It has all come down to this. The five greatest WWE Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Matches in the history of the annual November event that started in 1987.
The ranking began with a look back at matches #10 through #6 in the countdown and now it’s time to rank the top five. I’ve added some updated 2021 thoughts in blue font as well. Let’s get to it.
5. Team Authority (Seth Rollins, Kane, Mark Henry, Luke Harper & Rusev) vs. Team Cena (John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Erick Rowan & Ryback) @ Survivor Series 2014
Here’s the order of entrance for Team Authority: Kane, Mark Henry, Luke Harper, Rusev with Lana and then Seth Rollins. They were joined by Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble as well.
The order of entrance for Team Cena: Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Erick Rowan with some generic music, Ryback and then John Cena.
Mark Henry was the first guy in the ring for his team. Henry got a big pep talk from Hunter and Stephanie. Henry ran right at Show like a dumbass, so Big Show nailed Henry with a KO Punch and he pinned him to eliminate him.
Mark Henry eliminated by pinfall
Analysis: That was quick. The problem with Show’s finisher is he should just do that move to everybody at any time, yet he doesn’t. Also, shouldn’t Henry’s partners try to save him? It’s a must win. I know I’m nitpicking, so I’ll just move on.
(It’s a valid point. They put over how important it was to win the match, yet nobody tries to break up the pin at all. That’s what I get for thinking!)
Rollins attacked Show from behind. There were a bunch of quick tags until they did a showdown with Harper facing off with Rowan. Rollins tagged himself in to prevent them from battling it out. Ryback tagged in, went after Harper (he was back in) and hit a suplex. Ryback hit a splash on Kane, who was legal. Rusev tagged in to face off with Ryback in a meeting of power wrestlers. Rusev got in some shots, but Ryback nailed him with a spinebuster. Ryback connected with his Meat Hook Clothesline while the crowd chanted “Feed Me More” for him. He went for Shellshock, but Kane booted Ryback to save Rusev. All the members of Team Authority brawled with Team Cena. Rollins snuck into the ring and hit a Curb Stomp on Ryback. Rusev nailed a Superkick on Ryback to pin and eliminate him.
Ryback eliminated by pinfall
Analysis: I didn’t think Ryback would lose that early. I figured he would last near the end since WWE seemed like they were building him up as a breakout babyface star. Instead, he only lasted a few minutes. That was odd since they built him up so much. I don’t mind it because I think Ryback is average, but it looked like they were going to push him hard again.
Big Show battled with Harper, who nailed Show with a nice dropkick. The heels worked over Show for a bit, but he managed to tag in Ziggler. Ziggler was on fire against Harper. That lasted briefly because Harper was able to ground him with a sidewalk slam. The heels made some quick tags as they worked over Ziggler. They continued to make tags while focusing on Ziggler. This sequence lasted over five minutes. Rollins hit a big move on Ziggler by ramming him face first into the middle turnbuckle for a two count. Ziggler came back with a move on Rusev for a two count. Harper saved Rusev. Cena hit the AA, there were Chokeslams and everybody went outside the ring. Rollins received a back body drop by Rowan onto the others. Rusev kicked Rowan outside the ring. Rusev picked up Ziggler and gave him a Powerbomb over the top, which caused Ziggler to go crashing into the other guys.
Rusev cleaned off the announce table. He put Ziggler on it. He took too long to do it, so Ziggler moved. Rusev went crashing through the Spanish announce table. The referee finally started to count so Rusev was counted out. The referee didn’t count for about a minute of these guys standing outside the ring, but once Rusev went through the able he counted.
Rusev eliminated by countout
Analysis: Most of us figured that Rusev would lose without getting pinned or being submitted, so that’s how they did it.
The match is now 4 for Cena and 3 for Authority. Kane went for Chokeslam on Ziggler, but he moved and tagged in Cena. Cena hit his shoulderblocks, spinning slam and Five Knuckle Shuffle on Kane. He hit the Attitude Adjustment on Kane. Rollins snuck into the ring, kicked Rollins in the ribs and hit a Curb Stomp. Cole was yelling at the ref to take control. JBL said that they should let them go.
Harper and Rowan tagged in for their teams. They had a physical fight at the start, which led to Rowan hitting a spin kick on Harper. That was impressive. Kane grabbed Rowan by the throat. The ref sent him out of the ring, so Rollins hit a flying knee attack off the top rope. Harper hit a spinning clothesline and pinned Rowan.
Erick Rowan eliminated by pinfall
The match was 3 on 3 by this point. Ziggler was still on the floor. Show stood beside Cena and Show nailed Cena with a KO Punch! Heel turn alert. Cena got pinned by Rollins, so he was out.
John Cena eliminated by pinfall
Analysis: Shocker! Wow. That was a big spot. Show was due for his annual heel turn anyway. The fans didn’t see it coming, so they reacted to it in a big way. If you look back at their history, Show has turned on Cena several times in the past.
After the attack, Show walked over to Triple H and shook his hand while Stephanie celebrated. Show walked out of the ring and went to the back. He was eliminated by countout.
Big Show eliminated by countout
That meant that Ziggler was left alone against Rollins, Kane and Harper. The heels taunted Ziggler and toyed with him. Ziggler hit a superkick and Zig Zag to eliminate Kane.
Kane eliminated by pinfall
It’s down to Ziggler against Harper and Rollins. Harper went after Ziggler aggressively. He hit a superkick to knock him down for two. Harper hit a powerbomb for two. He was mad that it was only a two count. Ziggler nailed Harper with a rollup and he grabbed his jeans for extra leverage. That was enough to eliminate Harper by pinfall.
