Wrestling / Survivor Series

"Teams of five strive to survive."
Tagline, Survivor Series 88.


Survivor Series is WWE's annual November pay-per-view event. It is one of the "Big Four" events, along with WrestleMania, the Royal Rumble and SummerSlam, as it is one of the original four pay-per-views produced by WWE.

Survivor Series is the second longest running pay-per-view event in WWE history, behind WrestleMania. The first Survivor Series, held in 1987, came on the heels of the incredible success of WrestleMania III, as the WWF began to see the lucrative potential of the pay-per-view market.

The event is usually characterized by having five on five (or sometimes four on four or six man) Tag Team elimination matches. These matches are generally referred to simply as "traditional Survivor Series matches".

"Tropes of five strive to survive":

  • Alliterative Name: Survivor Series.
  • All or Nothing: The "winner takes all" match between teams WWF and Alliance during the 2001 event.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: While admittedly an Overly Narrow Superlative, as it was only WWE's fifth PPV at that point, André the Giant's team winning in the main event of the first Survivor Series was the first time a Heel had won in the main event.
  • Artifact Title: Survivor Series originally revolved entirerly around elimination style 8-man tag team matches, which gradually decreased in use until you'd be lucky to have one traditional SS match on the card.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Sting to Team Cena in 2014.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Jerry Lawler let loose one for the ages when Sting showed up at the end of the 2014 main event.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Or in this case, Black Dude Gets Eliminated First:
  • The Cameo: ECW's the Public Enemy lost to the Smoking Gunns in a dark (non-televised) match before Survivor Series 1995.
  • Crossover: The Heavenly Bodies ("The Doctor of Desire" Tom Prichard and "Gigolo" Jimmy Del Ray, w/Jim Cornette) d. SMW Tag Team Champions The Rock N Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) for the titles at Survivor Series 1993.
  • David vs. Goliath: Inverted, as Batista d. Rey Mysterio Jr. in 2009.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The following have all been in main events at Survivor Series who normally would not have had that opportunity: Hillbilly Jim, Koko B. Ware (1988), Paul Roma (1990), Carlito and Chris Masters (2005).
  • Debut Queue:
  • Dueling Shows: The kayfabe Raw and SmackDown! rivalry was often brought to the forefront at Survivor Series during the Brand Extension era, moreso than on any other pay per view. At the 2005 installment even the announcers were at each other's throats, spending more time insulting one another than commentating the final match (but it was admittedly hilarious to listen to regardless).
  • Enemy Mine: This is common in SmackDown! vs Raw Survivor Series matches, where teams may consist of both Faces and Heels.
  • Face–Heel Double-Turn:
    • The Powers of Pain (The Warlord and the Barbarian) and Demolition, respectively in 1988.
    • The Rock and Mankind, respectively, in a rehash of the Montreal Screwjob in 1998.
  • Five-Man Band: Versus a Five-Bad Band. What characterized the event, which features the face and heel teams who compete against the other.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: If the teams weren't five man/bad bands.
  • The Giant: Team Lesnar note  were hyped up as the physically largest team in Survivor Series history. Opinions on the team members may vary, but arguably most of them qualify for this trope.
  • Gimmick Matches: As a sampling:
  • Grand Finale:
    • 1990 saw the "Grand Finale of Survival," where all the surviving faces teamed up against all of the surviving heels from the previous matches. Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior and Tito Santana d. Ted DiBiase and the Visionaries (Rick Martel, the Warlord and Power and Glory [Hercules and Paul Roma]), with Hogan and Warrior surviving.
    • 2001's main event served as one for the Invasion.
    • 2014's match between Team John Cena and Team Authority is one for the Authority storyline. Or so it was believed.
  • Justified Title: The 1998 and 2002 events don't have the traditional 5-on-5 tag team match, but the Tournament Arc for the vacant WWF title (1998) and the debut of the Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight title (2002) emphasized the theme of "Survival".
  • Near Villain Victory: Team Cena vs. Team Authority in 2014. Dolph Ziggler was making his last stand the betrayal of the Big Show had reduced his team to just him. Everytime he tried to get an edge over Seth Rollins, Triple H would take out a referee. When Zigger kicked out of a pin by a crooked ref, Trips Pedigreed him and laid Rollins arm for the victory. When all seemed lost... the Stinger appeared.
  • Non-Indicative Name: At Survivor Series 1994, Razor Ramon captained the Bad Guys note , who were actually the Faces.
