Ranking All 31 WWE Survivor Series PPVs

Every Survivor Series in WWE history, from worst to best. What are you waiting for?

We all love Survivor Series, don't we guys? We just love it. We're all proper wrestling fans here, and we won't have a bad word said against good old #WWESurvivorSeries. Some are suggesting Money in the Bank should replace it in the Big Four! Hedonists. Burn them.

Survivor Series is a charming old relic of WWE's PPV calendar, and it harks back to an altogether more innocent era. The inaugural event was in 1987, a time before we had entire shows themed around weapons, before hells in cells, before blood even existed, I think. It's funny to imagine now, but when Vince decided to stage a pay per view around the concept of elimination tag matches, it must have blown people's minds.

Yes, if one thing's for certain, it's that we all love Survivor Series.

But do we actually?

Survivor Series is, of course, the least anticipated of WWE's holy quartet. Let's imagine each as a social gathering, because I'm about to embark on a really big list, and I'm probably not going to enjoy actual real-life company for a while.

WrestleMania is that huge blowout you've had planned for months; the Rumble's a hilariously messy house party; SummerSlam is - naturally - the biggest party of the summer, but your dad's manning the barbecue so it could go either way.

But Survivor Series - poor old Survivor Series - is a team-building exercise at work. It features people mashed together, often regardless of prior friendships or like-mindedness. The winners are exhausted and few in number and everyone forgets about their new allegiances as soon as it's over.


That may be harsh, but what I'm trying to say is that Survivor Series suffers a reputation as archaic. It's been called old-fashion, and it's even been called (whisper it) boring.

Is this fair? It's time to find out.

Come with me as I rank all 31 of the damn things, from 1987 onwards. It's gonna be fun! Where will your favourite rank!? Only one way to find out! Let's go!

(I must warn you, I am now an expert on Survivor Series. I am the high priest of Survivor Series, and my life is devoted to its teachings. In gaining knowledge for this list, I have shut down all other avenues in my brain. All there is is Survivor Series, and all there ever shall be is Survivor Series. When I close my eyes, I see crowded ring aprons. I see beloved Canadians screwed out of their world titles. I see Randy Orton surviving, like, all the time. This is me now. My life is pain; my life is Survivor Series.)


31. Survivor Series 1993


Where: Boston Garden - Boston, Massachusetts

What: A litany of rescheduled matches, forced by the absence of Jerry Lawler and Doink the Clown - all topped off by Lex Luger leading 'The All-Americans' into battle against 'The Foreign Fanatics'. Those aren't joke names I've made up for the purpose of this article; the teams really were called that. The red white and blue squad consisted of Luger, the Steiner Brothers (who are patriotic, I guess...?) and The Undertaker. Who says evil zombie morticians can't also love apple pie, denim jeans and freedom.

The Good: The opener was admittedly decent, as The 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Jannetty survived for Team Razor. At one point Randy Savage got rolled up by IRS, which seems...an interesting booking decision. Jim Cornette oversaw a Smokey Mountain Wrestling tag showcase between the Heavenly Bodies and The Rock & Roll Express, and while the action was pretty good, the crowd couldn't have cared less.

The Bad: Like everything else, guys. The Hart Family plodded to a 30-minute victory over Shawn Michaels (standing in for Lawler) and four anonymous dudes in knight helmets. Doink's absence didn't deter WWF from dressing up The Bushwhackers and Men on a Mission as clowns. They steamrolled Bam Bam Bigelow's team with an offence based almost entirely around circus gimmickry, clearly the hidden secret to a clean sweep at Survivor Series. Interesting that no other teams have tried that since. The main event saw everyone's favourite real American - Luger, obviously - running through some dastardly foreigners. As thrilling as it sounds.

Star of the Show: The 1-2-3 Kid. Yes, X-Pac is our first standout performer, carrying much of the load in that opening traditional tag match. Bonus points for not dressing as a clown. There were too many clowns on this show. Too many clowns.

30. Survivor Series 1994


Where: Freeman Coliseum - San Antonio, Texas

What: This is the one with all the little people, but I'm amazed that remains the standout memory of Survivor Series '94. It was also the site of that Bret vs. Backlund submission match, one of the most opinion-dividing title bouts I've ever seen. The main event saw Undertaker face Yokozuna in a casket match, with Chuck Norris as the special outside referee!? What a sentence that is to write. Certainly an incident-filled show, but was it any good? (It's this early on the list; you've probably worked out the answer ahead of time.)

The Good: Hey, if you like watching Diesel absolutely destroy people, the opener is certainly for you. Big Sexy ran through everybody, before becoming totally distracted to argue with Michaels (understandable, I guess). The entire babyface team spilled to the outside to break up the fight and were all counted out - a dubious finish at best. Bundy and Bigelow scored one for big lads all over the world when they survived their match, while Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund was incredibly divisive - as we'll discuss in a second.

The Bad: It pains me to say this, but Undertaker and Yokozuna's casket match was an absolute stinker of a main event. Chuck Norris didn't even do anything cool, although I guess this was before the meme era when he regained all his powers. Lawler and Doink's duelling squads of little people didn't exactly steal the show either. The WWF Championship match was long as hell and can be a bit of a chore to watch in hindsight. It wasn't terrible by any means, but it's sad watching Bret lose the title because his mother threw in the towel. Still, there's enough here to drag the show off the bottom of this list.

Star of the Show: Bret Hart. The Hitman did his damnedest to make his match a compelling one, despite being asked to drop the WWF Championship to a 45-year-old Bob Backlund. Remarkable professionalism from the Canadian.

