Since the next PPV in line is Survivor Series, let’s take a look at the top 5 controversies we have witnessed at this major event
5. Survivor Series 2001: Winner Takes All Match
The main event of the 2001 Survivor Series was the closing rivalry of a highly underachieved WCW/ECW Invasion angle.
Team WWE (The Rock, Chris Jericho, Kane, Undertaker and Big Show) faced Team Alliance (Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Booker T and Shane McMahon). Prominently, a stipulation was added that stated that the losing team’s organisation would, in Undertaker’s words, Rest in Peace, and its wrestlers would all be future endeavored. (Yo Vince)
The match, one of the most star-studded in WWE history, was chaotic one that saw a series of repeated pin falls until only Jericho and The Rock were left on the WWE side of things and Steve Austin and Kurt Angle were left to represent the WCW/ECW alliance.
At one point, Rock held Angle in the Sharpshooter, and the Olympic gold medalist tapped out in seconds.
Both referees Earl Hebner and Nick Patrick would take finishers (pretty common in good old days), leaving no one to witness Angle make his way back down the ramp, pick up the WWE title and smack Austin with it.
Rock would deliver his signature Rock Bottom and cover his favorite rival for the win, bringing an end to the Alliance of WCW and ECW stars.
4. Survivor Series 1994: Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund in a Submission Match
For the most part, Backlund had been absent from WWF television in 1994, making an occasional appearance, but doing nothing of note. Until June, when on an episode of Superstars, Backlund got a shot at Bret’s title. Bret won the match, but not without trouble, as the aging Backlund put on a great performance. After the match, however, Backlund snapped, trapping Bret in a submission move he hadn’t used since his return, the Crossface Chicken-Wing, a submission that looks like a cross between an armbar/chinlock, except a lot cooler looking. In the weeks and months following this sudden attitude change, Backlund would rack up wins and victims, including top of the line guys such as Lex Luger and the 1-2-3 Kid, to the likes of his old manager Arnold Skaaland and WWF Magazine editor Lou Gianfredo. Eventually, a rematch was signed, where the only way to be declared the victor was to win by submission. However, with only days left before the PPV, that stipulation changed to where the only way to win as to have your corner man throw in the towel, in direct reference to how Backlund lost his WWF championship to the Iron Sheik in December of 1983. And now you know the rest of the story.
A perfect Match between WWE champion Bret Hart and No. 1 contender Bob Backlund at the 1994 Survivor Series showcased the technical abilities of these wrestlers.
The controversy didn’t begin because of the way Backlund won the title. Instead, the controversy began because Backlund won the title in the first place.
For an entire year, the company had promoted its “Upcoming Generation.” It was a movement that championed faster, skinny, more athletic Superstars rather than the typical old Body builders and ‘superstars’ Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling was selling.
3. Survivor Series 2002: A controversial Main Event
…..HBK now heads ALL THE WAY up top on the chamber. HBK hits the Macho elbow off the top but he’s too out of it to cover. Instead, he gets to his feet and tunes up the band. Triple H catches the kick in an identical spot from their street fight and again spins him around for the Pedigree, but this time HBK doesn’t counter to a roll up for the victory. H hits the Pedigree instead but is too out of it to cover. Delayed cover gets 2. H goes for another but HBK backdrops out and hits the SCM and covers to win his last ever world title at 39:21.
Jim Ross goes way over-the-top announcer and says “do you believe in miracles?”
The commentary and the crowd reaction still pops in my head. It was WOW. Shawn winning was a HUGE surprise since he has wrestled only one match since making his return to the WWE after a four-year absence and, at the time, we all thought it was for only one match. A controversial yet a perfect decision to push Michaels as he went on to win numerous hearts with constant high quality matches.
2. Survivor Series 1999: The Big Show vs. the Rock vs. Triple H
WWE perfectly used it’s mention, “Card subject to Change” in this PPV. The main event was a scheduled Triple Threat match between Triple H, The Rock and a replacement for the injured and hospitalized Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWF Championship. The Big Show was revealed to be Austin’s substitution. Triple H and Rock started double-teaming The Big Show but he clotheslined both of them and started dominating them. The three battled each other until their battle reached to the ringside. The action returned to the ringside, where Rock eventually performed an People’s Elbow on The Big Show. A controversial decision of showing a backstage clip of Austin getting run over by a mysterious driver to the live audience and adding Big show in the triple threat match.
1. Survivor Series 1997: The Screw Job
The Montreal Screwjob was the real life double-crossing of defending WWF Champion Bret Hart by Vince McMahon, the owner of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), during the main event match of the professional wrestling pay-per-view event Survivor Series held on November 9, 1997 at the Molson Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. A secret change of the match’s pre-determined finish (known as a “shoot screwjob” in professional wrestling parlance) was devised by McMahon and discussed with Hart’s match opponent, Shawn Michaels. The plan was executed when the match referee, Earl Hebner, under orders from McMahon, called for the bell to ring and ended the match as Michaels held Hart in the Sharpshooter submission hold (Hart’s signature finishing move), even though Hart had not submitted. Michaels was declared the victor by submission and crowned as the new WWF Champion.
The reason for this screwjob was rooted in Hart’s decision to leave McMahon’s company for its chief competitor, World Championship Wrestling (WCW), after McMahon told Hart that financial problems would not allow him to keep Hart on under his recently signed 20 year contract. Hart cited a clause in his contract that granted him “reasonable creative control” and was steadfast in his refusal to lose a match hosted in his home country of Canada, especially against Shawn Michaels, with whom he did not get along. McMahon remained insistent that Hart should lose to Michaels in Montreal, fearing that his company’s business would suffer if WCW announced Hart as its latest signing while he still held the WWF World title. Although Hart and McMahon agreed to a compromise on the match ending that allowed Hart to retain the title, McMahon was determined to remove the title from Hart.
The screwjob has garnered a notorious legacy both on-screen and off, and was partly chronicled in the documentary film Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows. The far-reaching impact of the incident led to its adoption as a theme in matches and storylines of the WWF’s Attitude Era and the creation of the character, “Mr. McMahon”, the evil boss. Hart was ostracized from the WWF, while McMahon and Michaels continued to receive angry responses from audiences for many years.
That pretty much made tons of fans hate Shawn Michaels (Canadian fans mostly) and also brought forth this rivalry between Bret Hart and Vince McMahon which “some” say ended in 2010 with their match at Wrestlemania, but I’m sure the initial hatred still lives on in Bret.