Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
History of the Survivor Series
The Survivor Series has a long and storied history and is the WWE’s second longest running pay-per-view event. It was started in 1987 on the heels of the success of Wrestlemania III. The event started as a five on five tag team elimination match. When one person lost on a team, he was eliminated and had to leave. That left the team with a distinct disadvantage. The match would continue until all of the members of a team were eliminated.
It started on Thanksgiving night as a way to stop Jim Crockett Promotions from showing the Starrcade pay-per-view as Vince threatened cable companies with not allowing them to show the upcoming Wrestlemania IV if they showed the Starrcade pay-per-view.
Only a small number showed Starrcade and the following year, Jim Crockett sold his promotion to Ted Turner and NWA/WCW was born.
In 1991, the event was shown on the night before Thanksgiving and featured the first one on one bout at the event. By 1992, it was just like all of the other pay-per-views with only a couple of Survivor Series matches and the rest were regular singles and tag team matches.
The 1997 Survivor Series featured one of the most talked about matches of all time when the match dubbed “The Montreal Screw Job” saw Bret Hart lose his World Title to Shawn Michaels. Michaels put Hart in the “sharpshooter” leg lock and Vince McMahon ordered the bell to be rung and the decision was announced that Bret had submitted when in reality, he hadn’t. Bret Hart had made public that he was going to WCW and Vince didn’t want him to take the championship belt there with him. Now every time that Michaels appeared on a card in Montreal, he was basically booed out of the building. It is unclear if Michaels was a part of the decision to screw Bret Hart out of the title but the fans didn’t care. He won the title and that is all that mattered to the angered fans of Montreal, Canada.
A couple of interesting facts about the Survivor Series:
They featured the debuts of the Undertaker, Kurt Angle and the Rock.
In 2002, it featured the debut of the Elimination Chamber match.
The WWE Title changed hands seven times with the first being the Undertaker pinning Hulk Hogan thanks to interference from Ric Flair.
The Survivor Series is still going strong as a pay-per-view and went from being a Thanksgiving night staple to just being a November staple and is just as anticipated as Wrestlemania and the Royal Rumble every year.