WWE Survivor Series 2013: Most Underrated Bouts in PPV's History
Just outside the spotlight of WWE Survivor Series history resides a number of entertaining clashes that simply don't get their due.
They were not the main event. They were the well-worked undercard contests that added depth to the pay-per-view.
These matches entertained and looking back at them now, it's surprising that they aren't as lauded as Survivor Series' more famous offerings.
The most underrated and underappreciated contests in the event's history don't appear on the fan poll PWTorch.com published or the list that Yahoo.com compiled of the greatest Survivor Series matches ever. They do appear on this list, though.
Several United States Championship clashes make their way on here, but you can't top a tag team match filled with misfits.
Ranked based on the quality of the in-ring action, story and overall entertainment value contrasted with the lack of hype they get, here are the seven most overlooked Survivor Series contests.
7. 2001-Edge vs. Test
Overshadowed By: Team WWF vs. Team Alliance
With The Rock, Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and The Undertaker all competing in the main event, it's no wonder that fans think first of that classic rather than the unification match earlier in the night.
Edge's victory merged the United States Championship and Intercontinental Championship, continuing the theme of The Alliance and WWE doing battle throughout the pay-per-view.
There was a decent amount of backstory going into this, bad blood born from Test's stealing the IC title from Edge. The in-ring story was of Test overpowering Edge, who did his best to dart out of the predator's way. The last few moments were thrilling with both men kicking out of spears.
The mostly one-sided nature of this bout and the slow pace up until the end keep it from climbing higher on this list, but earns its spot with high stakes and solid story.
6. 2004-Shelton Benjamin vs. Christian
Overshadowed By: Team Orton vs. Team Triple H
On a night where two star-studded elimination bouts were more hyped, a clash for the Intercontinental Championship delivered all the thrills one could ask from an undercard match.
Christian and Shelton Benjamin had great chemistry together, something they would take advantage of five years later in a more well-known ladder match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2009. This match featured a speedy pace, a number of well-timed near falls and drama.
The two foes mixed excellent mat wrestling with spectacular athletic moves.
Tyson Tomko got involved to add controversy to the story Benjamin and Christian told. Benjamin's title win exhilarated, the IC title felt important and a bonus, Jerry Lawler was the perfect blend of irksome and entertaining as a heel announcer.
5. 1991-Team Flair vs. Team Piper
Overshadowed By: Hulk Hogan vs. The Undertaker
Aside from the anti-climactic ending, this was a prime example of Survivor Series at its best.
Big names teamed up, their respective feuds aiding the drama of the match. Ric Flair hated Roddy Piper, and Ted DiBiase and Virgil were in a highly contentious rivalry, for example.
One of the better paced and most engaging traditional Survivor Series elimination matches in the event's history ended in strange fashion when the referee disqualified everyone in the ring, leaving Flair to claim victory.
Everything up to that point, the seething animosity, the intriguing collection of talent and exciting in-ring action should have it talked about more when discussing the greatest classic tag team bouts at the pay-per-view. That underwhelming ending, however, keeps it from surpassing the best of the underrated bouts.
4. 2010-Daniel Bryan vs. Ted DiBiase
Overshadowed By: Team Mysterio vs. Team Del Rio
The only traditional elimination match of the night had the bigger story in Rey Mysterio and Alberto Del Rio's rivalry. The same is true for the main event, with John Cena trying to pry himself free from Nexus' grasp.
It was the United States Championship bout that stole the show.
Daniel Bryan was not nearly as popular then as he is now so maybe some fans have forgotten about the excellence he showcased against Ted DiBiase. This was DiBiase's finest singles match. He and Bryan delivered several standout sequences.
Theirs was a fluid and captivating match.
Bryan hurting his shoulder on a suicide dive and DiBiase suplexing the champ to the outside were two of the bout's many highlights. Given a little more time and a touch more backstory and this match would find its way on a list of the best Survivor Series has had to offer rather than settling for the ranks of the underrated.
3. 2006-Chris Benoit vs. Chavo Guerrero
Overshadowed By: Team Big Show vs. Team Cena
The best of Survivor Series 2006 came two matches into the event.
Building on a story that involved Rey Mysterio, Eddie and Vickie Guerrero, Chris Benoit and Chavo Guerrero put on a fantastic display in the ring. This bout had everything that Ted DiBiase and Daniel Bryan did in 2010 with the aggression amplified and a narrative that made the match more personal and more significant.
Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart's names appear again again on lists of the greatest Survivor Series matches, while Guerrero and Benoit are not mentioned nearly enough.
The shortness of the match and it's placement on the card are mostly to blame for that. This United States Championship match only going about eight minutes allows two other bouts to pass it here. The teams that competed in those clashes simply had more opportunity to entertain.
2. 1987-First-Ever Elimination Tag Team Match
Overshadowed By: 20-Man Tag Match
The inaugural Survivor Series pay-per-view began with an overload of momentum thanks to Randy Savage's team defeating Honky Tonk Man's squad.
The star power and novelty of the match made it an entertaining one. Everyone involved, from Danny Davis to Harley Race, from Ricky Steamboat to Jake Roberts made this a memorable bit of fun.
The 20-man tag match later in the night received more critical acclaim. Wrestling Observer, for example, via ProFightDB.com, gave it 1.75 more stars than the pay-per-view opener. With Steamboat's impressive moments of agility, the feel-good emotions brought on by the heroes winning and the Savage's rivalry with Honky Tonk Man steaming, there is plenty to praise about this bout.
This match churned by enormous energy from the crowd and set the table for Survivor Series exceptionally well.
For that, it should be mentioned more frequently as one of the better matches in event history. It only fails to claim the top spot here because its star power gets it more fanfare than the following collection of underdogs.
1. 1995-The Bodydonnas vs. The Underdogs
Overshadowed By: Bret Hart vs. Diesel
There aren't a ton of best-of lists that feature the likes of Hakushi, Barry Horowitz, Marty Jannetty, Rad Radford and Skip. Bret Hart and Diesel's battle for the WWE Championship is more often recognized for its greatness, while this elimination bout is often forgotten about.
The powerbomb from the top rope shown in the above video alone should get it more attention.
Quickness and mat work was the foundation of the action, especially from Hakushi, who received big responses from the crowd and the 1-2-3 Kid who provided a number of highlights.
The goofy gimmicks and lack of star power in play here have this match fall out of contention for Survivor Series' greatest hits, but for its in-ring thrills, it deserves to be praised far more.