Who’s the bigger ageless wonder: Bob Backlund, or Chuck Norris? Both men were in all their glory at the 1994 Survivor Series, standing out over much of the so-called “New Generation” that Vince McMahon had peddled as the alternative to the dinosaurs of yesteryear. And yet, it was limitless ass-kicker Norris (aged 54) and radically-reinvented Backlund (45) that came off as the most interesting performers at the last of the Thanksgiving Eve/Night presentations of Survivor Series.
The 1994 incarnation was one of those shows that, for the most part, just didn’t click. Some major storyline developments were in place (the face turn of the monstrous Diesel, the WWE Championship switch to Backlund), but otherwise, you had some goofy booking (particularly in the first two matches). A finish that put the popular Undertaker over strongly essentially rescued what had been a middling, uneven show to that point.
These certainly weren’t banner times for WWE. Diesel’s forthcoming World title reign would be compromised by a lack of strong challengers, as well as the compulsion to cast him as a smiling Hogan clone instead of a cool and dry-witted brute. There was an air of uncertainty headed into 1995, one that a rather muddled Survivor Series didn’t alleviate.
10. End Of An Era
The commentary team for the 1994 Survivor Series was an unusual one – the only pay-per-view in which Vince McMahon and Gorilla Monsoon donned headsets side by side. Both men were more apt to be the play-by-play announcers, but for this show, Monsoon filled the colour commentator’s chair. Sadly, for long time WWE fans, it would mark Monsoon’s final pay-per-view appearance as a commentator.
Going back to WrestleMania I in 1985, Monsoon would provide commentary for at least one match on 25 different WWE pay-per-views, a decade’s worth of events bearing the voice of one of WWE’s most recognizable hosts. In 1995, Monsoon would become the on-screen authority figure, taking the spot from longtime President Jack Tunney, who had been absent for most of 1994-95.