A new day (clap clap) and a new batch of Survivor Series past as we continue down our trip down memory lane with our complete WWE Survivor Series Retrospective. Today we will get into five different Survivor Series events and we’ll start with Survivor Series 1997, live from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Survivor Series 1997- Hmm I can’t think of too much that happened during the Survivor Series 1997. It wasn’t really a noteworthy show by any means, I mean can you recall any of the matches because I sure can’t. Ah, it was Kane’s debut match, that was it, that’s why the Survivor Series 1997 is looked back on so much, right? Ok, I’m obviously kidding. We are actually nearly 18 years to the day of the Montreal Screwjob which took place during the main event between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. At the time watching it as an 11 year, I can tell you that I had no idea what was going on during the show other than I thought it was really peculiar that Vince McMahon wasn’t doing commentary for the show. I remember my father actually breaking the news to me that night that Vince was the owner of WWF and perhaps he had some business to take care of, he was right. It turned out that Vince McMahon would never rejoin the commentary team and instead he went on to become one of the biggest villains in the history of WWE, as this was the night Vince screwed Bret out of the WWE World Heavyweight Title. The fallout for this was pretty historic as in many ways, with it being used as the vehicle to start the Mr. McMahon heel persona, really launched WWE into the dominance and helped to launch the Attitude Era. What I always found odd about this was I remember that it was first reported that Shawn Michaels wasn’t in on it and, being a huge Shawn fan I believed every word he said. If you watch the match he looked really pissed off about the whole thing. Of course years later he came clean and admitted that he was in on it. I actually did a college paper for a media class looking at the Montreal Screwjob comparing all different forms of media and how they presented their thoughts on the screwjob. I compared Dave Metlzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter to WWE’s old confidential show, which is where it was first revealed that Shawn Michaels was in on the screwjob, to Bret Hart’s documentary “Wrestling With Shadows. I aced the class and my paper came out to over 40 pages long, that poor professor.
Survivor Series 1998: Survivor Series 1998 was actually the first Survivor Series not to have any traditional Survivor Series matches but I don’t remember minding one bit as this show was all about the Deadly Game tournament. The first thing that I remember about this show was that it was such a brilliant story that unfolded throughout the show. This was the era where everyone was potentially in cahoots and you would watch with the idea of seeing how Vince McMahon was going to try to screw over Stone Cold Steve Austin. It appeared that throughout the show Vince McMahon was having poor Mankind do his bidding for him and that the two men Vince did not want to be champion were Steve Austin and The Rock. I remember Mankind had a first round opponent that was hyped like crazy and my friends were all throwing out different ideas of who it could be. I remember my buddy and I calling the Ultimate (a near by wrestling store) and asking the guy running the store who the mystery opponent was and he thinking it was either Jake Roberts or Mike Tyson, which looking back what was he thinking. It ended up being setup as it was long time jobber, Duane Gill who later went on to be Gillberg. Serously though if you go back and watch all of the twists and turns it is storytelling at its finest. From Shane McMahon (who was my favorite growing up) screwing Austin to the McMahons ultimately joining the Rock and screwing Mankind one year after the infamous Montreal Screwjob. It is the attitude era at its peak.
Survivor Series 1999- Here was another show that I remember my father being infuriated about and with good reason. The promoted main event for this show was a triple threat match between The Rock, Triple H and Steve Austin. Obviously, this is an awesome main event but it never happened. Instead, in the middle of the show, Austin was laid out in the back and taken away. He went on to randomly being replaced by the Big Show, who won the title, but we all thought this was very lame and hoped Austin would emerge from the back during the main event, but he never did. I understand now why they promoted him, but knowing he was hurt the whole time and couldn’t compete, it really was a bit lame looking back. One match on this show that I do remember being a ton of fun was Chris Jericho vs. Chyna. The crowd that night was so hot for Jericho and pretty much completely turned on Chyna.
Survivor Series 2000- This is the one show that for whatever reason I can’t remember too much about. The main take away from the show was that it ended with Steve Austin taking a car with Triple H in it and lifting it up high with a forklift, then dropping the car and pretty much killing Triple H as the show went to black. Of course, Triple H would return three weeks later with a smiple bandaid and they wrote it off to him being able to get out of the car at the very last second. As a 13 year old who just lost Owen Hart the year before, I was glad to see Hunter was OK. Sidenote: Shoutout to the Undertaker’s awkward pair of pants here.
Survivor Series 2001- The culmination of the invasion storyline which saw a collection of matches in which Team WWE battle against Team Alliance (WCW and ECW). I remember being really over most of the Alliance guys at this point and I just wanted the WWE back. The invasion storyline just pretty much died on a vine because most of the big stars from WCW were still under contract to Time Warner so it would still be quite some time before guys like Hogan, Hall, Nash, Goldberg, Scott Steiner and Sting made their way to WWE, hell even Rey Mysterio wasn’t around. This made for a good amount of team WCW/ECW consisting of WWE guys like Steve Austin, who was the face of WWE when WCW went out of business. While the Invasion didn’t work, this is actually a pretty kick ass show as a standalone show. The main event in particular is such a great Traditional Survivor Series match, possibly the best ever.
Well that’s going to do it for me but tomorrow, I’ll be back with a complete spotlight dedicated to the Survivor Series 2002, which I attended live at Madison Square Garden.