WWE Survivor Series 2014: Worst Event Cards in PPV's History
Any time an event of any kind lasts nearly three decades, as World Wrestling Entertainment's Survivor Series has, there is destined to be a few incarnations that leave fans underwhelmed, disappointed or, in worst-case scenarios, disenfranchised.
Over the course of 28 years, Vince McMahon's promotion has done a great deal to make the fall classic one of the most beloved events on the annual schedule. From the elimination tag bouts to the memorable debuts and controversial finishes, so many Survivor Series moments are etched forever in the minds of the fans who witnessed them live and those who relive them now, courtesy of the WWE Network (free for the month of November...take advantage of it).
Of course, not every show can be as great or as fondly remembered as others. There have been a handful of shows that featured questionable booking, mediocre wrestling or awful storytelling and, as a result, rank among the worst in event history.
What shows have that dubious distinction?
I'm glad you asked.
8. Survivor Series 2008
- Shawn Michaels, Cryme Tyme, The Great Khali and Rey Mysterio vs. JBL, Kane, MVP, John Morrison and The Miz
- Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Candice Michelle and Jillian Hall vs. Michelle McCool, Victoria, Maria, Maryse and Natalya
- Casket Match: The Undertaker vs. Big Show
- Batista, CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, Matt Hardy and R-Truth vs. Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Mark Henry, William Regal and Shelton Benjamin
- WWE Championship Match: Triple H vs. Edge vs. Vladimir Kozlov
- World Heavyweight Championship Match: John Cena vs. Chris Jericho
There are times in WWE when the company presents a strong card with intriguing matchups that fail to live up to expectations. The talent is there, chemistry between the Superstars has been proved via past matches and interactions and the stories are interesting. For whatever reason, though, fans are left underwhelmed by the action that eventually plays out for the world to see.
On the heels of strong No Mercy and Cyber Sunday pay-per-views, fans had every reason to believe that Survivor Series would continue the streak of quality productions. Unfortunately, the decision to keep Jeff Hardy off the show at the last minute, as well as some very average elimination tag bouts and a rusty John Cena, created a very average show that left fans less excited about the conclusion of a solid 2008 than they had been previously.
The absence of Hardy took what could have been a very entertaining Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship between he, Triple H and Vladimir Kozlov and left The Game to battle the green rookie in a boring bout that picked up only when Edge made his return and won the title from out of nowhere.
Cena, still recovering from neck surgery, beat Chris Jericho to capture the World Heavyweight Championship in a match that would have been better suited for Raw than pay-per-view.
Overall, the show didn't leave fans excited or disappointed; rather, they were indifferent and dispassionate.
There is no worse outcome an entertainment company can hope for.
7. Survivor Series 2000
- Steve Blackman, Crash Holly and Molly Holly vs. T&A and Trish Stratus
- Billy Gunn, Chyna, K-Kwik and Road Dogg vs. Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn
- Chris Jericho vs. Kane
- European Championship: Hardcore Holly vs. William Regal
- The Rock vs. Rikishi
- Women's Championship: Lita vs. Ivory
- WWE Championship: The Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle
- The Dudley Boyz and The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge, Christian, Bull Buchanan and the Goodfather
- Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Triple H
The year 2000 was, arguably, the finest in WWE's 50-year history, as the company turned out quality matches on a consistent basis, created stories that made sense and had characters people cared about. Unfortunately, even the hottest year Vince McMahon's promotion had ever produced had its missteps, and the Survivor Series was one of them.
Only the match between The Rock and Rikishi was anything even remotely close to a good match. The two Samoan stars turned in an interesting, entertaining bout that saw The Great One defeat the culprit behind the vehicular assault of Steve Austin a year earlier, only to pay for his win in the form of the banzai drop.
The night's traditional elimination tag bouts were uninspired, with neither match excelling past "good." In the case of the bout pitting the Radicals against Chyna, Gunn, K-Kwik and Road Dogg, fans were even more disappointed, as stars like Benoit, Guerrero and Malenko could typically be counted on to deliver between the ropes.
Chris Jericho and Kane lacked any real chemistry with each other, something fans bore witness to once again some 14 years later, while the ludicrous finish to Steve Austin vs. Triple H really ended the night on a sour note.
6. Survivor Series 2004
- Cruiserweight Championship: Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero vs. Billy Kidman vs. Spike Dudley
- Intercontinental Championship: Shelton Benjamin vs. Christian
- Eddie Guerrero, Rob Van Dam, Big Show and John Cena vs. Kurt Angle, Mark Jindrak, Luther Reigns and Carlito
- The Undertaker vs. Heidenreich
- Women's Championship: Lita vs. Trish Stratus
- WWE Championship: Booker T vs. John Bradshaw Layfield
- Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho and Maven vs. Triple H, Batista, Edge and Snitsky
To say that 2004 was not necessarily a strong period of time for WWE would be an understatement. SmackDown was a mess, with stars such as Heidenreich, Luther Reigns and Mark Jindrak turning in poor performances on a regular basis while fans turned off the product. Raw, on the other hand, was trying to find its feet after an ill-fated Randy Orton babyface turn had left the brand with a very disjointed main event scene.
