Now that the smoke has cleared and Survivor Series is in the books, I figured I would take this time to elaborate on the most infamous teams that formed to compete in the original format.
For decades and even centuries, the folks backstage had been coming up with ways to expand beyond the traditional one-on-one set-up and pack more butts into seats. It began by getting celebrities involved and expanded to finding every variation of a cage or ladder. Then in 1987, Vince McMahon used his creative juices to give birth to the Survivor Series.
Survivor Series was built around the concept of five-man teams striving to survive against each other in matches of elimination that could potentially end up with every handicapped combination down to five-on-one. The format has been tinkered with over the years, but these matches continue to be a focal point for any wrestling fan and are one of the main reasons why this is one of the most anticipated PPV’s of the year.
Instead of giving my analysis of each match on the card this year, I decided to instead list my top 5 teams that I think deserve recognition. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section and sound off on who is in your top 5 is as well.
5) Team Guerrero (Eddie Guerrero, Rob Van Dam, Big Show, & John Cena)
The fall of 2004 was a good time for the SmackDown brand. Nearly everyone on the roster had a story-line or feud going at the time and the brand was stacked with talent. At the time, John “Bradshaw” Layfield was the WWE Champion with an incredible litany of good guy challengers lining up to face him. Eddie Guerrero, Rob Van Dam, the Big Show, and John Cena were all in the mix to battle the wrestling God.
This was a team stacked to compete against Kurt Angle’s cronies and came out victorious. Guerrero’s team dominated the match. Only Van Dam was eliminated from his team, leaving the all-star trio of Guerrero, Big Show and Cena remaining as survivors. Talent wise it was one of the more lopsided match-ups in Survivor Series history and so it was not a big surprise to see the top-level guys dominate and reign supreme.
4) Team DX (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, The Hardy Boys, & CM Punk)
Triple H and Shawn Michaels had reunited as D-Generation X and when their feud with the Rated RKO duo of Edge and Randy Orton carried into Survivor Series, they pulled together an impressive squad consisting of the newly reunited Hardy brothers, Matt and Jeff, plus blue chip ECW representative CM Punk, less than a year into his big league run.
You had the past, present and future all represented. If you could make all five guys 28 years old all at the same time, this would have been the greatest faction in wrestling history. You had the novelty of not only the DX reunion, but the Hardy Boys, one of the greatest tag teams of the Attitude Era, partnering back up for the first time in years. And you had Punk making his debut on a truly grand stage, an underground sensation whose best days clearly lay ahead. Every entrance pop exceeded the one before it and continued to blow the roof of the arena.
3) The Hulkamaniacs (Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts, & Demolition)
The Hulkamaniacs, who competed at Survivor Series 1989, were like a team you’d put together in a video game. Demolition, Ax and Smash, were considered the toughest tag with the coolest face paint, Jake Roberts was the dangerous babyface who had the coolest gimmick, and Hulk Hogan was the Immortal.
The team came together thanks to Hogan’s movie No Holds Barred. Who remembers that breakthrough blockbuster? The WWF decided to bring in the movie’s villain, a huge actor named Tom Lister, to portray the character of Zeus and seek revenge on Hulk Hogan “in real life” for his movie defeat. Zeus became part of Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Team and DiBiase also recruited the Powers of Pain to round out his team.
At the event, the members of each team were eliminated until only the captains, Hogan and DiBiase, remained. We all know the rest!
2) The Warriors (Ultimate Warrior, Kerry Von Erich, & The Legion of Doom)
This team was full of face painted warriors. First you had the Ultimate Warrior who was supposedly the WWF’s future in the 1990s. Then you have Kerry Von Erich, the son of Fritz Von Erich and member of one of the most legendary wrestling families of all-time. Of course, the Legion of Doom were known as the Road Warriors in the NWA and, actually, the WWF continued to introduce them as “Road Warrior Hawk, Road Warrior Animal”.
The LOD had been steamrolling opponents for half a decade, the Tornado came fresh off upsetting Mr.Perfect and the Warrior himself skyrocketed to the top of the WWF through smash mouth dominance. These guys’ combination of punches, clotheslines, tackles and slams essentially represented the ideal Survivor Series offensive assault.
While it was kind of a foregone conclusion that The Warriors were going to win, it was still a great experience to see all of the territorial legends in the ring at one time. When it comes to a team built for Survivor Series, possessing championship credibility and the optimal tools to take out the guys across the ring, I’ll still put the Warriors up above all who came before and have come since.
1) Team WWF (The Rock, Chris Jericho, Undertaker, Kane, And The Big Show)
Yes, it may have been the culmination of one of the worst-booked angles in modern wrestling history, but the Team WWF in the Winner Takes All match at Survivor Series 2001 remains the best team assembled thus far. This was during the takeover time when all wrestlers involved in the almighty purchase were trying to find a home.
With members Chris Jericho, the Rock, Kane, Big Show, the Undertaker, and Kane, Team WWF featured all of the company’s main event players minus Steve Austin and Kurt Angle, who had turned heel to join the Alliance. If you remember, it turned out that Kurt Angle was a mole working for the WWF all along.
In terms of star power, you’d be hard-pressed to find a team with as many titles won as the 2001 Team WWF squad. Every man on the team has held multiple world titles, most of them held the Intercontinental title, and only one never main-evented a WrestleMania. While all of the other teams have merit and feature legendary competitors, Team WWF for my money, takes the crown as the best Survivor Series team of all-time. Where do you rate your teams?