  • One-Hit Kill: Tito Santana's Flying Forearm at Survivor Series 1990. In the match between the Alliance note  and the Mercenaries note , Tito took out Boris with it a mere 48 seconds into the match. In the Grand Finale match described above, he took out the Warlord with it 28 seconds into the match.
  • Party Scheduling Gambit: The first aired on Thanksgiving Night 1987, the same night as the NWA's first PPV, Starrcade. Vince forced the PPV companies of the time to choose between either Survivor Series or Starrcade. Most chose Survivor Series.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Survivor Series 1999 featured wrestling porn star Val Venis leading his team of "Sexual Chocolate" Mark Henry, wrestling vampire Gangrel and martial arts expert "The Lethal Weapon" Steve Blackman to victory over The British Bulldog and the Mean Street Posse.
  • Santa Claus: Showed up to celebrate Bret's win over Shawn in the main event of Survivor Series 1992, and Lex Luger being the sole survivor in the All-Americansnote -Foreign Fanaticsnote  match at Survivor Series 1993.
  • Sole Survivor:
    • Andre The Giant is the Ur-Example, being the sole survivor for his team against Hulk Hogan's team in the main event of the first Survivor Series in 1987.
    • The Ultimate Warrior may be the Trope Maker, as he was the sole survivor for his team for three straight years in a row (1988-90.)
    • Randy Orton would pull off the same feat in 2003-2005.
    • Dolph Ziggler pulled this off (with some help from Sting) in 2014.
  • Something Completely Different:
    • 1991 and 1992 showed that WWE was experimenting with the format. Along with featuring the first ever 3-on-3 match, with Team Bossman note  vs. Team IRS note , it also featured the first ever singles match in Survivor Series history, with The Undertaker defeating WWE World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan for the title.
    • The 3-on-3 match in the 1991 Survivor Series was originally a standard 4-on-4 match, but Sid Justice (who was on the face team) was injured and Jake Roberts (who was on the heel team) was suspended.
    • 1992 was almost entirely regular singles and tag matches, with only one proper elimination match. In a tag team elimination (meaning two tag teams on each side and if one guy from a tag team gets pinned/submitted/etc. then that team has to leave), The Nasty Boys and the Natural Disasters d. Money Inc. ("The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and IRS) and the Beverly Brothers (Beau and Blake), with the Nasties being the survivors for their side.
  • Spanish Announcers Table: The Ur-Example of the table getting destroyed took place at the 1995 edition, when Diesel threw Bret Hart through it.
  • Squash Match:
    • The first shutout was in 1990, when the Visionaries note  d. the Vipers note , with all four of the Visionaries surviving.
    • The most unlikely example happened in 1994. The opening match was the Bad Guys (see Non-Indicative Name above) vs. the Teamsters note . Diesel had eliminated the 1-2-3 Kid and the Headshrinkers, and Davey Boy had been counted out, leaving Razor in the unenviable position of having to fight five guys all by himself. Then Shawn and Diesel started fighting and the entire heel team followed them, thus marking the one and only time in Survivor Series history where an entire team had been counted out.
    • The fastest example was in 1999, when The Big Show, after beating up his intended partners The Blue Meanie and Kaientai (Taka Michinoku and Shoichi Funaki) backstage, singlehandedly defeated the Big Bossman's entire team (Prince Albert, Mideon, and Viscera), with Bossman taking the hint and getting himself counted out, in a mere 1:27.
    • Perhaps the most notable of Survivor Series sweeps would be in 2006, when Team D-Generation X note  defeated Team Rated RKO note . Given the level of talent and cult popularity on the DX team, it's no wonder that this was the first five-man Survivor Series team to sweep their opposition. The Philadelphia crowd also made their voices heard, and surprised the wrestling world in the pre-match promo by chanting for Punk during DX's catchphrases.
  • Team Spirit: At best.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: In many occasions when Enemy Mine just won't work. Can sometimes tear teams apart.
    • In the 1995 edition, they had a "Wild Card" Survivor Series contest where faces and heels made up teams at random. It worked about as well as expected.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: From 1987-1990, the show always aired on Thanksgiving, and from 1991-1994, it aired on the night before Thanksgiving. With the rise of the Monday Night Wars, the show, like most PPVs, was moved to Sundays.
  • Token Evil Teammate/Token Good Teammate: On a few occasions.
  • Token White: Christian, on Team Kingston note  in their successful match against the all-white Team Orton note  at Survivor Series 2009. Played for Laughs when Christian pointed out his minority status... by saying he was the sole Canadian. Everyone else took it in stride.
  • Tournament Arc:
    • Survivor Series 1998, where The Rock defeated Mankind in a rehashing of the Montreal Screwjob for the vacated WWE World Heavyweight Title
    • Survior Series 2015 became this due to Seth Rollins's injury forcing him to vacate the championship.