29. Survivor Series 1990


Where: Hartford Civic Center - Hartford, Connecticut

What: The site of one of the most significant debuts in WWE history, as the Gobbledy Gooker finally hatched from his oversized egg. Also the first appearance of some dude named 'The Undertaker' - I dunno. This whole show was built around a mega main event featuring all the night's survivors, and saw perennial underdogs Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior finally go over. About time those guys caught a break.

The Good: Fittingly, the match featuring Undertaker's debut was also the best on the show. The WWF hadn't seen anything quite like him before, and even though he didn't progress to the main event (eliminated after chasing Dusty Rhodes to the back), everybody immediately bought him as the new terrifying heel on the block. It also featured Ted DiBiase and Bret Hart wrestling their asses off; what's not to like about that?

The Bad: The booking, the booking, the booking. God, the booking. Yes, the action from Survivor Series '90 was lacklustre for the most part, but the storytelling really drags this PPV into the lower reaches of the list. Hogan, Warrior, Tito Santana, and Ted DiBiase were all sole survivors of their matches, which seems like overkill. 'The Visionaries' joined DiBiase in the main event thanks to the first clean sweep in event history, leading to a frankly nonsensical three-on-five showdown. This really bugs me; heel/babyface alignments are purely storytelling devices but were pretty clearly acknowledged by the line-ups here. My fourth wall, it lies in tatters. (Also I just feel sorry for Tito, eliminated inside two minutes before his invincible teammates marched to victory.)

Star of the Show: The Undertaker. Although far from the excellent wrestler he would become, 'Taker stole Survivor Series 1990 by virtue of his aura alone. A phenomenal debut.

28. Survivor Series 2010


Where: American Airlines Arena - Miami, Florida

What: Perhaps the biggest blown call in Survivor Series main event history. I can't emphasise enough how much Wade Barrett should have won the WWE Championship here. Instead, he lost to Randy Orton, which - as per the stipulation - led to John Cena being fired! We never saw him again (for at least 20 hours). This was really the only memorable thing on an otherwise decent show - so yeah, the event lived or died on its main. Uh oh.

The Good: Bryan vs. DiBiase Jr. was a perfectly acceptable opener, but match of the night goes to Team Mysterio vs. Team Del Rio. This bout featured great work from several guys, including both team captains, Kofi, Swagger, Cody, and a fresh-faced Drew McIntyre. Mysterio and Big Show proved a fun and effective little n' large partnership, dishing out KO punches and 619s aplenty en route to survival.

The Bad: I've already had my little tantrum about Wade Barrett not winning the WWE Championship here, but it bears repeating. This - along with (Team) Cena's victory over The Nexus a few months earlier - totally robbed the stable of their momentum, and it was all downhill thereafter. Elsewhere, Edge capped off his kidnapping and torture of Paul Bearer (as a babyface!?) with a draw against Kane - featuring that side-by-side double pinfall that never really pleases anyone. A huge shout out also to my boy Kaval - AKA indie legend Low Ki - who celebrated his one and only WWE PPV appearance by losing to Dolph Ziggler.

Star of the Show: Rey Mysterio. The dude has to be one of the most underrated and consistent PPV performers in WWE history and was the standout performer in the best match of the night. Booyaka booyaka, indeed.

27. Survivor Series 2013


Where: TD Garden - Boston, Massachusetts

What: The birth of The Big Dog. Survivor Series '13 marked the first of many 'Roman Reigns is the best wrestler' moments in WWE, as he was the sole survivor of a compelling opening tag match. The rest of the show felt like a big step back, to be honest. Cena won; Orton won; Cena and Orton had a big ol' standoff with their respective titles - and everyone on the internet went "This feud again!?".

The Good: Daniel Bryan and CM Punk formed the ultimate smarky dream team as they defeated Harper and Rowan in tag action, although it also represented a pretty clear attempt to shove D-Bry out of the main event scene after being screwed by Orton and Triple H at SummerSlam. The aforementioned Shield opener was super sweet, while Del Rio and Cena also put on a solid match.

The Bad: Total Divas vs. True Divas. In hindsight, by 2013 we were absolutely desperate for the Women's Revolution to roll around, as WWE treated us to a seven-on-seven elimination match featuring JoJo, Eva Marie, Rosa Mendes, and Aksana. The Bellas survived, in case you were wondering. Orton vs. Big Show put on a plodding main event, one made even more infuriating by the interference of The Authority.

Star of the Show: Roman Reigns. The Big Dog eliminated four of his team's five opponents (all with Spears). We were warned, guys. The warnings were absolutely there.

26. Survivor Series 1991


Where: Joe Louis Arena - Detroit, Michigan

What: A pretty rotten show from a pure in-ring standpoint, but one with plenty for fans to get excited for in terms of booking. Undertaker beat Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship - an utterly seismic result, as well a logical one, with Hulkamania well and truly on the wane. Ric Flair interfered in that match, and was the sole survivor in the show's opener, while the Legion of Doom stood tall to end the night. Elsewhere in the tag division, signs of friction between Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty began to show...

The Good: The opening match was the best on the show by a country mile, even if it was hamstrung by one of the most infamous finishes in Survivor Series history. Flair partook in one of his favourite hobbies - bumping like an absolute legend to the outside - while everyone else brawled in the ring. The referee decided to disqualify them all, leaving The Nature Boy victorious. Hogan vs. Undertaker, despite being uninspiring in terms of sheer wrestling, felt big. It was the first ever singles match at a Survivor Series PPV and saw an important moment in 'Taker's career, as he Tombstoned the Hulkster onto a steel chair (or, more accurately, in the general vicinity of a steel chair) to win his first ever WWF Championship.

