WWE Survivor Series 2017: 10 Most Memorable Moments in Event's History

Erik BeastonFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2017

WWE Survivor Series 2017: 10 Most Memorable Moments in Event's History

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Debuts. Controversies. Returns.

    The history of Survivor Series is dotted with unforgettable moments that have helped it become one of the most anticipated, exciting and beloved pay-per-views on WWE's annual schedule.

    From the arrival of The Deadman to the unceremonious departure of Bret Hart, the event has been home to moments that remain etched in the memories of fans both old and young.

    On November 19, WWE will attempt to present a show that lives up to the considerable legacy of the fall classic with several SmackDown Live vs. Raw matches.

    Will it, though, be able to deliver any moments that will be better or more vividly recalled than those recalled in this article?

    Only time will tell.

    Until then, relive the hearty history of the event with these 10 most memorable, definitive moments in Survivor Series history.

10. The Corporate Champion

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    Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon manipulated Mankind and screwed "Stone Cold" Steve Austin en route to establishing their chosen corporate champion in The Rock.

    Over the course of the Deadly Game Tournament to determine the new WWE champion in 1998, Rock defeated McMahon's hired gun Big Boss Man in three seconds, intercepted a nightstick from that same bodyguard and blasted Ken Shamrock with it to win his quarterfinals match and advanced through the semifinals when Kane got his brother, The Undertaker, intentionally disqualified.

    He then rolled into the final to battle Mankind, who had been gifted nearly every victory by the McMahons as they kept up the charade that he was their chosen one.

    Replicating the Montreal Screwjob from a year earlier, Rock trapped Mankind in the Sharpshooter, and Vince called for the premature bell, awarding the match and title to The Great One in what was the conclusion to one of the best and most well-booked tournaments in wrestling history.

9. The Great One Returns

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    The Rock had not wrestled a match in WWE since WrestleMania XX in 2004.

    That event was held in Madison Square Garden, so it was only appropriate that his return match, a tag team bout in which he and John Cena battled The Miz and R-Truth at Survivor Series in 2011, took place in the same building. That it was also the building in which he made his WWE debut only added to the special feeling of the entire ordeal.

    Energized by a red-hot audience, Rock hit the ring and took the fight to Miz and Truth as if he had never left. He looked crisp and sharp, even more so than he would months later at WrestleMania XXVIII, when he battled Cena in the Once in a Lifetime match.

    Rock and Cena won the tag team main event to send the fans home happy.

8. Hit and Run

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    When Steve Austin was suffering from a neck injury that was badly in need of major surgery, it was clear he would not be able to compete in the advertised Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship that would pit him against The Rock and Triple H at the 1999 Survivor Series.

    WWE Creative needed to get him out of that match, and it accomplished that goal in grand fashion.

    Midway through the pay-per-view broadcast, Austin fought Triple H into the parking lot of the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Suddenly and without warning, he was run over by a speeding car in a blatant and televised bit of vehicular assault.

    The event would not only write Austin out of the marquee bout but also create a whodunit storyline that engulfed WWE over the next year and kept fans guessing about the assailant's identity.

7. The Beast's 1st Loss

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    Brock Lesnar was an unstoppable force upon his arrival on the WWE main roster in 2002.

    The former collegiate wrestler tore through the competition, laying waste to the likes of Hulk Hogan, The Rock and The Undertaker en route to the WWE Championship. As November rolled around and Survivor Series drew nearer, it looked like SmackDown would become The Beast's playground.

    Then the unthinkable happened.

    Big Show exploded from irrelevance to the main event on the blue brand. Not only that, but he was positioned as the physical equal of Lesnar, manhandling him on more than one occasion during the build to the pay-per-view event.

    With manager Paul Heyman in his ear, warning him Big Show may be too enormous a task to take on, Lesnar became more and more furious. He accepted a title match with the giant, against the wishes of his advocate, and it would prove to be a mistake.

    In Madison Square Garden, Lesnar was screwed by Heyman, who worked with Big Show to take the title off the young destroyer. The loss was Lesnar's first. It also set up a babyface turn that would culminate with Lesnar tearing through both of the conspirators before defeating Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship the following April at WrestleMania.

6. Sting's WWE Debut

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    The main event of the 2014 Survivor Series saw Team Cena battle Team Authority. If Cena's team won, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon would be gone from WWE forever. If Team Authority was victorious, everyone on Team Cena would be fired, except for the namesake Superstar.

    When Cena was eliminated early, leaving Dolph Ziggler to fight for the jobs of his teammates, many thought they were witnessing another instance in which the hated Authority would triumph.

