WWE Survivor Series 2018: Top 8 Moments of the Last 20 Years

Aaron Bower@@aaronbowerFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2018

WWE Survivor Series 2018: Top 8 Moments of the Last 20 Years

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    Credit: WWE.com

    WWE Survivor Series is one of the most important pay-per-views the company screens each and every year.

    Not only is it so often a starting point for the road to major events such as Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, but historically, it has also featured some of the most important moments in WWE history.

    Even looking back over the last 20 years since the 1998 edition, there are no shortage of standout moments that have changed the business forever.

    With Survivor Series 2018 approaching on Sunday, here's a look at the eight greatest moments in the event's recent history.

8. Goldberg Squashes Brock Lesnar (2016)

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    The biggest shock in Survivor Series history? It must be close.

    Two years ago, Goldberg ended his in-ring exile with a huge showdown against Brock Lesnar.

    And while he always stood a chance given how it was his return match, the manner in which he eventually won took everyone by surprise.

    In less than 90 seconds, Goldberg had pinned the seemingly unstoppable Lesnar and announced his return to wrestling in remarkable fashion.

    He would, of course, go on to win the Universal Championship against Kevin Owens before surrendering it to Lesnar in a rematch at WrestleMania 33.

    But this was a huge Survivor Series moment that will never be forgotten.

7. The Elimination Chamber Is Born (2002)

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    The 2002 edition of Survivor Series featured the birth of a match type that has since become so famous it has gained its own pay-per-view.

    Elimination Chamber has witnessed some of WWE's greatest bouts of the modern era, and the structure was born 16 years ago, when Chris Jericho, Kane, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Triple H and Shawn Michaels all battled for the World Heavyweight Championship.

    Michaels had only recently returned from nearly five years out injured with back problems, but he had beaten Triple H at SummerSlam earlier that year.

    With Eric Bischoff seeking something Raw could call its own given the success of Hell in a Cell on SmackDown, he devised the concept and match structure, giving it its debut at Survivor Series.

    And after a brilliant match lasting in excess of 30 minutes, it was Michaels who eventually bested Triple H to win the belt.

6. Sierra, Hotel, India, Echo, Lima, Delta (2012)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Survivor Series has featured plenty of great debuts in the past, but 2012 produced arguably the most important for WWE's long-term future.

    At a time when many top names were beginning to transition into part-time roles, the company needed new talent to step up from NXT more than ever before.

    And when Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose did just that at Survivor Series 2012, it changed the landscape of the company forever.

    Their shocking debut as The Shield, attacking Ryback to help CM Punk retain the WWE Championship, seemed more important for Punk at the time as opposed to the trio themselves.

    In time, though, they would develop into one of the best factions in the company's entire history, as well as going on and having stellar in-ring careers as solo competitors.

    Surely nobody could have foreseen the impact the trio would have.

5. Sting's Long-Awaited WWE Debut (2014)

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    Simply put, this was a moment many fans suspected they would never see.

    For years, Sting had resisted the temptation to come to WWE and wrestle in the biggest promotion in the industry. It was that resistance that made it all the more special when The Icon emerged in a WWE arena for the first time at Survivor Series 2014.

    Survivor Series has had no shortage of great debuts, including The Undertaker in 1990, but this was remarkable.

    Sting would get involved in the match between Team Cena and Team Authority, eventually helping Dolph Ziggler secure victory and ensure The Authority lost their power and control in WWE, albeit temporarily.

    However, that laid the platform for Triple H to turn his sights to Sting, which eventually led to that WrestleMania match between the two the following year.

    It's a shame Sting's short-lived WWE career ended due to injury, as his feud with Seth Rollins later in 2015 was going places. However, irrespective of that, the fact he debuted in WWE at all given all the missed opportunities to do so earlier in his career should never be forgotten.

4. The Undertaker Returns (2005)

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    The Undertaker has plenty of history with Survivor Series. He debuted at the show in 1990, and 15 years later, he returned to TV with a real bang at the event.

    Earlier that year, Taker had been written off TV by Randy Orton at No Mercy. After The Viper helped Team SmackDown to victory at Survivor Series, he was stunned by The Deadman's return, in which he tried to exact revenge on Orton.

    The Undertaker's entrances have never stopped being cool, but after several months away from TV, it's no surprise his return sparked a huge ovation.

    Eventually, Taker made his way to the ring, took out Team SmackDown one by one before turning his sights to Orton. It set up a feud between the two that would run for months, and given how cool a return this was, there's no way it could have been excluded from a list like this.

3. The Rock Sells out to Vince McMahon (1998)

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    The Rock had no shortage of great, standout moments at Survivor Series. He debuted at the show as Rocky Maivia in 1996, but his career-defining moment arguably came two years later.

    He had built up a steady stream of popularity on the road to Survivor Series 1998, and though things had started slowly, he headed into that year's event as the favorite to win the vacant WWE Championship.

    The Big Boss Man was vanquished in the first round, as was Ken Shamrock. The Undertaker was beaten by disqualification in the semi-final, meaning a final showdown against Mankind.

    It was a battle between two of the company's most popular wrestlers, but in a move that shocked those watching, there was a fantastic double turn, as Vince and Shane McMahon screwed over Mankind and chose to align themselves with The Rock, who turned heel in the process.

    It was reminiscent of the Montreal Screwjob a year earlier, as Mankind was deemed to have tapped out even though he hadn't, leading Vince to call for the bell.

2. Stone Cold Gets Run Down (1999)

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    One of WWE's greatest mystery angles of recent times came at Survivor Series in 1999.

    At the turn of the century, Stone Cold Steve Austin was arguably the hottest talent on the entire roster. He was booked to headline that year's Survivor Series in a three-way match against The Rock and Triple H, but he didn't make it to the starting bell.

    That's because, in an earlier segment, Austin was hit by a car as he chased Triple H through the backstage area. It was a moment that caught everyone by surprise, as attention immediately turned to who could have done it.

    Away from kayfabe, Austin was heading for an extended period of recovery following a neck injury, so the angle was drawn out over a period of months while he healed himself up.

    Fingers were pointed at a whole host of wrestlers before it eventually emerged to everyone's surprise that it was Rikishi who was responsible.

    Did the culmination of the angle work? Probably not, as the choice of Rikishi was just a fraction too left-field. But the initial incident and angle itself remains one of the most memorable moments in Survivor Series' recent history.

1. The Invasion Angle Comes to an End (2001)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The Invasion angle is undoubtedly one of the most divisive in WWE's entire history.

    For some, it was a well-worked angle that best utilized the talent WWE had at its disposal, due to WCW's big names choosing initially not to sign with the company.

    However, after several months of carnage, mayhem and wrestlers endlessly switching sides, the angle reached its conclusion at the 2001 edition of Survivor Series, when Team WWE took on Team Alliance.

    It was obviously no surprise that Team WWE would emerge victorious, giving Vince McMahon complete control of the wrestling landscape, but what was a surprise was that Kurt Angle turned midway through the match to allow WWE to secure victory.

    Angle turned his back on Stone Cold to allow The Rock to score the decisive victory, sparking scenes of jubilation for Vince, who infamously celebrated on the ramp, bringing the angle to a conclusion.

    Given the importance of the story and what had happened prior, it's easy to call this the most important moment in the last 20 years of Survivor Series.