WWE Survivor Series 2012: Ranking the Most Star-Studded Elimination Teams
WWE's Survivor Series pay-per-view has offered fans the unique experience of seeing some of wrestling's biggest stars on massive super teams.
Members of the Hall of Fame and multi-time world champions have teamed there, stockpiling stardom in the process.
We've seen fewer five-on-five elimination matches in recent years, but the 2012 edition will be keeping that tradition alive for now. Team Ziggler puts together a rising tag team, a Money in the Bank winner, a former stable leader and a former world champ.
They'll face a team filled with stars of the regular and mega varieties.
Before those 10 men face off, let's look back on Survivor Series’ most star-studded teams in history.
15. Team Guerrero, 2004
Members: Eddie Guerrero, Big Show, John Cena, Rob Van Dam
Team Guerrero boasted one of the most famous giants in wrestling history, an ECW star, Latino Heat and a budding megastar. Eddie Guerreo replaced Rey Mysterio, who Teddy Long had placed in a cruiserweight title match.
By Survivor Series 2004, John Cena was not the celebrity he is today, but he was certainly on the rise.
His teammates, Rob Van Dam and Big Show, were both big stars in their previous promotions and had made names for themselves with WWE.
Eddie served as the team leader.
His popularity was at its peak around this time. His wily tactics and his radiant charm made him one of the biggest stars. Had this team added a fifth member, it could have been even more of a gathering of stars.
14. Team Triple H, 2007
Members: Triple H, Jeff Hardy, Rey Mysterio and Kane
Like Team Guerrero, had Team Triple H been a five-man squad, it'd likely be ranked higher. Even at four members, there was still plenty of star power there.
Rey Mysterio was a former World Heavyweight champion and fan favorite who was in the midst of another run at the world title. Team Triple H also featured highly decorated wrestlers in Kane and Triple H.
Those are three automatic Hall of Famers on one team and one less definite entry named Jeff Hardy.
For Hardy, this Survivor Series preceded his WWE main event push, but he was plenty well-known for his work in the tag team division and for his willingness to take injury risks in the ring. If Hardy is your least famed member, then you know you have a big-time group.
13. Macho Man’s Team, 1987
Members: Randy Savage, Jake Roberts, Ricky Steamboat, Brutus Beefcake and Jim Duggan
During this era, wrestlers didn't need championships in order to become stars. The only title Jake Roberts got his hand on in WWE was the Million Dollar Belt that he once snatched from Ted DiBiase.
Still, Roberts was not just a midcarder; he had a devoted following and made a name for himself on the strength of his dark promos, intriguing character and in-ring skills.
Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage had just put on their unforgettable classic at WrestleMania III eight months prior. Steamboat followed that night up with a short Intercontinental title run.
His momentum would have been even greater, but he took some time off that year to be with his family.
Beefcake and Duggan were both perennial midcarders, but rather well-known ones.
The team's biggest star was obviously Savage.
In 1987, he had yet to win the WWE title, but was the current King of the Ring and perhaps the greatest IC champ ever. He was a megastar on the rise.
12. Team Bischoff, 2003
Members: Chris Jericho, Christian, Randy Orton, Scott Steiner and Mark Henry
The non-wrestler in the equation was one of the team's biggest stars. Eric Bischoff was at the time co-managing Raw with Steve Austin. He'd made a name for himself by inserting himself into WCW vs. NWO storylines.
Bischoff recruited former undisputed champion Chris Jericho, as well as an interesting mix of other wrestlers.
Scott Steiner had played a major role at Royal Rumble and No Way Out that year, facing Triple H for his World Heavyweight Championship. Mark Henry was a powerful force, known to most for his time with Nation of Domination.
Christian built his initial notoriety on his tag battles with Edge and the aid of busted ladders and tables. By this time, he'd ventured off on his own and spent much of 2003 as Intercontinental champion.
This was toward the beginning of Randy Orton's career, so his impact on the team's star power was far less great than it would be today. Even so, Team Bischoff featured several big names and one of the most famous non-wrestler characters backing them all up.
11. The Ultimate Warriors, 1990
Members: Kerry Von Erich, The Legion of Doom and The Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior was on his way to challenging Hulk Hogan as WWE's top good guy. His popularity skyrocketed at the same rapid pace of his ring entrance.
