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10 things you didn't know about Survivor Series
Every November, members of the WWE Universe are on the edge of their seats, waiting for their favorite Superstars to join forces and take part in the ultimate form of team competition: the Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match.
Since 1987, Superstars have been grouping up in squads of four or five to see who can outclass the other in the squared circle. WWE’s Thanksgiving tradition has provided fans opportunities they could only dream of, the ability to see previously unimaginable teams come together and do battle.
But behind all the hard-hitting tag team action are some mind-blowing facts and figures. As the 28th edition of WWE’s fall classic approaches, we dug deep into the record books to find out the craziest stats on the November spectacular.
Bad News Brown = Worst. Teammate. Ever.
There’s no denying that Bad News Brown did not like anyone. The surly Harlem, N.Y., native made that clear from the moment he first stepped foot in a WWE ring. But most of WWE’s vile villains thought Brown could have put his sour disposition aside for one night to demolish their heroic foes.
That was not the case. In 1988, The Honky Tonk Man picked Bad News for his team to take on a squad of Ultimate Warrior’s choosing. Brown looked to be a great choice, quickly eliminating Jim Brunzell. However, a little miscommunication led to Greg Valentine striking Brown. Bad News refused any apologies, instead walking out on his teammates and eliminating himself from the bout.
One year later, The Big Boss Man picked Brown for his Enforcers team. In a slight case of déjà vu, an errant right hand from the corrections officer connected with Brown’s jaw. Bad News ditched his team again, cementing his place as the worst possible choice for a teammate.
New York, Boston, Detroit and … Richfield?
When you think of cities that hold an important place in WWE history, Richfield, Ohio, might not be the first that comes to mind. Nevertheless, the city that lies halfway between Cleveland and Akron was the birthplace of the Survivor Series, hosting the first edition of the pay-per-view extravaganza in 1987.
WWE liked Richfield’s passion so much that it returned the following November, and one more time in 1992. Three other cities have hosted the Survivor Series on three occasions: New York City, Detroit and Boston. St. Louis will host WWE's Thanksgiving week extravaganza for the second time this year. They previously played host to the 1998 edition, which featured a one night tournament to crown a new WWE Champion.
That’s pretty awesome company for Richfield.
Survivor Series 1990 was a mini-tournament
Seeking to put a new spin on the Survivor Series, WWE officials upped the stakes of the 1990 edition. To see what Superstars were true survivors, whoever emerged victorious from their respective matches would advance to a final match at the end of the night.
Rick Martel’s Visionaries put the villainous side of the competition at a distinct advantage, with all four members of their team surviving an encounter with Jake Roberts’ Vipers to join The Million Dollar Man in the finale. The heroes weren’t so lucky, as only Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior and Tito Santana moved on.
Though Santana was eliminated early on, Hogan and Warrior were able to put aside their differences and valiantly fight back through the immense odds to stand tall as the ultimate survivors.
There were no Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Matches in 1998
By 1998, Survivor Series had established itself as the one night on the WWE calendar when Superstars settled their differences as part of a cohesive unit. However, there was a much more pressing matter that needed resolution in November 1998: The WWE Championship was vacant.
Mr. McMahon set up a 14-man, one-night tournament to crown a new champion. There were no teams fighting for survival that night, just individuals battling to move one step closer to the top of WWE.
Outside of matches for the World Tag Team and Women's Titles, all of Survivor Series 1998 was devoted to the tournament. In the end, Mr. McMahon and Shane McMahon conspired to help The Rock walk out with the WWE Championship around his waist.
The Undertaker vs. Hulk Hogan was the first singles match in Survivor Series history
The first three Survivor Series events were focused solely on team competition. There were no championships on the line, just bragging rights between bitter rivals.
But in 1991, a new threat emerged to Hulk Hogan’s WWE Championship. The Undertaker had arrived on the scene at Survivor Series 1990 and demolished everyone put in his path. The Deadman had more than earned an opportunity to challenge for the WWE Title.