    Ziggler's resilience kept him in the match, but it was the long-awaited debut of Sting that helped even the odds and led to the babyfaces' victory.

    For years, fans had anxiously anticipated the moment Sting would walk through the curtain and set foot inside the WWE ring. When it finally happened, there was genuine excitement surrounding his debut.

    The face-painted icon proved on that night the power of the part-time Superstar. As long as he is not put over at the expense of younger talents, his star power will drum up interest and create excitement about the product.

    Sting did just that for WWE, beginning with his initial appearance at Survivor Series.

5. Introducing the Elimination Chamber

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    The 2002 Survivor Series may have seen Brock Lesnar's first loss, but it also featured the debut of the Elimination Chamber.

    Inside Madison Square Garden, Triple H would defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Kane, Chris Jericho, Booker T, Shawn Michaels and Rob Van Dam. An intricately booked match, featuring top Raw stars who had previous issues with each other and The Game, it was the perfect exclamation point on a show that ranks as one of the best in event history.

    The Superstars unleashed hell, punishing one another on the steel-grated floor, the chain-link walls and the Plexiglas holding cells. It was a violent, physically intense match that risked the health of the men involved, including Triple H, who wrestled the majority of the 45-minute contest with crushed windpipe after taking a knee to the throat from Rob Van Dam.

    The match would see Michaels cap off his improbable comeback with a World Heavyweight Championship victory and give fans the happy ending they so hoped they would see.

4. The Shield's Debut

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    The loud-mouthed, brash and arrogant WWE champion CM Punk was faced with the unenviable task of defending his title in a Triple Threat match against John Cena and Ryback at Survivor Series 2012. And given how furious he had made both challengers to that point, the probability he would leave the event with the title around his waist was low.

    That is unless he had some help.

    Enter Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns.

    In black turtlenecks.

    Because that never is not hilarious.

    The trio attacked Ryback at ringside, picking the unstoppable babyface force up into the air and delivering a devastating triple powerbomb through the announce table.

    Few could have known at the time, but they were witnessing the debuts of three Superstars around whom the future of the company would be built. Known collectively as The Shield, the trio would go on to stunning success, defeating every top Superstar the company had to offer, usually in stunningly entertaining and frenetically paced matches.

3. Rocky Maivia's Debut

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    The 1996 Survivor Series in New York's famed Madison Square Garden featured the debut of young Rocky Maivia.

    A blue-chip prospect and third-generation competitor, Maivia was pegged as a Superstar of the future from the get-go, a performer who would shape WWE for years to come.

    On that night, in front of a rabid fanbase, he made a good first impression.

    The future People's Champion overcame a numbers disadvantage and fueled the babyface team to victory, defeating Goldust and Crush in succession, by himself, to win the match.

    It was a triumphant introduction to someone who would go on to become one of the biggest crossover stars the industry has ever produced.

2. Undertaker's Debut

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    The Undertaker emerged from the darkness on November 22, 1990, to begin a WWE career that would span 27 years and see him become the greatest phenomenon the company had ever produced. Stalking toward the squared circle menacingly, an air of mystery surrounding him, he appeared lifeless. He was, very much, the walking dead before it was cool.

    Fans stood in awe of him. Not only was his presentation extraordinary, but his athletic abilities and agility were unlike anything fans had witnessed from a man of his size.

    He tore through Dusty Rhodes' team, picking off Koko B. Ware with relative ease and dishing out punishment to anyone else in his path before being counted out.

    The loss did not faze him one bit. Undertaker had made an unforgettable impression on the audience, thanks in large part to the dedication with which he played the role from the first night.

    Within a year, he would be WWE champion—and in two, he was one of the most popular stars on the roster.

1. Montreal Screwjob

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    The Montreal Screwjob is the most controversial moment in WWE history and Survivor Series' most enduring moment.

    The unfathomable collusion between company owner Vince McMahon, star wrestler Shawn Michaels and referee Earl Hebner to forcibly take the WWE Championship from Bret Hart, in front of a worldwide audience, shook the wrestling world.

    Sports entertainment had blurred the line between fiction and reality, as management had betrayed the trust of one of the company's most decorated and respected performers. Citing the need to protect his brand, McMahon defended his actions while critics and fans alike denounced them, irate that he would take such drastic measures.

    The Montreal Screwjob, as it would become known in its aftermath, has become the stuff of legend. It has also been replicated more times than anyone would care to count.

    Its controversial nature and the conspiracy behind it has made it the most infamous moment and one of the biggest talking points in the history of pro wrestling and ensured Hart, Michaels and McMahon will be forever linked.