The Bad: Uhh, everything else is probably worth skipping. The Nasty Boys survived a match alongside one half of the Beverly Brothers (way to let the team down, Beau), and Sgt. Slaughter led a team of loveable babyfaces to a clean sweep victory, just months after turning heel on all of America. The real downside to this show, however, is that much of the action appeared to be phoned in - almost as though the roster were saving themselves for a PPV just six-days later. They were: This Tuesday in Texas, where Hogan got his win back. He was stripped of the title the following week, but it still felt as though the damage had been done.

Star of the Show: The Undertaker. Truthfully, nobody really stood out in terms of actual in-ring action here - but 'Taker won his first ever WWF Championship with a win over the biggest fish in wrestling.

25. Survivor Series 2000


Where: Ice Palace - Tampa, Florida

What: Just absolute anarchy, not all of it good. Remember Austin trying to literally murder Triple H with a forklift? Of course you do! We also saw WWF Champion Kurt Angle trick his way to victory over The Undertaker by switching places with his real-life brother (seriously), and Lita bleeding all over the place hardway. A strangely inconsistent show in the middle of one of the hottest PPV years in company history.

The Good: So much crazy stuff happened on this show, the traditional Survivor Series matches were actually a nice palette cleanser. The Radicalz ground their way to victory over a ragtag babyface team, while Jeff Hardy emerged the sole survivor in a fast and furious bout later in the night. The Rock got the crowd behind him in very Rock fashion as he defeated Rikishi (who had dared to turn heel, despite being molten hot as a likeable midcarder).

The Bad: I mean, Stone Cold dropping Triple H's car from the hugely extended prongs of a forklift truck was certainly unforgettable - but it was a little too farfetched for my liking, even in the Attitude Era. However, the worst crime of the night by far was Undertaker's shocking burial of Kurt Angle. Even in victory, the obscenely talented WWF Champion was made to look incredibly weak. 'Taker deliberately pulled him up at the count of two, twice! It didn't even follow a Chokeslam or Last Ride; the first came after a Big Boot and Legdrop, and the second after a Sidewalk Slam. Craziness.

Star of the Show: Jeff Hardy. A match pitting The Hardys and Dudleys against Edge, Christian, and Right To Censor should have really been given more than 10 minutes - but Jeff was at least made to look like a star, surviving two-on-one odds to win the bout on his own.

24. Survivor Series 1999


Where: Joe Louis Arena - Detroit, Michigan

What: Backstage, Austin got ran down by a mystery assailant (later revealed to be Rikishi, later still revealed to be the lackey of Triple H) - and it totally overshadowed the rest of the show. Of course it did! Dig a little deeper, though, and you'll find a collection of noteworthy moments. The main event was overbooked Attitude Era fun, which kinda worked, even with the fans robbed of a Stone Cold appearance. Elsewhere, Kurt Angle made pro wrestling look like the easiest thing in the world to learn, as he made his eerily comfortable PPV debut against Shawn Stasiak.

The Good: As mentioned, the main event, a Triple Threat between Triple H, The Rock, and Big Show (stepping in for Austin) was certainly entertaining in a chaotic way. It succeeded despite - or perhaps with the aid of - run-ins from DX and Vince McMahon, the latter essentially winning the WWF Championship for Show. Chris Jericho bumped like a pretty blonde pinball in a great intergender match with Chyna, while a traditional Survivor Series bout - featuring Hardcore Holly as the sole survivor - was far better than it had any right to be on paper.

The Bad: A quick word of warning - the bad stuff on this show was bad. The team of Gangrel, Steve Blackman, Val Venis, and Mark Henry plodded to victory over The Mean Street Posse, with the latter two babyfaces surviving. (For real though, if I could change one thing in WWE booking history, it would be to give those boys a clean sweep. What a loveable lineup!) The worst match by far was an eight-woman tag, pitting Mae Young, Moolah, Tori, and Debra against Ivory, Luna, Jacqueline, and Terri. Typing that sentence felt like it took me about 20 minutes.

Star of the Show: Big Show. For better or worse, the world's largest athlete was the in-ring story of the night (the biggest overall talking point being, of course, the assault on Austin). Sole survivor in one match, first ever WWF Championship win in the second - not a bad night for the big man.

23. Survivor Series 2011


Where: Madison Square Garden - New York, New York

What: 'The Most Charismatic Tag Team of All Time' screamed the event poster for Survivor Series 2011 - but it wasn't referring to the actual most charismatic pairing in WWE history (Edge and Christian, in my book). It actually meant the ersatz duo of The Rock and John Cena, forced to tag together in the run-up to their WrestleMania XXVIII clash, with hilarious consequences. If your definition of hilarious involves a straightforward 20 minute victory over The Miz and R-Truth. Also, CM Punk's mammoth WWE title reign began on this show. It feels like I should have paid more attention to that, rather than Rock and Cena - but neglecting Punk for a match of considerably less substance seems oddly fitting.

The Good: That Punk match, of course. He and Del Rio shared a very solid chemistry, and that was on full display here. We all know how over Punk was in 2011, and even if Triple H and Kevin Nash did try to utterly destroy his momentum, he was simply too molten hot for that to happen. There was only one traditional Survivor Series match on the card, but it was a good one. Wade Barrett captained his heel team to victory alongside fellow survivor Cody Rhodes, and the boys even managed to quell a Randy Orton comeback (which is, I believe, five times harder than usual at Survivor Series).

The Bad: It was understandably exciting to see Cena and Rock on the same page, especially with their big 'Mania main event on the horizon - but the match was kinda underwhelming as a main event. Had this been a highlight-reel sprint earlier on the card, I'd have totally bought it, but I guess there's no way WWE were going to pair two of the biggest stars in wrestling history and not have them close the show. It's a tricky one. Also, Mark Henry deliberately got disqualified against Big Show and it suuucked.