Luke Harper eliminated by pinfall
(The next PPV was TLC with Ziggler beating Harper for the IC Title in a Ladder Match. It was pretty good.)
We are down to two men: Ziggler vs. Rollins. Rollins was the aggressor of the two. Rollins got an inside cradle for two and then a leaping DDT for another nearfall. Rollins came back with a Powerbomb into the corner for two. Rollins went up top, Ziggler tried to knock him off and instead Rollins knocked him off the ropes. Ziggler hit the Fameasser for a great nearfall. Cole was freaking out on commentary saying he had goosebumps while Triple H was getting angry at ringside. Mercury and Noble tried to provide interference. Ziggler knocked them down. Ziggler hit the Zig Zag on Rollins. Triple H pulled the ref out of the ring and punched him out. The crowd hated that.
Ziggler was attacked by Noble & Mercury. He was able to get rid of them with superkicks. Ziggler hit another Zig Zag on Rollins. Another ref slid into the ring. Triple H attacked him. Hunter went after Ziggler by punching him in the head. Hunter worked him over and hit a Pedigree in the middle of the ring. He dragged Rollins on top of Ziggler and he called for another ref to come down. It was Scott Armstrong, who is the corrupt ref. He was making the count, but that was interrupted by some ominous music.
Then the moment finally arrived. It’s Sting! Big ovation for that. No surprise to those of us online, but it was not advertised. He was in his usual black coat with black & white facepaint.
After all these years, Sting is finally in a WWE arena. We know it was rumored and leaked online a day earlier, but it’s still an awesome moment. There was a video package playing as he walked down to the ring. Armstrong went to face off with him, so Sting punched him in the face.
Sting went face to face with Hunter in the ring. The fans were cheering and chanting “Sting” for him. They had a staredown for about one minute as the fans chanted “This is awesome.” Hunter tried to punch him. Sting avoided it, kicked him and nailed the Scorpion Death Drop on Triple H.
Sting put Ziggler on top of Rollins. Apparently, Ziggler and Rollins were out that whole time. It must have been two or three minutes. The original ref slid back in the ring to count the pinfall. That was it. The match went 45 minutes.
Seth Rollins eliminated by pinfall
Winners: Team Cena (Dolph Ziggler is the sole survivor)
Analysis: **** It’s such a tough match to rate in terms of ratings, but I’m giving it four stars out of five because the work was very good for much of it and they delivered in terms of giving it a big time feel. It was hurt by the ref bumps although that was just part of the story. That final pin happened after Rollins and Ziggler were out of it for a few minutes. I give them a lot of booking for laying things out perfectly by giving so many different people a chance to shine. Ziggler and Rollins were clearly the stars of the match. Harper had a good showing too. Cena barely did anything, which is fine because he’s the most pushed guy on the show. Big Show’s heel turn was definitely a surprise although I guess he was due to turn since it seems like he turns every year. That debut for Sting was special. He didn’t say a word because he didn’t have to. He was just there to kick some ass and that’s what he did. That moment really stood out as something special that we’re going to remember for years to come. It makes us want to see more of him, which is exactly the reaction WWE is hoping for.
(This wasn’t the greatest technical wrestling elimination match due to all of the big guys involved, but the stories they told were excellent. Yes, Big Show turned heel and face a lot in his career, but this moment caught a lot of people by surprise and taking Cena out of the match so early was shocking. Also, Sting’s debut was expected that day because of online reports that came out, but it was a surprise for most fans and the crowd in the arena responded to it in a big way because it was a huge moment. I think it’s fair to say it was one of the loudest pops in WWE this decade.)
4. Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Raw (Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, Randy Orton, and Ricochet) vs. Team Smackdown (Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, King Corbin, Mustafa Ali, and Shorty G) vs. Team NXT (Tommaso Ciampa, Damian Priest, Matt Riddle, Keith Lee, and Walter) @ Survivor Series 2019
Three guys start the match with one from each team and the others stand on the apron waiting for tags. Strowman shoved Rollins and Ciampa down. Strowman came back with a dropkick to knock Rollins and Ciampa. McIntyre and Walter tagged in to face off with Strowman leading to McIntyre and Walter working together against Strowman. McIntyre and Walter exchanged hard chops, then a double shoulder tackle and Walter with a boot to the face. Strowman ran over Walter with a shoulder tackle. Walter with a German Suplex on McIntyre. Walter with a dropkick on Strowman to send him into the turnbuckle. McIntyre hit Walter with a Claymore Kick and pinned him to eliminate Walter. The fans booed that. Me too. I wanted to see more of Walter.
Walter eliminated by Drew McIntyre
Priest went after McIntyre with chops, kicks and a clothesline. Strowman tossed Priest into the corner, Priest moved and Shorty tagged in with a moonsault on Priest. Ricochet tagged in with a headsicssors and Shorty blocked a move leading to a rolling German Suplex by Shorty. Riddle tagged in leading to the “bro” chants. Shorty and Riddle had a nice exchange of mat wrestling, Riddle tried an ankle lock, then Shorty got the ankle lock and they had a stalemate. Ciampa tagged in with a boot to the face of Shorty. Ricochet with a cartwheel into the ropes leading to an attack on both guys. Owens tagged in with a Frog Splash on Shorty G to pin him to eliminate him. The story was that Owens didn’t go after Ciampa from NXT.
Shorty G eliminated by Kevin Owens
Roman Reigns went in the ring, Corbin tagged himself in and Owens hit a superkick on Reigns. Corbin left the ring, so Owens hit a superkick on Corbin and Owens with a cannonball on Reigns against the ropes. Owens hit a Stone Cold Stunner on Corbin on the floor. Ciampa capitalized on that because when Owens was on the apron, Ciampa gave him a draping DDT to pin Owens.
