. The Hounds of Justice made its mark on the event with a triple-powerbomb of Ryback through the announce table.
Seeing Sting in a WWE ring was something that wrestling fans had been hoping to see for 13 years ever since Vince McMahon had purchased the WCW. It finally happened in 2014 when Sting put his mark on the main event by appearing out of the darkness to help Team Cena defeat Team Authority (lead by Triple H).
In 1991, just one year after his debut, The Undertaker was back at the Survivor Series pay-per-view and this time he was in a WWE Championship match against one of, if not the, biggest star in the industry, Hulk Hogan.
Not only that, but The Undertaker won the match (Hogan lost very rarely) and became WWE Champion. He did it with a little help from a steel chair and the other guy you could argue was the biggest star in the industry, Ric Flair.
The win over The Hulkster gave The Deadman a huge bump and one that he would build on for a quarter of a century on his way to becoming a WWE icon!
The Elimination Chamber match at the 2002 Survivor Series was a huge moment for two reasons. The first one being that it was the first ever Elimination Chamber match. The new match-type and structure was introduced by Raw GM Eric Bischoff and it was meant to combine the elimination format of Survivor Series, the countdown gimmick of The Royal Rumble, and the enclosed structure style of WCW's War Games.
The second reason this match was such a huge moment was that Shawn Michaels had, due to a back injury, been out of action for almost 5 years. He fought Triple H a couple months prior at SummerSlam, but in this new structure and match-type, HBK would have to deal with WWE Champion, Triple H, as well as Chris Jericho, Kane, Booker T, and Rob Van Dam.
Of course, it came down to Michaels versus the other co-founder of DX and his former best friend, Triple H, for the belt. It took some "Sweet Chin Music" for HBK to finally put Triple H down for good and get the pin, thus becoming champion after a long five years away. It was a great match, a great comeback, and a great story.
The Montreal Screwjob isn't just one of the biggest moments that defined the Survivor Series. It is one of the biggest moments that defined the WWE! In fact, there are probably many who know The Montreal Screwjob, but maybe didn't realize, or remember, that it took place at a Survivor Series pay-per-view. There are a few different versions of the story depending on who you talk to, but the here are the basic.
The year was 1997. Bret Hart was on his way out of the WWE and headed for a big contract in WCW. Given that he was leaving the company, Vince McMahon wanted Hart to drop his championship belt to Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series. Hart, who is Canadian, didn't want to lose the belt to Michaels in front of a Canadian audience and said he would lose and drop the belt after Survivor Series.
Instead, McMahon did what he thought was right for business. He, Michaels, and the referee for the match went behind Hart's back and made a plan to have The Hitman lose that night. The referee called for a quick bell as Michaels had Hart in a sharpshooter even though Hart didn't tap out.
And that is when things got REAL!
Hart was shocked and furious, spitting in McMahon's face right outside the ring, tearing up the set, and even punching McMahon backstage.
The WWE is often at its best when there is at least a little bit of reality to their stories and The Montreal Screwjob had more reality than maybe ever before or since.
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