Star of the Show: CM Punk. The man's 400+ day title reign began on this show and he was clearly delighted by it, leaping into the Madison Square Garden crowd to celebrate. Or he was desperately trying to create a significant moment, to grab just a little bit of the limelight from attention-juggernauts Rock and Cena.

22. Survivor Series 2012


Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse - Indianapolis, Indiana

What: I was going to spell out 'Survivor Series' in the phonetic alphabet, but it would have gotten way too tedious. Basically, this was the debut of The Shield - the three superstars who would go on to slowly take over the WWE main event scene. They interfered in the main event, helping CM Punk overcome Ryback and John Cena to retain the title he won a year earlier. Elsewhere, a messy backstory didn't manage to ruin a nice elimination tag match between Team Foley and Team Ziggler. Originally, Punk was supposed to captain the heel team - but he was instead forced to defend his title by the infuriatingly smug, heel-scuppering incarnation of Vince McMahon. Had Vince been watching a lot of detective shows around 2012-13? He eventually busted The Shield for helping out Punk in the same manner.

The Good: Sorry, that turned into quite a rant there. The show was the inverse of Survivor Series 1991, in that '91 was a poor in-ring event, but told a lot of good stories: 'Taker's triumph, Flair's craftiness, tension between The Rockers, and so on. 2012 was generally a good wrestling show, but little mattered beyond The Shield's debut. Ziggler won the big tag match, despite being hastily shoved in at the last minute. Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, Tyson Kidd, and Justin Gabriel flipped adorably to victory in a meaningless opener. Sheamus absolutely took it to Big Show (no seriously, watch the match!), but was disqualified when he thought he'd won the World Heavyweight Championship.

The Bad: Honestly, not a lot - and I feel quite bad having Survivor Series 2012 in the bottom 10 of this list, but as a show it felt so hollow. A common criticism of WWE booking is that it coasts once SummerSlam is out of the way, waiting until the Royal Rumble comes around in January to pick things up. This show's a pretty good example of that.

Star of the Show: Dolph Ziggler. The Shield's debut was easily the biggest (and arguably only) moment of the night, but Reigns, Ambrose, and Rollins weren't even on the card - so it's only right to give this to the show's best performer. Ziggler gets a lot of criticism, but if there's one thing he does brilliantly, it's going deep in traditional Survivor Series matches.

21. Survivor Series 1998


Where: Kiel Center - St. Louis, Missouri

What: Absolute Russo chaos. All the run-ins! All the swerves! Just chuck 'em in! Survivor Series '98 took the very bold step of staging a 14-man tournament in one night, with the vacant WWF Championship waiting for the eventual winner. There was way too much going on here to recap in full, but the show essentially revolved around Vince McMahon trying to keep The Rock and Steve Austin from winning the title - mainly by backing Mankind. Except this is peak Russo-era, so when Rock and Mankind made it to the final, Vince screwed Foley and revealed that he'd been aligned with Rocky all along. What!? Why!? Don't worry about it.

The Good: There were 14 matches on this show, not including four dark matches for the extra lucky live crowd - but everything apart from the main event was kept relatively short, so the show rattles along at a decent pace if you watch it back. I want to especially single out the clever use of the Big Boss Man, who initially seemed to be trying to get The Rock eliminated at every opportunity, but was actually helping him to the final. He fell victim to the Brahma Bull's roll-up in a matter of seconds, and later "accidentally" tossed him a weapon supposedly meant for Ken Shamrock.

The Bad: So many swerves, interferences and turns! Just so many! The main event reference to the previous year's screwjob was in decidedly poor taste, especially with Rock's use of the Sharpshooter. He turned heel, obviously, and the nature of the loss turned Mankind face out of sympathy. Elsewhere, the recently babyface Shane McMahon turned heel again to align with his father, screwing Stone Cold out of his semi-final bout. Kane got in on the overbooking action during the other semi-final, deliberately attacking The Rock in order to eliminate The Undertaker (who had beaten his brother earlier, with interference from Paul Bearer). To top things off, Boss Man was entered into the tournament twice: first deliberately getting himself DQd in order to soften up Austin with a weapon, then taking Triple H's place to deliberately lose to The Rock. Remember, this all happened in one night. I'm glad this paragraph is over.

Star of the Show: The Rock. I don't really agree with WWF's eagerness to rehash the Montreal Screwjob one year on, but it certainly made a star out of Rocky. His tournament matches were also the most consistently entertaining, especially those with Ken Shamrock and Mankind.

20. Survivor Series 2015


Where: Philips Arena - Atlanta, Georgia

What: Another tournament for the vacant WWE Championship, but far more sensible than its 1998 predecessor. Perhaps too sensible. Everyone smugly predicted how the bracket would go - and were then proven exactly right, as Roman Reigns beat Dean Ambrose in the final. Elsewhere, we celebrated 25 years of The Undertaker by watching him team up with Kane to beat the crap out of the Wyatts. Interestingly, Bray and co. had previously abducted both Brothers of Destruction, beating them unconscious and carrying them out of arenas. That sort of went nowhere. 'Taker and Kane must have teleported themselves to safety or something?

The Good: The actual wrestling was decent. WWE wisely held most of the tournament before the PPV itself, leading to a strong final four of Reigns, Ambrose, Kevin Owens, and Alberto Del Rio. All four men were capable of putting on good matches, and did. Undertaker was treated to a sick entrance for his tag match, with fire and symbols and all that good stuff.