Kevin Owens eliminated by Tommaso Ciampa
Orton went in for Raw against Ciampa and they had a staredown. Ciampa blocked an RKO attempt leading to a clothesline that sent Orton out of the ring. Orton blocked a DDT attempt and Orton whipped Ciampa into the barricade. Orton slammed Ciampa back first onto the ring apron. Orton stomped on the limbs of Ciampa, Priest tagged in, Orton hit a RKO on Ciampa and Orton hit a RKO on Priest to counter a Priest move.
Damian Priest eliminated by Matt Riddle
Riddle went into the ring, gave Orton a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! and that eliminated Orton. The fans loved Riddle.
Randy Orton eliminated by Matt Riddle
After the pin, Orton gave Riddle a RKO. Corbin snuck back into the ring and covered Riddle to eliminate him.
Matt Riddle eliminated by Baron Corbin
Strowman had a faceoff with Lee, but Drew McIntyre tagged in to put a stop to that. Fans were chanting “bask in his glory” to Lee. There were four guys on the floor, so Strowman hit the running shoulder tackle all around the ring and the fans loved it. Strowman ran around the ring again and this time, Lee was there leading to a double cross body block. McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick on Strowman to put him down on the floor. Lee and McIntyre were back in the rig, so Strowman was counted out.
Braun Strowman eliminated by countout
Ricochet with a jumping kick on Corbin, then a kick to the head and Ricochet hit a clothesline off the top. Ricochet hit a twisting dive over the top onto Reigns on the floor. Ricochet went for a 450 Splash on Lee, who moved and Corbin hit the End of Days slam on Ricochet to pin.
Ricochet eliminated by Baron Corbin
Ali tagged in with some great moves on Rollins and Ciampa including a facebuster on Ciampa. Ali hit a Tornado DDT on Rollins to send him out of the ring. Ali with a suicide dive onto Rollins and Ciampa. Ali with a superkick on Ciampa. Corbin pulled Ali out of the ring to yell at him. Corbin argued with Ali, so when Rollins went back into the ring, Rollins hit The Stomp on Ali and pinned him. The fans booed Rollins. Reigns argued with Corbin about it.
Mustafa Ali eliminated by Seth Rollins
There were two guys left for each team with Rollins and McIntyre from Raw, Reigns and Corbin from Smackdown and Ciampa and Lee from NXT. The fans were chanting “CM Punk” after Rollins got the pin. McIntyre hit a reverse Alabama Slam on Ciampa for two. McIntyre set up for a Claymore Kick, but Reigns came back in the ring with a Spear to get the pin on Drew.
Drew McIntyre eliminated by Roman Reigns
Rollins got a rollup on Reigns for two, Reigns got a punch and a Drive By kick on Rollins. Ciampa hit a draping DDT on Reigns. Reigns came back with a Superman Punch and both guys were down. Corbin knocked Lee off the apron to prevent Ciampa from tagging out. Corbin brought Reigns to his corner and Corbin tagged himself in. The fans chanted “STD” at Corbin for being a super tough dude, or something else. Reigns was tired of dealing with Corbin so Reigns hit Corbin with a Superman Punch and Spear. Ciampa covered Corbin to get rid of him.
Baron Corbin eliminated by Tommaso Ciampa
It’s down to Roman Reigns from Smackdown, Seth Rollins from Raw and NXT had Tommaso Ciampa as well as Keith Lee. Rollins and Reigns went after Ciampa, Lee got back into the ring and Reigns/Rollins punched Lee repeatedly, which led to boos from the crowd. Lee was sent out of the ring and Rollins dumped Ciampa out of the ring. Rollins cleared off the English announce table. Rollins lifted up Ciampa for Reigns as they teased a Powerbomb, but Lee ran over Reigns, Ciampa and Rollins to save his partner Ciampa. Reigns drove Lee back first into the steel steps. Ciampa with a running knee to Rollins and Ciampa hit Project Ciampa (two knees to the back) for just a two count. Rollins with a superkick, kick to the gut, Ciampa blocked a Stomp attempt and Rollins jumped off the ropes with Ciampa hitting him with a knee. Reigns with a Superman Punch on Ciampa and Rollins hit The Stomp to pin Ciampa.
Tommaso Ciampa eliminated by Seth Rollins
There are three men left with Reigns from Smackdown, Rollins from Raw and Lee from NXT. Lee tossed Rollins across the ring. Reigns sent Lee to the apron, which led to Lee hitting a slingshot attack over the top onto Reigns and Rollins. Rollins countered a slam by Lee, Rollins with two kicks and Rollins went up top with Frog Splash on Lee for just a two count. The fans booed Rollins while he was doing his moves. Rollins charged, Lee caught him on his shoulders and slammed Rollins off the shoulders with a Jackhammer Slam to beat Rollins.
Seth Rollins eliminated by Keith Lee
Reigns had a staredown with Lee as the final two men in the match and fans chanted “oh bask in his glory” for Lee. Reigns connected with two Superman Punches for a two count and it was really close, so Graves said that he thinks it was a three count. The replay showed Lee kicked out at the very last moment. Reigns charged for a Spear, Lee caught him and Lee hit a sitout Powerbomb. That was great. Lee went for a moonsault, but Reigns moved. Reigns hit a Spear and pinned Lee to win the match at 29:27.
