The Gravest Challenge might have been the big draw, but there were plenty of traditional elimination matches. Still, this foreshadowed a major change to the format.
Ric Flair, Ted DiBiase, The Warlord (and The Mountie) vs. Roddy Piper, British Bulldog, Bret Hart (and Virgil)
Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Sgt. Slaughter, Texas Tornado and Tito Santana vs. The Berzerker (Col. Mustafa, Hercules and Skinner)
Ricky Steamboat was originally slated to be part of Hacksaw’s team, but had a much higher purpose in saving WCW during the Dangerous Alliance era.
The Nasty Boys (& The Beverly Brothers) vs. The Bushwhackers and The Rockers
Big Boss Man, the Legion of Doom (*Macho Man) vs. IRS, The Natural Disasters (*Jake the Snake)
On paper, this was going to be one of the all-time best teams with the speed and intensity of Macho Man, the brawling of Big Boss Man and the power of the LOD against the slipper Jake the Snake, the technical savvy of IRS and the immovable objects of the Natural Disasters. But for some reason, Savage and Roberts were held off the show for their first match at Tuesday Night in Texas. That left us with a much less impressive 3 on 3 match.
Biggest Need: He’s The Mountie!
This was probably the weakest year for the event as WWF steered towards a majority standard matches with only one true Survivor Series match. And it was pretty lame anyway as it featured The Natural Disasters and Nasty Boys against Money Inc. and The Beverly Brothers.
Biggest Need: The Beverly Brothers. They were an OK team in the WWF, but I’d customize them to be the AWA tag champs The Destruction Crew.
WWF went back to normal with four elimination matches making for a much more entertaining show. The big scandal here was Jerry Lawler dealing with some ‘personal issues’ and missing the show. Shawn Michaels replaced him, but the fun of the Hart Family vs. Lawler’s Knights wasn’t the same.
Razor Ramon, Randy Savage, 1-2-3 Kid (and Marty Jannetty) vs. Diesel, IRS, Rick Martel (and Adam Bomb)
The Bushwackers and Men on a Mission (as Doinks) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (Bastion Booger and The Headshrinkers)
The All-Americans: Lex Luger, The Undertaker (and The Steiners) vs. The Foreign Fanatics: Yokozuna (Crush, Jacques Rogueau and Ludvig Borga)
Biggest Need: The Steiners by far.
This year marked one of the biggest turning points in the WWF. The fallout from the 94 Survivor Series changed the landscape of the WWF and laid the groundwork for one of the biggest angles in wrestling history.
The Bad Guys: Razor Ramon, 1-2-3 Kid, British Bulldog (and the Headshrinkers) vs. The Teamsters: Diesel, Shawn Michaels, Jim Neidhart (and Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett)
The Royal Family: Jerry Lawler (Cheesy, Queasy and Sleazy) vs Clowns R Us: Doink (Dink, Pink and Wink the Clown)
The Million Dollar Team: Bam Bam Bigelow, King Kong Bundy, Tatanka (and The Heavenly Bodies) vs. Guts and Glory: Lex Luger (Adam Bomb, the Smoking Guns and Mabel)
Biggest Need: Toss-up between the Smoking Guns and The Heavenly Bodies
With the New Generation firmly in place, this year was used to showcase the top tier talent.
123 Kid (Skip, Dr. Tom Pritchard, Rad Radford) vs. (Barry Horowitz, Marty Jannetty, Hakushi and Bob Holly)
The Darkside: The Undertaker (Savio Vega, Henry Godwin and Fatu) vs. The Royals: Jerry Lawler, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Isaac Yankem (King Mabel)
Shawn Michaels, Sycho Sid, British Bulldog (Ahmed Johnson) vs. Razor Ramon, Yokozuna (Owen Hart and Dean Douglas)
Biggest Need: So many unrealistic options. King Mabel makes the most sense, but Hakushi would be one of Mattel’s all-time best figures if done properly.
WWF was at a crossroads as it was phasing out the New Generation characters and beginning the Attitude Era. This was a holdover show that is fondly remembered from the first Bret Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin clash and the debut of Rocky Maivia. This is a real anomaly show as Mattel hasn’t gotten around to many of these guys.
(Aldo Montoya, Bart Gunn, Bob Holly and Jesse James) vs. (The Sultan, Salvatore Sincere, Justin Bradshaw and Billy Gunn)
(Doug Furnass, Phil Lafon, The Godwins) vs. The British Bulldog (Leif Cassidy, Marty Jannetty and Owen Hart)
Jake Roberts, Rocky Maivia (The Stalker and Marc Mero) vs. Goldust, Jerry Lawler, Hunter Hearst Helmsley (and Crush)
Vader (Fake Diesel and Razor, Gladiator Farooq) vs. Jimmy Snuka, Yokozuna (Flash Funk and Savio Vega)
Biggest Need: Savio Vega, a fixture of the New Generation era
Beyond the biggest double cross in wrestling history, the subtitled Gang Rulz event also had some fun action that night that no one remembers.
The New Age Outlaws (and Godwins) vs. (The Headbangers and New Blackjacks)
(The Truth Commission) vs. (The Disciples of Apocalypse)
Team Canada: British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart (Phil Lafon and Doug Furnas) vs. Team USA: Goldust, Vader (Steve Blackman, Marc Mero)
Ken Shamrock, Legion of Doom (Ahmed Johnson) vs. The Nation of Domination: Farooq, The Rock, D-Lo Brown (Kama)
Biggest Need: Legit toss-up between Ahmed Johnson and Kama
This was the year featuring the Deadly Game WWF Championship tournament so no team eliminations here.
D-Lo Brown, The Godfather (The Headbangers) vs. The Acolytes and The Dudley Boyz
(Gangrel, Mark Henry, Val Venis and Steve Blackman) vs. The British Bulldog (and The Mean Street Posse)
(Debra, The Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young and Tori) vs. (Ivory, Jacqueline, Luna and Terri Runnels)
Big Show vs. Big Boss Man (Mideon, Prince Albert and Viscera)
(The Hollys and Too Cool) vs Edge & Christian (and The Hardy Boyz)
Biggest Need: Val Venis
Again, the elimination matches were becoming afterthoughts instead of being based around Austin, The Rock and Triple H.
Edge & Christian (The Goodfather and Bull Buchanan) vs. The Dudley Boyz (and The Hardy Boyz)
The Radicalz: Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko (Perry Saturn, Chris Benoit) vs. Billy Gunn, K-Kwik, Road Dogg (Chyna)
Biggest Need: Perry Saturn easily
This marked the change of Survivor Series to build stakes around the traditional elimination format with the culmination of the underwhelming Invasion angle. This was the final WWF Survivor Series thanks to the World Wildlife Fund laying a monster smackdown.
Team WWF: The Rock, Kane, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho and The Big Show vs. The Alliance: Steve Austin, Booker T, Rob Van Dam (Shane McMahon and Kurt Angle).
Biggest Need: Invasion era Big Show