The gravest challenge to Hulk Hogan’s reign couldn’t wait until the Royal Rumble or WrestleMania. So, WWE officials made the first singles match in Survivor Series history. With the aid of Ric Flair, The Phenom etched his name into history as one of the few Superstars to dethrone Hulk Hogan.
Another promotion’s title was defended at Survivor Series
After WWE left the National Wrestling Alliance in 1963, it was a rare occasion for another wrestling company’s title to be defended on a WWE show. Aside from a few WWE vs. NWA Championship matches, WWE preferred to focus on its own champions.
That made it all the more surprising when a bout for the Smoky Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Titles took place at Survivor Series 1993. Jim Cornette led The Heavenly Bodies, who were challenging The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express for the titles.
Making a rare appearance in WWE, Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson set out to put on a thrilling show for the Boston crowd. Unfortunately, a perfectly timed distraction from Cornette and a vicious shot from his tennis racket made sure that Tom Prichard & Jimmy Del Rey left Survivor Series with the SMW Tag Team Titles.
Doink played a massive trick on the WWE Universe
Bam Bam Bigelow couldn’t take a joke. That made Doink the Clown’s pranks on the near 400-pounder even more hilarious. But WWE’s resident prankster may have pulled off one of the greatest ruses in history at Survivor Series 1993.
Eager to get his hands on Doink, Bigelow assembled a team of Bastion Booger and The Headshrinkers to take on “Four Doinks.” No one was quite sure what that meant heading into Survivor Series. Had Doink managed to make three perfect clones of himself?
That wasn’t the case. Instead of hitting the lab to make Doink doppelgangers, the jovial clown instead enlisted two of WWE’s most fun-loving tag teams to don his trademark facepaint. Opting out of the match, the clown made The Bushwackers and Men on a Mission honorary Doinks. The Doinks went on to pitch a clean sweep of Bigelow’s team as the real clown chuckled from the locker room.
CM Punk’s epic WWE Title reign started at Survivor Series
Four hundred thirty-four days. CM Punk was quick to remind the entire WWE Universe of the length of his WWE Title reign as it grew by the day.
The longest championship reign of the modern era can be traced back to the 2011 edition of WWE’s Thanksgiving extravaganza. The Second City Saint had retribution on his mind as he faced the man who stole the WWE Title from him at SummerSlam, Alberto Del Rio.
Introduced to the sold-out Madison Square Garden by WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel, Punk hit the ring with a purpose. In a battle of submission specialists, Punk forced Del Rio to tap out to the Anaconda Vise to begin his march into the record books.
Santa Claus appeared at two Survivor Series
In the early 1990s, though, the squared circle was a little safer for Santa Claus. The man in red helped ring in the holiday season at the end of two consecutive Survivor Series events.
After Bret “Hit Man” Hart retained his WWE Title with a win over Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series 1992, Santa joined Hart in the ring as snow magically fell inside the Richfield Coliseum. One year later, Kringle parked his sleigh in Boston to celebrate Lex Luger’s victory over Yokozuna’s Foreign Fanatics.
Only one Survivor Series team has been eliminated at the same time
There have been some embarrassing eliminations in Survivor Series history, like Mike Knox’s blink-and-you missed-it appearance in 2009 and Bad News Brown’s lack of teamwork years earlier.
But few were as awkward as The Teamsters’ complete implosion in 1994. Composed of Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Jeff Jarrett, Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart, The Teamsters were well on their way to a clean sweep of Razor Ramon’s Bad Guys, thanks to a breakout performance from Big Daddy Cool.
Unfortunately, Michaels got a little cocky and demanded that Diesel hold Razor up for a little Sweet Chin Music. The Bad Guy ducked and HBK clocked his bodyguard with his boot. Big Daddy Cool flew off the handle and chased Michaels to the back. The rest of the Teamsters tried to diffuse the situation, only to get bulldozed by Diesel. The carnage led to all five Teamsters being counted out at once and Razor Ramon being named sole survivor.
Though the loss might have been embarrassing for Diesel, the disappointment didn’t last long. He captured the WWE Title just three days later.