Keith Lee eliminated by Roman Reigns
Winners: Team Smackdown (Roman Reigns is the sole survivor)
Analysis: ****1/4 This was an awesome match with Reigns coming out on top, which isn’t that much of a surprise. There was a lot to digest there. It’s hard to hit on everything that happened, but I thought they booked it very well and it was an entertaining match that’s not easy to book because there were 14 eliminations. I don’t think there was anything in the match that was that bad in terms of some of the eliminations. That’s my way of saying the eliminations were booked better than the women’s elimination match. Strowman’s elimination was the most questionable elimination. I’m so glad that Keith Lee had another night where he was booked like a huge star that can hang with the top guys. I can see having a big role on Raw or Smackdown next year. He’s a star in the making with the kind of look and size that the bosses love. It’s also very telling that Rollins was booed heavily because the fans just don’t like him anymore, so WWE needs to embrace that to make him a heel soon. Reigns winning is no surprise. I expect him to win nearly every match he has on the road to WrestleMania where he will likely get a title shot. My prediction was Orton and Ricochet as the sole survivors. That was definitely wrong. They didn’t book Ricochet strong in this match at all.
(Roman wins. No surprise, right? I guess. I was really impressed by Keith Lee. This was a well-booked match for something with 15 wrestlers involved. That’s not easy to do.)
3. Team Austin (Shawn Michaels, Booker T., Rob Van Dam, Dudley Boys) vs. Team Bischoff (Chris Jericho, Christian, Mark Henry, Scott Steiner, Randy Orton) @ Survivor Series 2003
Eric Bischoff’s music starts. His entire team comes out together. Glass breaks, here comes Team Austin coming out together. These guys got the biggest pop of the night thus far. The crowd busted out into several chants back to back. One for Austin, HBK, RVD, Tables and Booker T. as well. That was cool. Stacey Keibler, Long and Bischoff are in one corner while Austin is in the other.
(Pre-match notes: It’s probably obvious to you, but Austin’s team were the faces and Bischoff’s team were the heels.)
We start out with Christian against D’Von. Whip into the ropes for Christian, shoulder tackle. Slap to the face by Christian. D’Von takes him down quickly. Leaping clothesline by D’Von gets two. Tag to RVD. He gets a spinning kick for two. Christian gets a punch, then tags in Jericho. He opens up with chops, grabs the foot, RVD gets a spin kick. Shoulder tackles by RVD, then a northern lights suplex for two. Jericho leaps over a sweep kick, dropkicks for two. Tag to Steiner. Whip into the ropes, RVD goes down. After some posing, RVD gets a springboard crossbody for two. Another spinning kick gets two. He flips over, Steiner ducks a kick and gets an overhead belly to belly. So much for that move being moved. He gets another belly to belly, this one to the side for two. RVD to the top, he gets tripped up. Steiner hits an overhead belly to belly off the top for two. I guess it’s really not banned. RVD tags in Booker. Booker opens up on Steiner with punches, but Steiner cuts him off with a clothesline. Kissing the biceps elbow gets two. Into the ropes, forearm for Booker. Knee to the gut and a scissors kick for Booker. Spinaroonie time. Big spinebuster for Booker gets two. All ten guys are fighting on the floor with Booker & Steiner still in the ring. Steiner Recliner by Steiner near the ropes. Stacy gets up on the apron, cheering for Booker. Steiner grabs her. Dudleys get a reverse neckbreaker/3D variation. Booker comes in with the Bookend for three. Scott Steiner is out.
Mark Henry comes in against Booker. Henry catches him and falls forward with him into his slam move. He gets the pinfall. Booker is out.
Booker T eliminated by Mark Henry
(That was the World’s Strongest Slam by Henry. I didn’t know a name for it at the time.)
Rob Van Dam faces off against Henry. He takes a clothesline. Forearm to the back. RVD gets Bubba in thanks to a blind tag. Whip into the ropes, Henry pancakes him with his stomach. Into the turnbuckle, Bubba takes his face first bump after the blow. Clothesline staggers Henry. He tags in D’Von. He powers out and clotheslines the back of their heads. Into the ropes, another clothesline. Okay, so we know Mark Henry can do a clothesline. Henry goes sternum first into the turnbuckle. He bounces out and the Dudleys 3D him. RVD comes off the top with a Five Star Frog Splash. All three guys cover Henry for the pin. Henry is out.
Mark Henry eliminated by Rob Van Dam
Jericho gets the advantage, but RVD fights out with a springboard moonsault for two. Jericho tags in Orton, who opens up on RVD. Into the turnbuckle, RVD leaps over Orton, but it doesn’t work because Orton decks him with a clothesline. Boot to the face by RVD. Springboard kick by RVD followed by a Rolling Thunder. To the top, Jericho shoves RVD off the ropes, sending him neck first on the top. Orton hits the RKO for the pinfall. Van Dam is out.
Rob Van Dam eliminated by Randy Orton
It’s 3 on 3 as D’Von enters. Sideslam by D’Von. To the top, a headbutt gets two for him. A blind tag brings in Jericho, who gets shoulder blocked down by D’Von. Boot to the face by Jericho followed by a missile dropkick. That gets two. Jericho misses a charge, D’Von gets a shoulderblock. Christian distracts D’Von, he turns around and Jericho gets a spinning sleeper/neckdrop for the three count. D’Von Dudley is out.
D’Von Dudley eliminated by Chris Jericho
Bubba comes in. He gets a big sideslam for two. He tags in Shawn Michaels, who is in the match for the first time. Chops to Jericho in the corner. He does the ten count in the corner. Christian comes in, so Shawn leaps off the ropes with a double axe to his face. Jericho tags in Orton. They do a double shoulderblock to send HBK down. Orton goes for a dropkick, HBK hangs on to the ropes and Orton hits the back of his head. Tag to Christian and tag to Bubba. Bubba clears out Team Bischoff, dropping Christian’s face on the top rope. A back body drop gets two on Christian. Samoan Drop on Orton. Jericho gets a low blow on Bubba. Christian gets the Unprettier on Bubba for the pinfall.