The status-quo nature of the overall product affected the quality of the Survivor Series, a show that featured the potential for some very good matches but was ultimately marred by questionable booking decisions and a lack of chemistry between some of the competitors.
Sticking out like a sore thumb is the match between Undertaker and Heidenreich, which was just a bad mach from beginning to end, thanks in large part to the underwhelming quality of the latter's work.
The clean sweep of Kurt Angle's team by Team Eddie Guerrero robbed fans of what could have been a strong match featuring some of the most over and talented babyfaces in the industry.
Speaking of over babyfaces, Booker T and JBL battled for the WWE Championship but failed to captivate the audience.
The main event was quite good, despite the obvious issues with Randy Orton as the top babyface, and serves as one of the few bright spots of an otherwise dismal event.
5. Survivor Series 2003
- Kurt Angle, John Cena, Chris Benoit, Hardcore Holly and Bradshaw vs. Brock Lesnar, Nathan Jones, Matt Morgan, Big Show and A-Train
- Women's Championship: Lita vs. Molly Holly
- Ambulance Match: Shane McMahon vs. Kane
- Tag Team Championship: Los Guerreros vs. The Basham Brothers
- Shawn Michaels, Booker T, The Dudley Boyz and Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho, Christian, Randy Orton, Mark Henry and Scott Steiner
- Buried Alive Match: The Undertaker vs. Vince McMahon
- World Heavyweight Championship: Goldberg vs. Triple H
Some 10 years after WWE turned in an awful Survivor Series event, it celebrated accordingly with a one-match show that continued 2003's streak of bad wrestling and putrid storytelling.
Triple H and Goldberg stunk up the joint in the night's main event, as The Game was still not completely healed from the groin injury that had hampered him throughout the second half of the year. Goldberg was once again exposed in a match that went far longer than anything he should have been competing in, though by fighting off Evolution on his own, he was allowed to look absolutely dominant for the first time in his WWE stint.
The Undertaker's Buried Alive match with Mr. McMahon was exactly what it should have been, as the American Badass destroyed McMahon, beating and busting him over before dragging his carcass to the grave site.
Unfortunately, Kane appeared and helped McMahon to victory. Though the match was laid out well, that does not mean it was good. It was overly long and featured the ignition of yet another chapter in the long feud between the Brothers of Destruction.
Shawn Michaels turned in one of the finest performances of his career, as he overcame a numbers disadvantage and nearly won the huge traditional Survivor Series elimination tag match to secure Raw general manager Steve Austin's job but ultimately fell prey to interference by Batista and an RKO courtesy of Randy Orton.
Unfortunately, his and Chris Benoit's standout performances in the night's tag bouts were not enough to overcome another bad show in a string of them from a company colder than ice from an in-ring performance standpoint.
4. Survivor Series 2006
- Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Dusty Rhodes and Ron Simmons vs. The Spirit Squad
- United States Championship: Chris Benoit vs. Chavo Guerrero
- Women's Championship: Mickie James vs. Lita
- Triple H, Shawn Michaels, CM Punk and the Hardy Boyz vs. Edge, Randy Orton, Gregory Helms, Johnny Nitro and Mike Knox
- First Blood Match: The Undertaker vs. Ken Kennedy
- John Cena, Bobby Lashley, Kane, Sabu and Rob Van Dam vs. Big Show, MVP, Test, Finlay and Umaga
- World Heavyweight Championship: Batista vs. King Booker
The 2006 Survivor Series card did not look particularly strong from the get-go. The presence of Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Dusty Rhodes and Ron Simmons shined a bright light on a fairly depleted roster, while the Team Cena vs. Team Big Show tag match featured too many subpar or inexperienced workers to really give fans any confidence in its overall quality.
Add to that the fact that Batista and King Booker had yet to have a match that would give fans reason to be optimistic about the night's main event, and there were plenty of reasons to expect the worst come the November extravaganza.
And the show met those expectations. In fact, the one match that fans were excited for turned out to be the most disappointing of the bunch, as D-Generation X, the Hardy Boyz and CM Punk dominated and dismantled the opposition, leading to a clean sweep. While that may have made for a cool moment, with five of the most talented competitors in the industry celebrating their huge win together, it also eliminated the possibility of a truly great, fun match.
For the first time in its history, the Survivor Series felt very much like a show that was no longer as relevant as it had once been. Instead of WWE's answer to the fall classic, it was a placeholder show, as WWE rode out the rest of the year and began prepping for the much-anticipated road to WrestleMania.
It was that line of thinking that would diminish the legacy of the event, even to this day.
