29 years ago, WWE debuted a new concept that would pit teams of 5 against each other in an elimination tag match. Originally planned as a way to continue and create feuds rather than end them. 1991 saw the first WWF title defence and in 1998 the first time a traditional survivor series match didn’t occur, instead a tournament was held to determine the new WWF champion. In recent years the Survivor Series has lost its original touch, with traditional matches being an after-thought. In 2010 WWE even considered dropping the event, until a fan petition reverted the decision. Interestingly, it has also marked the debut of several superstars that made a huge impact on the WWE in the longer term. Today we look at the most important Survivor Series debuts.
1990 – Undertaker
It is amazing to think how a fairly cartoony character like the Undertaker was able to stand the test of time over two decades, that is exactly what Mark Calloway was able to do. Alongside his manager Brother Love he competed as part of Ted BiBiasse team at the Survivor Series. Causing chaos in the ring before being counted out. A year later the Deadman defeated the immortal Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship.
1990 – Gobbeldy Gooker
Whose cracking idea was this? In one of those WTF moments, poor Hector Guerrero’s career was put to shame dressed as a turkey. Whilst it wasn’t great this is something we sadly all remember.
1996 – Rocky Mavia
In a time when Steve Austin was slowly capturing the imagination of the fans, an overly smiley third generation star wasn’t exactly the best way for Rocky Mavia to debut, none the less the Great One was born a “Blue Chipper” at the 1996 Survivor Series event in a traditional Survivor Series match. Two years later, now known as The Rock, Rocky became the corporate WWF champion.
1999 – Kurt Angle
Other than Stone Cold being run over the 1999 Survivor Series wasn’t exactly memorable, one remarkable moment in retrospect was the debut of the finest technical wrestler of the modern era Kurt Angle. The Olympic gold medallist, who ruled out a professional wrestling career after being invited to ECW in 1996, made his WWF debut against Shawn Stasiak, beginning the start of an impressive WWE career before moving to TNA in 2006. Looking back, those fans who chanted boring must regret that now!
2002 – Scott Steiner
During the era of Mattitude, a fully packed Madison Square Garden’s stood in awe, when the famous sirens that signalled the arrival of Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner, who destroyed Matt Hardy and his protégée Shannon Moore. Steiner’s run started off well placed into a feud with Triple H over the world title, over dwindled pretty quickly into nothing. Regardless of his WWE run, Big Poppa Pump made the entire WWE universe “Holla” that Sunday evening in November.
2002 – Elimination Chamber
So this isn’t exactly a debut of a superstar but more the debut of one of the most interesting concepts devised in WWE, hailed as the mix of the WCW War Games and Hell In A Cell, Elimination Chamber main evented the 2002 event. Triple H would defend his World Heavyweight title against Shawn Michaels, RVD, Booker T, Chris Jericho and Kane. With very little clue how the match would pan out, 4 men were locked inside chambers whilst two men started the match. Every 5 minutes a new man entered the match. The last man standing is the champion, this first Elimination Chamber match delivered much better than expected, with Shawn Michaels becoming the World Heavyweight champion in a classic match.
2012 – The Shield
In a true wrestling fans mark out loud moment, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns appeared in the Triple Threat main event for the WWE title. Attacking Ryback and John Cena, helping CM Punk to retain his title clinching a year long reign as champion. Claiming they were here to bring justice to the WWE, the trio known as the Shield continued to cause destruction, deliver incredible matches, redefine the 6 man tag match, before Seth Rollins sold out in June 2014.
2014’s Survivor Series was a bit of a let down; however the last 5 minutes will forever live in the memory of every fan who watched it live. The Icon Sting helped Dolph Ziggler defeat Seth Rollins to end the run of the Authority (well for a short while). After 13 years of waiting, Sting finally made his WWE debut at the young age of 55. Amazing moment to say the least.