Bubba Ray Dudley eliminated by Christian
It’s Orton, Jericho & Christian vs. Michaels. Christian works on HBK. HBK gets the flying forearm and kip up. He takes out the heel team. They end up pulling HBK out to the floor, triple teaming him. Christian brings in Orton. He quickly tags Christian back in. Michaels fights him off, but Jericho pulls him to the ground. Orton distracts the ref. Christian slingshots HBK head first into the ring apron. HBK comes up bleeding HUGE! Suplex back in gets two for Christian. He does an HBK like muscle pose. HBK is bleeding a lot. Unprettier is blocked. He shoves Christian into the corner. He charges at Shawn, but eats a superkick. HBK falls on top for the pin. Christian is out.
Christian eliminated by Shawn Michaels
Jericho faces off with Michaels. Big whip into the corner, HBK does his customary feet up in the air flop and turns around to eat a Jericho clothesline. Tag in to Orton, who blatantly chokes HBK. Sleeper by HBK. Reversed into a side suplex by Orton. He tags in Jericho. He covers for two. Whip into the corner. Jericho jumps off the middle ropes, gets nothing. HBK gets a DDT. One…two…no, Orton saves! Big nearfall there. He sends Orton out over the top. Jericho gets a bulldog. Lionsault is blocked by the knees from HBK. Long eight count. The crowd is really hot. Superkick is ducked. Walls of Jericho reversed into a rollup by HBK! One…two…three! Jericho is out. Jericho comes back into the ring with a steel chair and smashes HBK in the face with it. Huge heat for that.
Chris Jericho eliminated by Shawn Michaels
Orton comes back in, drapes his arm across the chest and he gets only two! Another good nearfall. Orton to the top. He goes for a crossbody, Michaels ducks and Orton hits the referee. HBK’s face is all red. This is a MASSIVE blade job. I can’t say it enough. It’s like his bloody face at Hell in a Cell #1. Bischoff comes in, kicks HBK in the ribs. Austin comes into the ring, throws Bischoff out and gives a Stunner to Orton. Ref sees none of it. The crowd is going NUTS. Austin takes Bischoff to the back, brawling with him. Batista comes in through the crowd and hits a huge sitout powerbomb on HBK. Orton crawls over for the cover. Ref wakes up, one…two…three! Team Bischoff wins at 27:27. Austin shows up in the aisle looking at what happened. He never saw Batista.
Shawn Michaels eliminated by Randy Orton
Survivor: Randy Orton of Team Bischoff
Analysis: ****1/4 This match was very exciting, especially at the end. The last fifteen minutes of it was filled with the kind of drama that you’d expect from a match involving this many talented people. Shawn Michaels put on an outstanding performance. The finish was something that was predictable, yet it worked really well. The effort of Jericho, Orton and Christian shouldn’t go unnoticed either. They did a terrific job in telling the story of the match. Very good match.
(That was a wild few minutes of action, especially at the end. Michaels was incredible trying to fight back against three guys and nearly pulling it off. I like how the win was really cheap for the heels because they needed Bischoff and Batista to help Orton get the win. I don’t think it hurt Orton that much because he was seen as a star on the rise. This was a huge win for him. I’m just really impressed with how well booked it was because it helps to accentuate the great work in the ring.)
2. Team Smackdown Live (AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt & Shane McMahon w/James Ellsworth) vs. Team Raw (Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns & Braun Strowman) @ Survivor Series 2016
Team Raw intros started with Braun Strowman to a mild reaction. Seth Freakin’ Rollins was up next and he received a great ovation. The US Champion Roman Reigns made his entrance to loud boos. By far the most boos of anybody on this show. Chris Jericho was cheered heavily because he’s a Canadian wrestling God basically. Cole noted Jericho is 3-0 in Survivor Series elimination matches. Last man up was Universal Champion Kevin Owens, who is also a Canadian that the crowd loved even though he’s a heel.
Analysis: If this was your first time watching WWE you would think Reigns is the biggest heel in the company. Instead, he was still booked like a face that gets booed.
Styles faced off with Owens as the crowd cheered champion vs. champion matching up. Both guys missed moves early on to show how even it was. Fans chanted “stupid idiot” to bring in Jericho to a huge ovation. Owens hugged Jericho to a huge ovation. Running shoulder tackle by Jericho on Styles and Styles came back with a dropkick. Jericho tagged in Rollins, which gave us Rollins vs. Styles – a feud I would love to see one day. Styles brought in Ambrose, who wrestled Rollins many times this summer. They each teased finishers and got out of it to show they are so even. Jericho tagged, yelled at Ambrose for destroying his jacket that was worth $15,000 and Ambrose took him down with arm drags. Jericho came back with an enziguri kick. Jericho and Ambrose exchanged some hard slaps. Shane tagged in against Jericho, both of whom are in their mid-40s. Flying back elbow by Shane. Otunga mentioned the battle of the bulge and said he’s not talking about Owens’ stomach. I saw Owens rip Otunga on Twitter, which was well deserved. A dropkick by Jericho knocked down Shane. Rollins tagged in with a suplex on Shane. Reigns tagged in to boos as he hit corner clotheslines on Shane. Rollins got the tag with a punch off the top rope onto Shane. Ambrose and Owens tagged in with Ambrose hitting a running clothesline, but Owens came back with a clothesline of his own. Ambrose crushed Owens with a clothesline and hit a suicide dive on the floor although he barely connected with it. That looked weak. Back in the ring, Owens nailed Ambrose with a kick and Ambrose fought out of a Popup Powerbomb attempt. Jericho saved Owens from an attack, Strowman tagged in and all then guys stood in the ring.