He led a team of various warriors that was absolutely packed with big names.
The Road Warriors, aka The Legion of Doom, were the most exciting tag team of the time period and arguably of all time. Those spikes jutting from their shoulders and the bold facepaint were all part of their iconic look and unforgettable image.
The team also featured a handsome member of the much-celebrated Von Erich family.
Kerry ended up being the only member of the family to work for WWE and to experience the kind of national exposure the company offered. Together, The Ultimate Warrior's team boasted a four-men lineup of staggering celebrity in the wrestling world.
10. Team Angle, 2003
Members: Chris Benoit, John Cena, Hardcore Holly, Bradshaw and Kurt Angle
At the time of this Survivor Series, Chris Benoit had yet to have his career-defining moment at WrestleMania XX but was still a highly popular and well-respected star.
He and John Cena were clearly on the way up, ascending the WWE ladder at a rapid pace.
Hardcore Holly and Bradshaw were both upper-midcarders with healthy followings. With those four men, Team Angle had a surplus of prominence.
The team captain shifted them up several levels in that department.
The Olympic gold medalist had returned from neck surgery in June in a year where he main evented WrestleMania and won the WWE Championship at Vengeance 2003.
9. The Hulkamaniacs, 1989
Members: Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts and Demolition
Stick pro wrestling's most famous face (and set of biceps) with a dominant and distinct tag team, and you have an awesome team already.
Of course, Team Hulkamania also had one of WWE's most enduring characters and performers in Jake Roberts.
Being a four-man team is its only weakness. Had it added Dusty Rhodes, The Ultimate Warrior or even Jim Duggan, this would have been a team even more steeped in star power.
Regardless of where you stood on Hogan's overly dominant booking, you have to be impressed with how stacked this team was.
8. Team DX, 2006
Members: Triple H, Shawn Michaels, The Hardys and CM Punk
For Survivor Series 2006, Triple H and Shawn Michaels reformed the ever-popular group, DX, and added some big-time partners.
Matt and Jeff Hardy were more than just goth dudes who were in all those ladder matches. Fans had gotten behind the Hardys, especially Jeff. Jeff had just returned from a stint in TNA, reigniting his excited fanbase.
CM Punk was, of course, not as big of a star as he is today, but was the favorite wrestler of many wrestling purists. He was clearly on the way up.
He joined a loaded team that didn't have a single member get eliminated.
7. Team SmackDown, 2005
Members: Batista, Rey Mysterio, JBL, Bobby Lashley and Randy Orton
Team SmackDown's roster included World Heavyweight champion Batista, who was in the midst of the longest reign ever for that title.
This was Batista's career peak, coming off his intense rivalry with Triple H and a title win at WrestleMania 21 earlier that year.
His partner, JBL, had recently come off a record-setting title run of his own. The self-proclaimed wrestling god had been the WWE champ for nine months.
Joining them was the rising star Lashley, who had been spearing the stuffing out of his opponents on Raw. Team SmackDown also boasted two future Hall of Fame wrestlers in Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton.
6. Team Austin, 2003
Members: Shawn Michaels, Rob Van Dam, Booker T and The Dudley Boyz
In addition to the famed participants of those thrilling TLC tag team matches, D-Von and Bubba Dudley, Team Austin had one of WCW's last major stars, the venerated Rob Van Dam and the incomparable Shawn Michaels.
At the time, Van Dam had yet to win a WWE world title, but was a prominent intercontinental champ and one of Kane's many odd-couple teammates.
Booker was at his peak in popularity. He just returned from a back injury and provided main event level stardom to the team.
In addition to all of these wrestlers, WWE's most popular star ever stood in its corner. The outcome of the match was set to determine whether Stone Cold or Eric Bischoff would take control of Raw.
Austin's presence boosted the team's notoriety in a big way.
5. Andre the Giant’s Team, 1988
Members: Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect, Dino Bravo, Harley Race and Andre the Giant
A team with Hall of Famer Harley Race and wrestling legend Andre the Giant is packed with star power, regardless of who they team with.
Race didn't get the respect in WWE that he'd earned throughout his long career as a multi-time NWA World Heavyweight champion and main event draw.
Rick Rude and Mr. Perfect were both rising stars and highly visible wrestlers who occupied the upper rungs of the midcard.
