Out of all my favorite WWF/WWE pay-per views, Survivor Series was always my favorite. Sure, Wrestlemania always had the biggest moments and Royal Rumble was fun until it became more about Wrestlemania than the Rumble itself. Summerslam constantly delivered great matches and served as a perfect wrap-up for summer break. But Survivor Series was always special. It was the one time of year where the WWF superstars would team up against their hated rivals. The elimination format made for some surprising results that would never happen anywhere else. And in several cases, it truly helped make breakout stars (The Undertaker, Randy Orton). Since I had so much fun with Wrestlemania, I figured I’d showcase every Survivor Series team in action figure form.
Yeah, this was an ambitious project and one that almost immediately seemed like a massive undertaking. It was interesting that a few teams were the same guy from being complete in a lot of cases. No, not Owen Hart, Jeff Jarrett or Chris Benoit. Seemingly much easier guys like Greg Valentine, Haku, Dino Bravo and Hercules. Mattel’s slower pace in releasing tag teams hurt Survivor Series team completions too. This would also serve as an easy reference for Mattel in terms of which remaining Flashbacks should be a priority.
As I looked through reference pics, it was very clear WWF put way more effort into Survivor Series in the 80s and 90s. Just with simple things like team names, photo shoots and interviews. Now the teams seem thrown together as an afterthought. Random Fact: Ted DiBiase loved calling his group The Million Dollar Team. Making Survivor Series just another show ruined the spirit of the event for me. So let’s take a look down Flashback alley. And for fun, I’ll add the most important character/team Mattel should make in each year’s event.
Building off the intense rivalry between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, but not ready to pair them off in another solo match, the WWF created teams to keep them separated. Then the bookers decided to spread the concept to the entire roster.
Hulk Hogan, Bam Bam Bigelow, Paul Orndorff (Ken Patera) vs.
Andre the Giant, Rick Rude, King Kong Bundy (One Man Gang and Butch Reed)
Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, Jake Roberts, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Brutus Beefcake vs. Honky Tonk Man (Harley Race, Hercules, Danny Davis and Ron Bass)
Strike Force, British Bulldogs, The Young Stallions, The Killer Bees and The Fabulous Rougeaus vs. The Bolsheviks, Demolition, The Dream Team, The Hart Foundation and The Islanders
Biggest Need: Pick a team. But for all time sake, let’s go with The British Bulldogs
Like the first year, the second Survivor Series was largely built on Hulk Hogan’s match and the Mega Powers’ feud with the Twin Towers.
Ultimate Warrior, Brutus Beefcake (The Blue Blazer, Jim Brunzell and Sam Houston) vs. Honky Tonk Man (Ron Bass, Bad News Brown, Greg Valentine and Dangerous Danny Davis)
The Rockers, The Hart Foundation (The Powers of Pain, The British Bulldogs and The Young Stallions) vs. The Brain Busters, Demolition (The Bolsheviks, The Fabulous Rougeaus and The Conquistadors)
Andre the Giant, Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect (and Harley Race) vs. Jake Roberts, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Tito Santana (Ken Patera and Scott Casey)
Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Hillbilly Jim (Koko B. Ware and Hercules) vs Big Boss Man, Akeem, Ted DiBiase (Red Rooster and Haku)
Biggest Need: The Rougeaus
The third event brought some changes namely folding tag teams into teams and reducing the team number from five to four. This didn’t affect the quality of the show, which was still a lot of fun.
The Ultimate Warriors: The Ultimate Warrior, The Rockers and Jim Neidhart vs. The Heenan Family: Andre the Giant, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard/Bobby Heenan (and Haku)
The Dream Team: Dusty Rhodes, Brutus Beefcake, Tito Santana (and Red Rooster) vs. The Enforcers: Big Boss Man, Honky Tonk Man, Rick Martel (and Bad News Brown)
The King’s Court: Macho King Randy Savage, Earthquake (Dino Bravo, Greg Valentine) vs. The 4x4s: Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Bret Hart (Hercules and Ronnie Garvin)
The Hulkamaniacs: Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts and Demolition vs. The Million Dollar Team: Ted DiBiase (Zeus and The Powers of Pain)
Rude’s Brood: Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect (and The Fabulous Rougeaus) vs. Roddy’s Rowdies: Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka and The Bushwhackers
Biggest Need: Zeus for that quick moment in time when he looked like the next big threat to Hogan.
Arguably the most significant of the traditional format Survivor Series and most entertaining. Bret Hart had his breakout solo performance and The Undertaker debuted. To cap things off, this year featured the first Ultimate Match of Survival.
The Warriors: Ultimate Warrior, The Legion of Doom and Texas Tornado vs. The Perfect Team: Mr. Perfect and Demolition
The Million Dollar Team: Ted DiBiase, Honky Tonk Man, The Undertaker (and Greg Valentine) vs. The Dream Team: Dusty Rhodes, The Hart Foundation (and Koko B. Ware)
The Visionaries: Rick Martel, The Warlord (Power and Glory) vs. The Vipers: Jake Roberts, Superfly Snuka and The Rockers
The Hulkamaniacs: Hulk Hogan, Tugboat, Big Boss Man and Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. The Natural Disasters: Earthquake (Dino Bravo, Haku — sub for Rick Rude and The Barbarian)
The Alliance: Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana and The Bushwhackers vs. The Mercenaries: Sgt. Slaughter (The Orient Express and Boriz Zhukov)
Ultimate Match of Survival: Tito Santana, Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Martel, Ted DiBiase, The Warlord (and Power and Glory)
Biggest Need: Power and Glory without a doubt