The match turned into a fight with all ten guys going at it. Strowman caught Ambrose in his arms and Styles saved Ambrose with a forearm smash on Strowman. Owens went up top and hit a cannonball dive onto the guys on the floor. Shane went up top and he teased a dive, but Strowman shoved him down. Ambrose and Styles worked together to stun Strowman and Shane hit a clothesline to knock Strowman out of the ring. Ambrose with a clothesline on Rollins and Styles hit a Pele Kick on Reigns. Crowd chanted “AJ Styles” as he bickered with Ambrose. Ambrose took down Styles. Shane broke it up, but Styles hit Ambrose with a forearm in the back. Strowman hit a running Powerslam on Ambrose to eliminate him.
Dean Ambrose eliminated by Braun Strowman
Analysis: They went several minutes with no legal man in the ring, so if you want to bee critical you could say that they ignored the rules of the match. I don’t mind it because the action was so good.
Strowman hit a running splash on Shane in the corner. Styles went for an attack, but Strowman shoved him over the top to the floor. That was a nasty looking bump by Styles. Orton went for a RKO, but Strowman shoved him away. Bray Wyatt got in Strowman’s face. Jericho told Strowman that he’s the captain now (good movie reference). Strowman tossed down Jericho and attacked Wyatt with a running dropkick that sent him out of the ring. Strowman cleaned off the German announce table as Orton showed up with a RKO out of nowhere onto Strowman on the table, which didn’t break. Wyatt and Orton cleared off the English announce table. They put Strowman on the announce table. Shane McMahon slowly climbed the turnbuckle and jumped off the top with the flying elbow drop on Strowman through the table. It looked great and drew a huge ovation from the crowd. The replays of the spot showed how impressive of a leap it was. Loud “this is awesome” chants started up. After all of that, the ref finally started a count as Styles rolled Shane back in the ring. Strowman was legal for Raw, he was at ringside at the count of eight and nine, but he couldn’t get in the ring at ten. Strowman was counted out. It was Ellsworth holding the foot of Strowman to prevent him from going back into the ring.
Braun Strowman eliminated by countout
Strowman went after Ellsworth, who went up the ramp and did the comedic stumble. Strowman caught up to him and heaved him off the stage onto a nearby table. There were some pizza boxes there too.
Analysis: Big bump by Ellsworth. It was a way to protect Strowman by not having him get pinned or submit. He ended up looking strong because of what he did to Ellsworth.
Jericho and Owens worked on Shane with Owens hitting a running senton. Owens mocked the Shane O Mac dance leading to a two count. Jericho nailed a dropkick on Shane. They did a spot where Jericho hit a Lionsault and Shane got his knees up, but Jericho didn’t sell it. I’m not sure if it was something where they made a mistake on that spot. Jericho hit a Codebreaker on Shane, Orton went in the ring and Jericho hit a Codebreaker on him. That led to Jericho slowly going to cover Shane, who kicked out at two. Rollins tagged in, slammed Shane and Jericho missed a top rope splash on Shane, who moved. Styles got the tag with a fireman’s carry into a backbreaker on Jericho. Owens wondered if Styles can even see through that stupid hair. That was clever. Styles locked Jericho into the Calf Crusher submission, but Jericho fought out of it. Styles got a cradle for two. Styles nailed a running forearm on Owens, who was on the apron. Styles set up Jericho for the Styles Clash, but Owens ran into the ring with the List of Jericho clipboard and hit Styles in the back with it. The papers on The List were all around the ring. Owens hit a Popup Powerbomb on Styles as the referee disqualified Owens. The crowd hated that and some chanted “bullshit” for it.
Kevin Owens eliminated by disqualification
Analysis: The List is an object, so it warrants a disqualification. Crowd wanted to see more of Owens, though.
Jericho freaked out about The List being used, picked up the papers and Styles tagged in Orton. That led to Orton turning Jericho around and he hit a RKO to eliminate Jericho.
Chris Jericho eliminated by Randy Orton
Analysis: The Raw co-captains were eliminated within one minute of eachother.
Jericho retrieved his list from a referee and left. The two Raw guys left were Reigns and Rollins against four Smackdown guys.
Analysis: While at the show, I remarked to the guys seated near me that I thought Reigns and Rollins would win even in this 2 on 4 scenario. It didn’t happen, but I thought it was possible.
Orton with a powerslam on Rollins. Can we get a Curb Stomp counter into a RKO like at WrestleMania 31? Nope. Wyatt tagged in with a running splash on Rollins in the corner. Orton worked with Rollins in the corner and seated him on the top rope. Orton with a superplex on Rollins. Reigns got the tag with punches on Styles, he knocked Wyatt off the apron and hit a Samoan Drop on Orton. Reigns with a popup Samoan Drop on Styles, who he had a great feud with earlier this year. Reigns with a seated Powerbomb called a Niagara Driver by Graves earned a two count. Styles avoided a Superman Punch with a leaping kick to the head. Shane tagged in with a DDT on Reigns. Rollins missed a leaping attack, so Shane hit a clothesline and slammed Rollins down spinebuster style. Shane sent Reigns hard into the ring post. The crowd was standing because they knew what was coming. Shane climbed the top rope and went for the Coast to Coast dropkick across the ring. He jumped, Reigns got up and crushed Shane with a Spear. Wow! That was nasty to watch again. Reigns covered and Shane lifted his right shoulder up while Cole was yelling about how Shane was eliminated. Shane looked knocked out. The ref called for the bell saying that Shane was knocked out.