The Bad: Here's something I forgot to mention at the start of this entry: Sheamus cashed in the goddamn Money in the Bank briefcase on Roman Reigns! That's right, a midcarder who actually said the words "get jiggy on these posers" earlier in the night (before losing) pinned Cena 2.0 to win the WWE Championship. If I remember rightly, there was an immediate internet-wide pop for Roman getting screwed over, before the dawning realisation of Sheamus as champion hit us.

Star of the Show: Dean Ambrose. It can't be Reigns after the backlash that greeted his win - and it can't be Sheamus after the even bigger backlash that greeted his win. Instead, I'll go for heroic loser Ambrose, who plays the 'close but no cigar' position better than most. See also the closing stages of the 2016 Royal Rumble.

19. Survivor Series 2017


What: Last year’s Survivor Series was a little bit weird. It was built upon Shane McMahon rolling into Raw with his SmackDown posse and beating everybody down gangland style. It’s amazing what you can get away with when you’re the boss’ son. Still, it certainly built hype for a series of inter-brand matches, some of which worked, and some of which didn’t. 

The Good: The best was AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar, which saw the Phenomenal One push Brock to his best match in a long time. The Shield and New Day also put on a show, while Asuka was the sole survivor of an intense tag match.

The Bad: Then came the main event, in which Triple H turned the entire concept of Survivor Series into his personal playground. Shane McMahon faced horrible odds against The Game, Kurt Angle, and Braun Strowman - only for Triple H to ambush Kurt and take him out of the match. But why!? We’re still not 100% clear on an explanation, other than “he was messing with his brother-in-law”. Anyway, Raw won, but Braun was a little irritated to say the least.

Star of the Show: AJ Styles. In recent years, compelling Brock Lesnar matches have become gradually more scarce. The WWE Champion's ability clearly motivated Lesnar into raising his game, allowing Styles to bump around like a pinball in an excellent match. He even got a hefty amount of offence in - no mean feat against the Beast Incarnate.

18. Survivor Series 2006

Where: Wachovia Center - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

What: This show is probably best remembered for a match I'm going to refer to as Cool Team DX vs. Crappy Loser Heels. It's the one where Shawn Michaels instinctively Superkicked and pinned Mike Knox before asking who he was, and whether he was even in the match. It's also the one where we got a taste of how over CM Punk was capable of being, as he received thunderous chants despite standing alongside DX and The Hardys.

The Good: This show was quite akin to junk food, in that the good stuff was enjoyable, but not really much use in terms of substance. Cool Team DX vs. Crappy Loser Heels was a fun clean sweep, while Undertaker and Mr. Kennedy tried to punch each other a lot in a First Blood match. The main event, while not the best, at least saw Batista in ultimate ass-kicking babyface mode. He bounced Booker T around (and threatened to Powerbomb Sharmell - what a nice guy!) en route to winning the World Heavyweight Championship.

The Bad: Remember Survivor Series '90, where Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior took a massive dump on everybody else? This show had quite a similar feel, as John Cena and Bobby Lashley steamrolled their way to survival in just over 10 minutes - despite their opponents including Big Show, Test, and Umaga - and MVP and Finlay, I guess. Earlier in the night, a team of legends took on the Spirit Squad and it was heartbreakingly underwhelming - although Arn Anderson played his classic outside enforcer role and almost saved the day. Because everything involving Arn Anderson is automatically better.

Star of the Show: Batista. CM Punk's early popularity was very evident here, but Survivor Series 2006 belonged to The Animal. His title win also led to that awesome WrestleMania showdown with The Undertaker, so no complaints here.

17. Survivor Series 2004


Where: Gund Arena - Cleveland, Ohio

What: Randy Orton's big babyface partaaay. After being the sole survivor in his match the year before, the Evolution outcast went two-for-two here, thereby winning his team the right to be Raw General Manager for one week each. I wish they'd do that stipulation again, to be fair. Jericho, Benoit, Maven, and Orton himself all took charge of a Raw, and I'll be honest, I have no idea what Maven did with his night - but you can be sure I'm heading to the WWE Network to dig that episode out.

The Good: The main event - which saw Orton and the boys overcome the heel team of Triple H, Edge, Batista, and Snitsky - was actually a great traditional Survivor Series match, as unnatural as Randy is in a top babyface role. The card's other elimination tag wasn't half-bad either and featured Cena chasing off Carlito before the bell had even sounded. Why was John so angry? Because Carlito's bodyguard had stabbed him in a freaking nightclub, that's why. Late 2004 WWE storylines did not mess around, apparently.

The Bad: We were only a few months into JBL's mammoth World Heavyweight Championship reign of doom at this stage, but fans had already started getting restless. His victory over Booker T here came after a ref bump and a belt shot, and sapped the crowd's energy. Elsewhere, Undertaker vs. Heidenreich was very...Undertaker vs. 'Heidenreichy.' Like, if you'd never seen Undertaker vs. Heidenreich, just imagine how Undertaker vs. Heidenreich would be. You've pretty much nailed it.

Star of the Show: Randy Orton. We all know that Randy's not great at portraying a sympathetic main event babyface, but also that he thrives around Survivor Series time. He is to Survivor Series what Shawn Michaels is to WrestleMania, which is...probably like a quarter as awesome, but still a good thing. Well done, Randall!

16. Survivor Series 2014


Where: Scottrade Center - St. Louis, Missouri

What: A one match show, to be honest. The main event saw Dolph Ziggler being a hero, the unbelievable debut of Sting, and the demise of The Authority (for about a month, anyway). It should probably be remembered as one of the most dramatic elimination matches in the history of the PPV, the stakes only really higher in 2001 - which we'll get to in a short while. A special shoutout must be given to John Cena for his strategy in picking teammates. He just decided to recruit large men (Big Show, Erick Rowan, and Ryback), and presumably picked Dolph Ziggler because he loves turning it on at Survivor Series.