3. Survivor Series 1993
- Marty Jannetty, Razor Ramon, Randy Savage and 1-2-3 Kid vs. I.R.S., Diesel, Rick Martel and Adam Bomb
- Bret, Owen, Bruce and Keith Hart vs. Shawn Michaels and the Knights
- Smokey Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Championship: The Rock and Roll Express vs. The Heavenly Bodies
- The Four Doinks vs. The Headshrinkers, Bastion Booger and Bam Bam Bigelow
- Lex Luger, The Undertaker and the Steiner Brothers vs. Ludvig Borga, Yokozuna, Quebecer Jacques and Crush
World Wrestling Entertainment in 1993 was not necessarily the destination for all things quality professional wrestling. The characters were cartoonish, the storylines straight out of the 1970s and the actual in-ring action itself was typically underwhelming.
That was the case at the Survivor Series.
The night's opening contest, pitting a team captained by Razor Ramon against a team headed by I.R.S., got the night off to a hot start and showcased young talent like the 1-2-3 Kid and Adam Bomb. But it was all downhill from there.
Bret and Owen Hart and Shawn Michaels were bright sots in an otherwise mind-numbingly slow match, the Rock and Roll Express and the Heavenly Bodies wrestled a southern-style match in front of a silent Boston audience and the main event continued the rivalry between Lex Luger and Yokozuna while simultaneously shining the spotlight on flash-in-the-pan Ludvig Borga.
Worst of all was the match pitting the Four Doinks against Bam Bam Bigelow and his merry band of freaks and oddities. It featured some of the absolute worst eliminations in history, as Vince McMahon and management took the comedic and entertainment aspect of pro wrestling way too far. In particular was the elimination of Fatu, who slipped on a banana peel and was pinned seconds later.
2. Survivor Series 1999
- The Godfather, D'Lo Brown and The Headbangers vs. The Dudley Boyz and The Acolytes
- Shawn Stasiak vs. Kurt Angle
- Val Venis, Mark Henry, Gangrel and Steve Blackman vs. British Bulldog and the Mean Street Posse
- Mae Young, Fabulous Moolah, Tori and Debra vs. Terri, Jacqueline, Ivory and Luna
- Kane vs. X-Pac
- Big Show vs. Big Boss Man, Albert, Viscera and Mideon
- Intercontinental Championship: Chyna vs. Chris Jericho
- Edge, Christian and the Hardy Boyz vs. Too Cool and the Hollys
- Tag Team Championship: Al Snow and Mankind vs. The New Age Outlaws
- WWE Championship: The Rock vs. Big Show vs. Triple H
A nagging neck injury suffered by Steve Austin left the main event of the 1999 Survivor Series up in the air as the show went on the air. Despite knowing that the Texas Rattlesnake absolutely could not compete, the company still promoted the main event until the moment that a car ran Austin down, eliminating him from the night's WWE Championship bout.
Big Show filled in for Stone Cold and captured the title in a match that was significantly worse off for not having Austin.
Elsewhere on the card was a match featuring the WWE Divas that will have you second-guessing your criticisms of today's Total Divas. Despite touting in-ring competitors like Ivory, Jacqueline, Luna and the legendary Fabulous Moolah, the contest ranks easily as one of the worst women's matches in the company's annals.
The overuse of talent—to the point that fodder such as Gangrel, Steve Blackman, the Mean Street Posse and the Headbangers are featured on the card—really drug down the overall quality of the event and forced several matches with great potential to be rushed due to a lack of time.
For the first time since King of the Ring months earlier, WWE presented a certified dud on pay-per-view, and worse yet, the absence of writers Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara was evident.
1. Survivor Series 1997
- The Headbangers and The Blackjacks vs. The New Age Outlaws and The Godwins
- The Disciples of Apocalypse vs. The Truth Commission
- Marc Mero, Goldust, Vader and Steve Blackman vs. The British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart, Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon
- Mankind vs. Kane
- The Road Warriors, Ahmed Johnson and Ken Shamrock vs. The Nation of Domination
- Intercontinental Championship: Steve Austin vs. Owen Hart
- WWE Championship: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart
Lost in all of the hype surrounding the Shawn Michaels-Bret Hart main event that was responsible for the Montreal Screwjob is the fact that the 1997 Survivor Series ranks as one of the worst shows WWE has ever presented.
The Disciples of Apocalypse and the Truth Commission was bad enough, with several big men lumbering around the ring, throwing punches and kicks and little else of note.
Add to it an uninspired in-ring debut by Kane, an injured Steve Austin trying to capture magic against Owen Hart (a worker he no longer trusted) and a disjointed match between Team USA and Team Canada, and you have all of the makings of a lackluster, uninteresting card that ranked as the worst in a year of underwhelming pay-per-view events.
Even Michaels vs. Hart was not up to the level of their previous bouts, likely due to the brawling that ensued and the hostile working relationship between the performers.
While all of the eyes were on the most controversial finish in the history of sports entertainment, they should have been on the poor card presented by a company that was in the process of swinging momentum back in its favor.