Jay's Ways - Survivor Series Moments Submitted by Justin Watry on 11/18/2020 at 12:25 PM
On Tuesday night, WWE's Facebook page posted its own version of the Top 20 Survivor Series Moments of all-time. Obviously, with the event taking place this Sunday night, it made sense to focus on the history of the pay-per-view. While all lists are subjective, I thought the company did a pretty good job with the rankings and while I won't spoil it for you, the top two definitely deserved its place. Well, that was WWE's list. Mine in this column will focus on what was "forgotten." What did WWE NOT list in their top twenty?
Let's start with one of my personal favorites but as I mentioned, it is never really discussed very much...
Two Kurt Angles - Let me set the stage for you. Kurt Angle had just won his very first WWE Championship in October 2000 at No Mercy by defeating The Rock. Clearly an upset with the newcomer going over the top guy in the industry at the time. It was big. His first challenger was going to be The Undertaker! The Undertaker, the same guy who was marking his ten year anniversary in WWE and had just came back after a little bit of time off. This had all the makings of a title switch, especially when the past three Survivor Series event saw the WWE Championship change hands. To the surprise of nobody, Taker was the heavy favorite and looked to be grabbing the gold...until Angle ran under the ring. Taker quickly dragged him back out from his feet, threw him in the ring and delivered a giant Last Ride. His finisher at the time. Good ol' Earl Hebnar counted one, two, and then stopped. Uh oh. There was no kick out. Did we have another screwjob? At that very moment of the crowd's excited confusion...Kurt Angle ran from behind and rolled up Taker one, two, three for the win. He may have used Taker's tights for that extra bit of cheating, but what happened? What just happened? As Taker got up bewildered, there was the 'other' Kurt Angle laying in the ring still knocked out from the Last Ride moments earlier. An absolutely shocking moment if you ask me. As we later found out, that was Kurt Angle's brother who looked just like him! They used this ploy a few more times (with others as well), but this moment always stood out to me as the first time I was stunned by the dastardly act.
Team Austin vs. Team Bischoff - Stone Cold and Eric Bischoff were co-General Managers of RAW in 2003. It was clearly coming to a head at Survivor Series. If Team Austin won, he could go back to being the 'old' Stone Cold we all know and love. No corporate restrictions. No more mister nice guy. No more talking, rather than fighting! We wanted to see the beer drinker, the Stunners, etc. That is what we wanted. However, if Eric Bischoff's team won, Stone Cold was history. Bye-bye. Gone. No more Raw wrestler and no more RAW General Manager. High stakes and the hype was amazing. I think Survivor Series 2003 was a STACKED card and remember thinking that at the time as well. This was the highlight though. A great, great match. One of those classics that is often overlooked. On lists of greatest Survivor Series elimination tag matches, this has to be at the top or near it. In the end, we saw a gutsy performance from Shawn Michaels trying to help his old nemesis...but losing. After a bloody battle, HBK lost, and Steve Austin was sent packing. He gave an emotional speech afterwards (in Texas no less), and it was quite the moment. Now let's just forget the fact he was back a month later handing out Stunners.
Freed or Fired - Ten years ago, there was this invading group called Nexus trying to take over WWE. It was a wild time for the company. It all led up to WWE Champion Randy Orton putting his title on the line at Survivor Series 2010 versus the Nexus leader Wade Barrett. In the middle of it all was John Cena as the special guest referee. Thanks to a stipulation a month earlier, he was actually currently forced to be a part of Nexus! Again, wild time as Cena was the reluctant member of the top heel faction. Here was the deal though. If Orton retained, Cena would be fired. If Barrett won, Cena would be freed from being a part of the Nexus. Built up as "Freed or Fired" and let me tell you, I loved it. The video packages and drama surrounding it all was top notch. What would Cena do? He couldn't go against his moral code and help the heel Barrett get the prized WWE Championship. At the same time, if he leaned towards Orton's way or even allowed him to win, he'd be fired. The dude was in the prime of his career, just headlining six straight WrestleManias from 2005-2010 (with more to assuredly come after). Lots of build, just as to what Cena would do with many (not me) AGAIN thinking a big heel turn would happen for the Doctor of Thuganomics. Like I said, wild, wild, time let me tell you. Anyways, it finally came time for the match, and Cena called it right down the middle. Whatever was going to happen would happen. Orton hit an RKO at the conclusion and Cena counted one, two, slight pause, three. Such a dramatic moment and that slight pause made the moment. Not even Matt Striker completely blowing the call on commentary could ruin it. Yeah, he sucked on commentary and was gone two months later thankfully. Orton and Cena hugged. Two long time rivals respecting each other and both knowing that Cena just got fired to do the right thing for Orton. Lots of little story telling involved there. Cena gave an emotional walk to the back as the pay-per-view ending. His goodbye speech the next night was just as emotional. Like most things in WWE, we will forget about the followup and just focus on this amazing moment.
Brock Lesnar's history - The WWE Facebook video did indeed focus on Brock Lesnar a little bit. His bout for the WWE Title against Big Show (and turn from Paul Heyman) was on there. The Bill Goldberg showdown was obviously showcased. I think his more recent stuff has been overlooked. Nobody and I mean NOBODY brings it like him. I don't care who is full-time or part-time. When Brock Lesnar has a big match, there is nothing like it. His match with AJ Styles, his match with Daniel Bryan, his match with Rey Mysterio and yes, even his quick loss to Bill Goldberg in 2016. All of those took place at Survivor Series and were memorable in their own unique way. I am still trying to figure out why the special attraction and aura of Brock is not more appreciated. You'd think wrestling fans of all people would be able to appreciate that...but I guess not?
Scott Steiner returns - If you were not following the wrestling world in 2002, allow me to rewind a bit. WCW had gone out of business in March 2001. That meant a whole ton of their stars were either still on expiring on contracts to sit at home and get paid millions...or free to negotiate with WWE. Some took buy outs and different deals to debut with WWE right away in 2001. Others waited a bit. Some waited A LOT (Sting). Either way, Scott Steiner had completely transformed his look, body, attitude and character since being with The Steiners in WWE a million years earlier. He was now a legitimate main event act in WCW. Come October 2002, it was announced that Scott Steiner had signed with WWE! Big news. Now what brand would he debut for? When would he debut? How? Lots of questions. Come Survivor Series 2002, Chris Nowinski (RAW) and Matt Hardy (Smackdown) were in the ring making fun of the Madison Square Garden New York City fans...when the familiar sirens hit. The live crowd went nuts. It is easy to look back now and laugh at the 2002-2004 Steiner WWE run, but this was huge. Steiner came out and wiped the floor with a Raw guy and a Smackdown, continuing the mystery of where he would eventually sign. Good stuff. He was the most talked about man in the entire WWE...for about three months.
I am going to stick with those five. I could go on forever here. What Survivor Series moments do YOU think were 'forgotten' by WWE?