The Good: The main event, although a hilariously overbooked mess, was genuinely compelling - especially when Sting strode out as the icing on the cake. Earlier in the night, Dean Ambrose lost his mind against Bray Wyatt and decided to simply batter him with foreign objects, setting up a rematch at TLC. It's always nice when Dean remembers he's supposed to be a crazed lunatic, as opposed to a fun lovin' guy who just does stuff, Maggle!

The Bad: The rest of the show was either mundane or actively bad. Nikki Bella won the Divas Championship from AJ Lee in a matter of seconds, a clear nod to Daniel Bryan's humiliating loss at WrestleMania 28 (which AJ herself was involved in). Elsewhere, in a match the world had been waiting to see, Adam Rose and The Bunny defeated the pleasingly-named Slator-Gator - Heath Slater and Titus O'Neil - in a match that couldn't have felt more like filler if it tried.

Star of the Show: Dolph Ziggler. One again, Ziggler proved himself to be an absolute dude at Survivor Series with a Shawn Michaels-esque performance. Even though he needed the help of Sting to get across the finish line, he pinned Kane, Luke Harper, and Seth Rollins in succession. Bravo!

15. Survivor Series 2003


Where: American Airlines Center - Dallas, Texas

What: A show full of stuff. Lots of stuff happened at Survivor Series '03, good and bad. Vince McMahon beat The Undertaker in a Buried Alive match (lol), signalling the end of BikerTaker. Team Bischoff defeated Team Austin, costing Stone Cold his position as co-General Manager of Raw. Kane survived an onslaught of tiny little Shane McMahon punches to throw him in an ambulance. Finally, Goldberg retained his World Heavyweight Championship against Triple H in an 11-minute match - or in Goldberg years, an incredibly, incredibly long contest.

The Good: Team Austin vs. Team Bischoff was brilliant, largely due to the heroic attempts of Shawn Michaels to overcome the odds. HBK is at his best when he almost wins but doesn't (see the 2010 Royal Rumble, and both WrestleMania epics against 'Taker) - and this show was no exception. The other traditional elimination match also managed to be decent, despite including Nathan Jones, while Eddie and Chavo Guerrero were able to squeeze an entertaining seven minutes out of the Basham Brothers.

The Bad: Triple H and Goldberg, although both legends of the business in their own right, were never able to truly click in the ring together. Also, despite the interference of Kane, I can never get over the fact that Vince McMahon has a Buried Alive match victory over The Undertaker.

Star of the Show: Shawn Michaels. HBK did his HBK thing, which was kinda similar to Dolph Ziggler at Survivor Series 2014 but slightly better. By the way, Randy Orton stood tall as the sole survivor yet again. That man was made for this pay per view.

14. Survivor Series 1992


Where: Richfield Coliseum - Richfield Township, Ohio

What: No Hogan, no Warrior - yet WWF somehow managed to scramble a respectable show together. Warrior was replaced in the marquee tag match by Mr. Perfect, who teamed with Randy Savage to face Ric Flair and (a rather inexperienced) Razor Ramon. What a collection of talent! However, the main consequence of the card reshuffle saw Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels' title match bumped to the main event - setting the scene for one of the most iconic feuds of the '90s.

The Good: Survivor Series '92 is generally regarded as a two-match show. Bret and Shawn weren't as comfortable with each other as they would go on to become (before their mutual hatred tore the entire wrestling landscape apart). Despite this, they wrestled a long, compelling main event, and Hart was finally able to force HBK to submit to the Sharpshooter. The big tag match lived up to its billing - at least until the finish, which saw Flair and Razor spoil the party by getting themselves disqualified. Boo those men.

The Bad: The card also featured two gimmick matches, which looked very fun on paper, but ended up being absolute toilet-fodder. Boss Man took on Nailz in a Nightstick on a Pole match. Did the weapon feature in the finish? No it did not, ladies and gentlemen. Later, Undertaker laboured to victory over Kamala in a five-minute casket match, which absolutely felt longer than that.

Star of the Show: Bret Hart. The Hitman showed his class and experience in a drawn-out main event, bumping all over the place for Shawn before rallying to pick up a big win. He also made friends with Santa.

13. Survivor Series 1997


Where: Molson Centre - Montreal, Quebec, Canada

What: Come on now; this event should need no introduction. The Montreal Screwjob is one of the most infamous incidents in the history of pro wrestling, as Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels, and Earl Hebner (cowardly, cowardly Earl Hebner) conspired to legitimately screw Bret Hart out of the WWF Championship. Also, a bunch of other matches happened, but does anyone even care about that?

The Good: Michaels vs. Hart was obviously good while it lasted, but the finish overshadowed absolutely everything that came before. As far as traditional Survivor Series action, two of the four elimination matches impressed. One saw Team Canada face Team USA in a highly-charged, patriotic affair (featuring the debut of my absolute boy Steve Blackman). The other was an enjoyable exhibition in big, scary men beating the crap out of each other, as the Legion of Doom, Ahmed Johnson, and Ken Shamrock joined forces to take on The Nation of Domination.

The Bad: The Screwjob, of course - although it's hard to imagine what wrestling would look like these days if it hadn't happened. Elsewhere, Kane made his PPV debut against Mankind, with the entire match contested under an atmosphere-killing red light. Kinda like if Sin Cara was seven foot tall, and got over as much as WWE originally expected. Also, The Truth Commission clashed with The Disciples of Apocalypse in a 17-minute match that was just...maaan.

Star of the Show: The British Bulldog. Davey Boy wrestled his backside off to emerge as the sole survivor for Team Canada - despite, y'know, being British.

