Survival of the fittest

Survival of the fittest

In the fall of 2001, World Wrestling Entertainment was under attack.

Earlier that year, Shane McMahon had purchased a controlling interest in World Championship Wrestling and began using the promotion's renegade competitors to orchestrate a takeover of his father's WWE. A battle for supremacy raged throughout the months that followed, with Stephanie McMahon and the hardcore competitors from Extreme Championship Wrestling forming an alliance with WCW and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Kurt Angle turning their backs on WWE. But all of the paranoia and pandemonium came to a head at Survivor Series that same year when the motley crew of The Rock, Chris Jericho, Big Show, Kane and The Undertaker banded together to protect their home in the No. 2 moment on's list of Heated Pursuits.

Joined together under the leadership of Mr. McMahon, this team was assembled to battle the WCW/ECW Alliance squad of Austin, Angle, Booker T, Rob Van Dam and Shane McMahon in a traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match. The rules were simple — the winning team takes all — but the stakes were never higher. If Mr. McMahon's group failed, WWE would be finished.

Although they were unified against a common enemy, this squad of legendary Superstars was by no means united. At the time, The Rock and Chris Jericho were waging a heated rivalry over the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, Big Show had the world's largest chip on his shoulder and The Brothers of Destruction wanted to take on the entire invading horde by themselves. And Mr. McMahon had never been more on edge. Not only had two of his top Superstars defected to the enemy side, but his own children were trying to destroy everything he'd worked so hard to create.

With all of this infighting and uncertainty weighing heavy on their minds, the wild bunch entered one of the most important matches in WWE history and nearly blew it. When the bout came down to The Rock & Jericho against Austin, Stone Cold managed to eliminate the nefarious Superstar with a rollup. Then, putting his frustrations ahead of his team, Jericho laid The Great One out, nearly allowing Austin to get the win for the Alliance.

Miraculously, The Rock fought back from defeat, but the true hero of the match proved to be Kurt Angle. Revealing his true allegiance to WWE, Angle ran down to the ring and whacked Austin with the WWE Championship, allowing The People's Champ to nail the Rock Bottom for the victory.

As the official counted to three, the WWE locker room rejoiced, but there was no celebration between the members of Team WWE. The squad successfully completed their mission, but they would go on to war with each other as if this huge accomplishment had never happened.

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