Shane McMahon eliminated by Roman Reigns
Doctors checked on Shane in the ring. Orton went over to one of Shane’s sons (and I think Shane’s wife was there) to tell them he’ll be okay. Good guy Randy. Fans chanted “Shane O Mac” as doctors helped him to the back.
Analysis: When it happened live I thought Shane was legitimately hurt because he hit his head so hard. Watching it on the broadcast is even more painful to watch. They didn’t botch it, but it was just a violent crash. Shane performed very well in this match with some big moments that we won’t forget. Shane appeared on Smackdown two days later, so he was fine even though he was likely hurting from the spot.
AJ Styles eliminated by Seth Rollins
Analysis: Great moment. I was sitting by this guy that hated Reigns that was marking out for this as much as anybody. It’s funny how the haters hate Reigns on his own, but when he’s with The Shield guys he is loved again.
The match is down to Reigns and Rollins side by side in the ring against Orton and Wyatt on the floor. Luke Harper showed up at ringside. He must have been under the ring. That distracted Roman and Seth, so the SD guys paired off with the Raw guys. Reigns sent Orton into the post, but Harper was there to send Reigns into the ring post and nailed a superkick. Rollins was on fire with a Slingblade on Wyatt and somersault dive over the top to the floor took out Harper on the floor. Rollins nailed Wyatt with a kick in the ring. Rollins went up top with a Frog Splash, but Orton greeted him with a RKO and Wyatt pinned Rollins for the elimination.
Seth Rollins eliminated by Bray Wyatt
Analysis: Great spot with Orton helping his buddy Bray again. I kept thinking that Orton might turn face against Bray, but it didn’t happen. Rollins had an incredible performance all night long.
The fans chanted “Let’s Go Smackdown” because they don’t like Reigns. Wyatt was in there with Reigns and Reigns hit a punch on Orton. Outside the ring, Reigns sent Wyatt into the barricade at ringside. Drive By dropkick by Reigns on Wyatt on the apron. Reigns hit a Spear on Harper on the floor. Back in the ring, Wyatt teased Sister Abigail and Reigns fought out of it with a Superman Punch. Reigns went for a Spear, but Orton shoved Wyatt out of the way so Reigns hit the Spear on Orton. Wyatt capitalized with Sister Abigail on Reigns and covered for the win at 52:55.
Roman Reigns eliminated by Bray Wyatt
Survivors: Team Smackdown Live – Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton
Post match, Wyatt posed with Orton and Harper.
Analysis: ****1/2 Wow. What an awesome match. They went nearly an hour-long making it the longest WWE match of the year, told so many different stories and gave us a memorable ending as well. I tried to comment on things as they happened because if I left it all for this space it would have been difficult. There were a lot of great spots with the Shield Reunion taking place, Strowman tossing Ellsworth off the stage and that Reigns spear on Shane that looked absolutely devastating. As for the result of the match, I’m happy that Smackdown won and hope it leads to a serious push for Wyatt although I have my doubts about that. I picked Reigns and Rollins to survive because both guys are pushed strong on the Raw side, but I’m happy to be wrong about it because of how the match turned out. This is one of the best Survivor Series elimination matches ever. While I wish there was more on the line and that the win meant more, in terms of match quality this was pretty damn good.
(I was at this show and it’s probably the longest WWE match I’ve seen in person. I’ve been to dozens of WWE events over the last 30 years, so that’s saying a lot. The thing about it is since it was such an excellent match I was not bored at all, nor did I think it ran too long. It felt just right. I’ll always remember the Shield reunion spot that led to cheers from the fan even though the angry Reigns hater was booing Reigns so much. It just shows how fickle wrestling fans can be. It was also a cool story with Wyatt/Orton winning, which led to Orton winning the Royal Rumble and Wyatt winning the WWE Title at Elimination Chamber, but then Orton turned on Wyatt. Sadly, the feud sucked after that, but they sure built up both guys well with meaningful wins.)
1. Winner Take All Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team WWE (The Rock, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho, Kane & Big Show) vs. Team Alliance (Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Shane McMahon & Booker T) @ Survivor Series 2001
The Alliance was introduced first in this order: Shane McMahon, Booker T, Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam (he was cheered by a lot of fans), Kurt Angle and WWE World Champion Steve Austin, who received a lot of cheers even though he was a heel. When Austin was in the ring, fans did the “WHAT?” chant.
Analysis: The team was better than the WCW team at the Invasion PPV four months earlier.
The WWE Team was introduced in this order: Big Show, Kane, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho and WCW World Champion The Rock. Jericho was a on his way to being a heel by this point while the others were faces. The ovation for The Rock was massive. They loved him.
Rock and Austin started with a slugfest. Rock stole some Austin moves and Shane made the save. Leaping clothesline by Rock on Booker with Shane making another save. Jericho with a flapjack on Booker. RVD missed a spin kick and Jericho hit a spinning heel kick followed by a suplex. RVD hit a cartwheel into a moonsault for two on Jericho. RVD wanted a hurricanrana, but Jericho blocked it with a Walls of Jericho. Kane tossed Angle into the turnbuckle followed by a clothesline. Angle hit a German Suplex on Kane, but Kane came back with a sidewalk slam followed by his top rope clothesline that he did all the time. Undertaker tagged in against Angle and Booker tagged in with Taker hitting a leg drop. Shane kept interrupting pinfall attempts. Old School clothesline by Undertaker. After a few more minutes, Taker did another pin attempt on Booker and Shane broke it up. Austin worked with Undertaker and Austin hit the Old School clothesline on him as Shane broke up another pin. The Alliance team worked over Taker in their corner. A swinging neckbreaker by Angle on Taker got a two count. Undertaker hit a DDT on Angle. Show tagged in with a huge hip toss for Angle and a press slam for RVD. Angle avoided a Chokeslam and hit an Angle Slam on Show. Booker tagged in and hit a Scissors Kick on Show followed by the Spinarooni. RVD tagged in and hit a Five Star Frog Splash. Shane tagged in with a flying elbow smash off the top to eliminate Show.
