I can’t help but reminisce about Survivor Series in it’s original form. Every year that WWE trots out a typical pay-per-view and sticks one or two traditional elimination matches and pawns it off as Survivor Series, well it just bugs me.
Generally, I’d call these my pet peeves about Survivor Series, then and now, but for the sake of keeping things nice around the Holidays, I am just going to say that here is what I miss most.
1-The traditional format.
And this covers two things. For one, the number of team members has bounced between four or five. For some reason, I am partial to the four . And for another, a singles match used to be the exception, not the rule. IE, any non-Survivor Series match used to be a special attraction, a title match, that sort of thing, There was an air around that non-typical match that would make it warrant a slot on the card (case in point, WWF Championship Match between The Undertaker and Hulk Hogan). Yes, we have a couple “traditional” matches, but there are a ton of non-traditional matches too. As much as wrestling is on TV each and every week-three hours of RAW, two for SmackDown and an hour for NXT-there’s really no reason that, once a year, WWE gives us matches we don’t ever really get to see during any of the other 51 weeks in the year. I don’t think so, anyways.
2- The surprise entrants.
You might see this and think it.s actually for the Rumble, but hear me out. Having teams, whether four on four or five on five, and several of them on the card, every year you know that there’s a chance to have a mystery member. Now, in current times with the Internet and everyone out to deliver spoilers, it’s harder to pull off such a surprise. The most notable instance of this, from a Survivor Series perspective, was the debut of The Undertaker. I’ve already come out wishing that Jason Jordan’s appointment to Team RAW turns into a mystery member, after Jordan gets taken out. Sorry Jason….
3- The crazy teams and unique pairings
Back then, WWF had the benefit of less PPV and less (or really, hardly any) live shows on television. So things were built up over months, not weeks, and thus some of the teams were able to make a little more sense. Nowadays, you’d get maybe three or four weeks of buildup. Sometimes you can leverage some existing rivalries, and set something up where the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but we just don’t see it. Like WWE is admitting that their Creative team is bad to the point where they’d really screw up any more rushed together SS teams. Which, hey, if that’s what they did, my hat’s off to them (but if they know they are that bad, why keep them on the payroll). My favorite of all time, for this one, is when The Undertaker joined the All Americans, without words but rather by opening his coat to reveal the liner was an American flag. I forget how old I was, but as a young fan, that was one of those indelible moments-and a perfect example of saying a lot, without saying a word.
4-“The Thanksgiving Tradition”
This is a minor nit to pick, and I never got it on PPV in these days, but this event actually used to be on Thanksgiving day (for four years) and then Thanksgiving eve (for another four years). Nowadays, this couldn’t happen because the NFL dominates on turkey day, and I do think the wrestlers and crew deserve to be at home with their families for the Holiday. I mention this here simply because I liked the uniqueness of the event, and the out-of-the-box scheduling. Same reason why I liked things like Clash of Champions or Saturday Night’s Main Event…different time, different day, had a feel of a true spectacle to them.
What I don’t miss? The juvenile schlock like the Gobbledy Gooker. I am thankful that WWE has moved way past that, at least.
I wish the WWE would make this event more about the special tag team matches it used to be about…or retire the moniker all together. Sadly, I think neither will happen.
What do you miss most about how Survivor Series used to be?