Dino Bravo rounded out the team. Though he was never huge outside of Montreal, Bravo's peak was around this time.
Managers Frenchy Martin and Bobby Heenan added star power as well, especially Heenan. "The Brain" had built a powerful stable and was one of the most visible and famous managers of all time.
4. Hulk Hogan’s Team, 1987
Members: Hulk Hogan, Paul Orndorff, Don Muraco, Ken Patera and Bam Bam Bigelow
The main event for the first-ever Survivor Series pitted Hulk Hogan's team vs. the team of Andre the Giant, King Kong Bundy, Butch Reed, Rick Rude and One Man Gang.
WWE did its best to secure success for the brand new pay-per-view by sticking some of its biggest names in that main event.
Ken Patera was an Olympic weightlifter and 1977's World’s Strongest Man. In a way, he was what Ken Shamrock would later be—a respected athlete from the outside world to bring legitimacy to pro wrestling.
Patera often challenged world champion Bruno Sammartino in sold-out arenas.
Don Muraco won WWE's first-ever King of the Ring tournament just two years before this Survivor Series. He also held the intercontinental title for over a year from 1983 to 1984.
1987 was certainly the twilight of his career, but he was still extremely well-known.
The team also had Paul Orndorff, who helped launch Hulkamania and WrestleMania. A young Bam Bam Bigelow joined them, instantly drawing the fans' attention with his tattooed head and flame tights.
Those four guys make a mighty star-heavy team. Having Hogan in the heart of his prime put them in historic territory.
The number of championships and accolades accumulated between these five men is astounding.
3. Team WWE Legends, 2006
Members: Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Ron Simmons and Dusty Rhodes
Aside from the fact that the team had only four guys, the only reason Team WWE Legends isn't on top of this list is because a good chunk of the 2006 Survivor Series audience didn't know or appreciate these past-their-prime icons.
Those fans certainly respected Ric Flair, who like Hulk Hogan, has an enduring level of fame.
Considered by many to be the best wrestler ever, Flair's peak lasted several decades and saw him win world championship after world championship.
To the older crowd, Dusty Rhodes was one of pro wrestling's biggest legends as a charismatic elbow-swinging former champ. Depending on your age, he might also be remembered as the weird dancing guy in polka dots.
Hall of Famers Ron Simmons and Sgt. Slaughter filled out the rest of the team.
Simmons is known for being WCW's first African-American world champ and for kicking tail as one half of the Acolyte Protection Agency. Slaughter's stardom goes beyond the wrestling world, having been made a character in the G.I. Joe cartoons.
Former Four Horsemen member Arn Anderson stood in their corner, but he didn’t perform.
2. Team Alliance, 2001
Members: Stone Cold Steve Austin, Rob Van Dam, Kurt Angle, Booker T and Shane McMahon
One of the greatest Survivor Series matches in the event's history saw two teams fighting over the fate of the company. The build and the stakes were so massive that it almost didn't matter who was involved.
WWE wisely put some of its biggest names together.
Steve Austin was the most popular star in WWE's most popular era. He could have been teamed with a bunch of jobbers and it would still be loaded with star power.
Instead, he was paired with an Olympic gold medalist, a five-time world champ, a risk-taking fan favorite and one of the many well-known faces from the McMahon family.
One could argue that a team representing WCW should have had more WCW wrestlers, but WWE went with bigger names instead.
Booker T, at the time, was one of WCW's biggest stars, so they had no problem adding him to the mix. Instead of teaming with someone like Diamond Dallas Page, WWE decided to play it safe and add Angle as well throw in a McMahon for good measure.
1. Team WWF, 2001
Members: The Rock, Chris Jericho, Kane, Big Show and Undertaker
Facing off against Team Alliance, Team WWF fielded the most star-studded Survivor Series elimination team ever.
No other team has boasted five certain Hall of Famers. Team WWE Legends in 2006 had four members of the WWE Hall of Fame on its team, but Slaughter and Rhodes were well past their prime.
The wrestlers on Team WWF were at the peak of their careers.
The team consisted of all former world champs, all main event stars and all big names. Two of its members, The Rock and Undertaker, are each considered by some to be the greatest wrestlers of all time.
When someone as popular and accomplished as Jericho is the third biggest star on a team, you know it's teeming with star power.