Big Show eliminated by Shane McMahon
Analysis: I like that it took three finishers plus Shane’s elbow to finish off Show. It makes him look better than losing after one move.
Rock clothesline on Shane. Kane tagged in and hit a huge Chokeslam on Shane. Heyman freaked out about it. Undertaker tagged in with a Tombstone for Shane. Jericho tagged in with a Lionsault and he pinned Shane to eliminate him.
Shane McMahon eliminated by Chris Jericho
Kane eliminated by Rob Van Dam
Undertaker cleaned house with clotheslines for all four Alliance guys. Undertaker with snake eyes followed by a boot to the face. Undertaker knocked down Austin. Undertaker hit a Last Ride on Angle. Booker brought a chair into the ring, Undertaker kicked him, Austin hit a Stone Cold Stunner on Undertaker and put Angle on top to eliminate Undertaker.
The Undertaker eliminated by Kurt Angle
Booker nailed a jumping side kick on Rock. Rock hit a DDT for a two count. Rock whipped Booker into Angle on the apron and Rock hit the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! to eliminate Booker.
Analysis: Of course they’d use a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! pinfall in this famous match.
Rock slammed RVD while he was on the turnbuckle. Both guys were down. Jericho nailed a bulldog, but he missed a Lionsault as RVD came back with a spinning heel kick. Split legged moonsault by RVD. Jericho hit a face first move that Jeff Jarrett called The Stroke and that eliminated RVD.
Rob Van Dam eliminated by Chris Jericho
The match is down to Rock and Jericho vs. Austin and Angle. Angle worked with Jericho in the ring while Austin battled Rock on the floor with Austin sending Rock into the ringpost slingshot style. Austin back in for his team and he hit a superplex. Angle with a back elbow on Jericho. The Angle and Austin team isolated Jericho for a few minutes. Jericho bounced off the ropes and they did the double clothesline spot. Rock tagged in against Angle with Rocket hitting an overhead suplex and he applied the Sharpshooter on Angle, who tapped out quickly. Heyman was freaking out about it.
Kurt Angle eliminated by The Rock
Austin is the last man for the Alliance. Jericho went for a Lionsault on Austin, but Austin got the knees up leading to a two count. Jericho got a rollup, Austin turned him over to counter it and Austin sat on top to pin Jericho. That was enough for an elimination.
Chris Jericho eliminated Steve Austin
We are down to two with Rock facing off with Austin. Spinebuster by Rock. Jericho back in the ring and he hit The Stroke on Rock to put him down face first. Austin was slow to cover and Rock kicked out. The Undertaker ran down to ringside to prevent Jericho from interfering again. They went to the back.
Austin and Rock brawled outside the ring for a bit with Austin sending Rock into the steel steps and the ring post. Rock threw Austin over the announce table and followed up with punches. JR and Heyman were bickering again with JR telling Heyman to kiss his ass. Back in the ring, Austin hit a Spinebuster followed by a Sharpshooter. After about 30 seconds, Rock got to the ropes. Austin went for the title, he tried to use it as a weapon and Rock tripped him up with a Sharpshooter. Austin crawled to the ropes. Rock held onto the hold and Austin got to the ropes again. Low blow by Austin. Austin went for the Stunner, Rock caught the boot and hit a Stunner of his own. Austin’s lip was bleeding. Rock went for a cover, but Alliance referee Nick Patrick pulled Earl Hebner out of the ring and punched him. Rock went for a move on Patrick, but Austin hit a Rock Bottom on Rock. Patrick counted the pin and it was a two count. The crowd went wild for those nearfalls. They worked perfectly. Austin punched Patrick to send him out of the ring. Austin brought Hebner back into the ring, Rock shoved Austin into Hebner, Rock fought out of a Rock Bottom and Austin hit a Stone Cold Stunner. Austin covered and there was no referee to count. Kurt Angle ran down to the ring, hit Austin in the head with the WWE Title, the crowd cheered that and Rock hit a Rock Bottom on Austin to win the match at the 44:57 mark. The crowd was going crazy for the win!
Steve Austin eliminated by The Rock
Survivor: The Rock
Analysis: ****1/2 Awesome match. The victory meant that WWE continued to exist while The Alliance died. I don’t think anybody watching this show thought the Alliance were going to win, but it would have been an interesting twist if they did. The match was a comeback story since Rock was able to lead his team back after they were down two to four late in the match. The match felt like a big deal the entire time, but once it got down to Austin vs. Rock it felt even more special. I liked how there were a lot of twists in the match such as when Jericho turned on Rock after he was eliminated and it almost cost them the match. The big turn came at the end of the match with Angle doing the cheap shot on Austin as the guy that turned his back on the Alliance to help WWE just like Vince McMahon said. They said it would happen and it happened. It’s nice when a storyline plays out like that.
(It was an outstanding match with a ridiculous amount of star power. I will always feel like WWE ended the Invasion storyline way too soon, but at least they ended on a strong note with the best Survivor Series elimination match of all time.)
Will there ever be a five-star Survivor Series elimination match? I doubt it because it’s been over 30 years without one, but it’s certainly possible with the right booking and mix of talent.
That’s all for this column looking back at the ten best Survivor Series matches of all time.
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