12. Survivor Series 2008


Where: TD Banknorth Garden - Boston, Massachusetts

What: Both John Cena and Edge came out of nowhere to win titles. One was more awesome than the other; no prizes for guessing which. This was the night of the great Jeff Hardy bait-and-switch, where he was found unconscious in a hotel room before the show, only for the Rated R Superstar to take his place and scoop the WWE Championship from under the nose of Triple H (and Vladimir Kozlov, as if he was going to win anyway).

The Good: The WWE Championship shenanigans were wild and entertaining, unless you're a massive Jeff Hardy supporter - not the smallest fan club in the world. The show also featured two good traditional tag matches. The heels won one, with Randy Orton, of course, surviving (although not on his own this time - props to Cody Rhodes). The unlikely babyface trio of HBK, Rey Mysterio, and The Great Khali battled their way through the other, and I'm immediately keen for a WWE Network special focusing on their friendship.

The Bad: As decent as the main event was, it was immensely frustrating to see John Cena knock off Chris Jericho to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Y2J was coming off the back of his amazing feud with Shawn Michaels, while Cena was returning from injury - so of course Big Match John hit the FU for a comprehensive victory. On the undercard, Big Show and Undertaker had a casket match which wasn't great, and the women's division battled through an unspectacular elimination tag - but neither were horrible, truth be told

Star of the Show: Edge. A worthy addition to the 'Edge comes out of absolutely nowhere to win a world title' collection. Opportunism pays off, kids. Start betraying your friends and ambushing your enemies, and one day you too could pretend to have sex with your girlfriend in the middle of a packed arena.

11. Survivor Series 1989


Where: Rosemont Horizon - Rosemont, Illinois

What: The first Survivor Series to really divide opinion, after '87 and '88 both wowed those excitable Golden Era fans. It was especially notable for Ultimate Warrior stepping into the spotlight, as he truly broke free from the midcard with a huge performance in the main event - emerging as sole survivor against the dastardly (and entertaining) Heenan Family. Hogan was the sole survivor in his match too. Because obviously.

The Good: The main event was great fun, especially with the mouthwatering prospect of Warrior vs. Heenan as a final showdown - a perfect example of the antagonistic, cowardly heel finally getting his comeuppance. Note the lack of forced disrobing and BBQ sauce, Cena. Rick Rude's 'Rude Brood' defeated 'Roddy's Rowdies', with Mr. Perfect as the deserved sole survivor. Props to the booking team for managing to avoid the 'Hogan squashes everyone' trap - by instead having most of his opponents get themselves disqualified in their desperation to attack him. Different, at least.

The Bad: To be fair, nothing on this show was outright bad - but the weakest match was definitely the opener, which saw Dusty Rhodes and Brutus Beefcake outlast a heel team including The Honky Tonk Man and Rick Martel. Clearly, despite not being of the highest quality, it still had the feel-good factor in its favour. Honestly, the biggest crime this PPV committed was being the third Survivor Series ever; the uniqueness had worn off, and it didn't really stack up to its predecessors. Still, nothing was actively unwatchable.

Star of the Show: Ultimate Warrior, who didn't just announce himself as a bonafide main eventer, but also eliminated Andre the freaking Giant in a matter of seconds (by knocking him to the outside - a tremendous visual). I was tempted to give this to Arn Anderson for Spinebusting (Spinebustering?) the hell out of Shawn Michaels, but resisted.

10. Survivor Series 2005


Where: Joe Louis Arena - Detroit, Michigan

What: Brand warfare, bitches! Sorry, I got quite excited there. You see, if this list has taught us anything, it's that Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels are two of the best when it comes to epic performances in traditional Survivor Series matches. Well guess what happened on this show?! That's right, both men - one representing SmackDown, the other representing Raw - squaring off as the final two of a wonderful elimination bout. Sometimes the pieces just fall into place.

The Good: The main event is well worth a viewing, and stay tuned after the bell for a vengeful return. (The vengeful return is The Undertaker. It's usually The Undertaker in these situations.) Triple H and Ric Flair took one another to the limit in a bloody Last Man Standing match, which was admittedly a little uncomfortable to watch, but also enthralling at times. The women's division was also well represented by Trish Stratus and Melina here, who made the most of the five-or-so-minutes they were given.

The Bad: Teddy. Long. Versus. Eric. Bischoff. Nobody predicted the clash of the General Managers to be a good match - and hey, guess what?! It wasn't. Not even a Boogeyman run-in could save the day, and I love me some Boogeyman. A WWE Championship match between John Cena and Kurt Angle sounds potentially amazing, but the booking was all wrong. Kurt, despite being the heel, could easily have gone toe-to-toe with the far less experienced Cena. Instead, he resorted to cheating with the help of special guest referee Daivari, before eventually getting his comeuppance. It was quite a damp squib.

Star of the Show: Randy Orton. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the Legend Killer really knows how to steal the show at a Survivor Series pay per view. His big win also segued nicely into a feud with The Undertaker and put a crowd-popping cap on the show despite the heel victory.

9. Survivor Series 1987


Where: Richfield Coliseum - Richfield Township, Ohio

What: The first ever Survivor Series: a then-groundbreaking procession of long, multi-layered tag matches featuring the larger-than-life stars of the Golden Era. Coming off the back of the mammoth WrestleMania III, this cluttered extravaganza featured Hogan and Andre clashing in the main event (alongside their chosen tag partners, of course). Needless to say, it felt huge. Not bad for a PPV created entirely to overshadow WCW's Starrcade.

The Good: From top to bottom, the booking of the show was very intelligent. We had a feel-good babyface victory to start things off, as Savage, Roberts, and Steamboat (what a trio!) survived - sending the cowardly Honky Tonk Man running for the hills. The women's match followed, in which the WWF audience was wowed by Japanese imports Itsuki Yamazaki and Noriyo Tateno - The Jumping Bomb Angels. A gargantuan 20-man bout followed, which somehow managed to be more than watchable despite clocking in at 37-minutes. Finally, the main event saw Hulk Hogan shockingly counted out halfway through - a booking masterstroke. Andre saw off the brave efforts of Bam Bam Bigelow to become Survivor Series' first ever sole survivor, and his planet-sized feud with the Hulkster rumbled on.

The Bad: The show hasn't aged too well, as much of the wrestling on display was of a far lower quality than modern audiences are used to. I'm talking to you, every single competitor in the women's match apart from Yamazaki and Tateno. Additionally, the huge tag match, although partly fun, was a pretty exhausting affair in hindsight.

Stars of the Show: The Jumping Bomb Angels. To claim these women were ahead of their time would be a massive understatement. The Japanese duo legitimately wouldn't look too out of place in the modern era (and were certainly way better than many female WWE superstars of recent years - *coughEvaMariecough*).

8. Survivor Series 2001


Where: Greensboro Coliseum - Greensboro, North Carolina

What: The merciful end to the disastrous Invasion angle - but also a pretty damn decent pay per view in its own right. Yes, the entire undercard was essentially a prelude to that epic Team WWF vs. Alliance showdown, but the warring factions theme really helps set this apart in the history of Survivor Series. Although the Invasion's ends came nowhere close to justifying the means, the blowoff at least had the courtesy to be entertaining.

The Good: Yes, it was ridiculously overblown in terms of scale and drama, but the main event was impossible not to enjoy - even if The Alliance were represented by names far more synonymous with Titan Towers, such as Austin, Angle, and Vince McMahon's literal son. Although a long match, it was kept hot with various flashpoints, including Jericho taking his ball and going home, Angle defecting, and Rocky being the big beautiful hero we all love him to be. Every other match had to be content with second fiddle, but The Hardys and Dudleys did their best to steal the show with a compelling cage war. (I've still never forgiven Jeff for that boneheaded Swanton. All you needed to do was climb down!)

The Bad: The rest of the show was largely underwhelming, with matches like Edge vs. Test and Regal vs. Tajiri failing to capture the imagination (although the latter really should have been given more than a couple of minutes, come on now). The Women's Championship match and Immunity Battle Royal were similarly shoddy, but if ever a show openly revolved around one match, this was it. Also, like, almost every Royal Rumble.

Star of the Show: The Rock. With Austin still heeling it up (magnificently, by the way, even if fans weren't ready to see him play the bad guy), The Rock stepped up to become WWF's guy. Of course he handled it. He's The Rock.

7. Survivor Series 2009


Where: Verizon Centre - Washington, D.C.

What: A strong Survivor Series peppered with memorable moments - most notably the epic main event between Cena, Triple H, and Michaels. With just about everyone expecting DX to work together, HBK blew the roof off by immediately Superkicking The Game out of the ring. Earlier in the night, Kofi Kingston made his case for a main event push, showing great babyface fire as he became sole survivor and stunned Mr. November. That's Randy Orton, in case you haven't been paying attention. Yes, I just invented that nickname and really want to get it over. Let's move on.

The Good: Mostly covered above - the main event and Team Orton vs. Team Kingston showdown were unquestionable highlights. A special mention must also be given to the gloriously dickish Batista, who was in full heel mode having turned on tag partner Rey Mysterio one month prior. He absolute decimated the underdog in an entertaining five-minute squash. At the start of the night, The Miz, Sheamus, and Drew McIntyre survived against a fun team of babyfaces, and were kind enough to seem young and exciting in the process.

The Bad: The women's elimination tag match was ugly, lasting a difficult 10 minutes as Melina and Mickie James survived. In the World Heavyweight Championship bout, Undertaker took on Chris Jericho and Big Show - triumphing when the heels were predictably unable to co-exist.

Star of the Show: Shawn Michaels. I really, really wanted to give this to my boy Kofi Kingston - his one-two elimination of CM Punk and Randy Orton is always exciting to revisit - but HBK stole the show yet again. What a main event.

6. Survivor Series 2007


Where: American Airlines Arena - Miami, Florida

What: A card built around two huge matches: an Undertaker Hell in a Cell match, and Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship (and, presumably, the King of Survivor Series crown). We only saw one traditional elimination tag match this time around, but it was a good one, as Triple H and Jeff Hardy dug their heels in to survive five-on-two odds. We also saw Hornswoggle vs. The Great Khali, a match you just know Vince McMahon was itching to book from the moment both men were on the same roster.

The Good: HBK and Orton pulled it out of the bag - of course they did - but Michaels' performance was particularly noteworthy. Triple H and Jeff Hardy busted their asses to make the show's sole Survivor Series match a good one, while CM Punk defended his ECW Championship in an entertaining curtain-jerker. Batista and Undertaker threatened to deflate everything with a fairly ordinary Hell in a Cell main event, but Edge showed up (disguised as a cameraman, the cheeky devil) to end the night with a bang. Ooh, I love me some ultimate opportunism.

The Bad: Take a seat, because this may shock you: Great Khali vs. Hornswoggle was not a good match. We were also made to suffer a sloppy 10-diva tag match - one of those booking decisions where the writers clearly hadn't bothered to build many feuds, so threw all the women together and gave them about three-minutes to work a miracle.

Star of the Show: Shawn Michaels. In the clash of Survivor Series specialists, HBK went above and beyond to steal the show. It's almost like he gets a kick out of being the best wrestler or something.

5. Survivor Series 1988<

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Jack G. King

Written by Jack G. King

Head of News at Cultaholic.com | [email protected]