The Top 5 Survivor Series Teams of All-Time
By Dan Murphy
Photo courtesy of WWE.com
On Monday’s edition of Raw, Stephanie McMahon and Triple-H scouted the WWE roster in hopes of preparing the greatest Survivor Series team ever assembled. Given those lofty aspirations, it makes sense to look back over the 28-year history of the Survivor Series and identify five of the best teams ever assembled in WWE’s signature elimination event.
The traditional Survivor Series team is a five-man tandem, however the event has also featured four-on-four matches and a 10-on-10 man match featuring five tag teams per side in 1988 and 1989.
For the purpose of this article, I’m eliminating all losing teams right off the bat. If a team wasn’t good enough to win its match, then – by definition – it cannot be considered one of the greatest Survivor Series teams of all time. Sure, there have been some remarkable losing teams through the years (such as Steve Austin, Rob Van Dam, Kurt Angle, Booker T, and Shane McMahon in 2001; a team that lost thanks to Angle turning on Team Captain Austin). If a team is too unstable to co-exist for one match, they don’t qualify as one of the greatest teams, regardless of how talented the individuals comprising the team may be.
So, with that caveat, stated, here is my look at the All-Time Top 5 Survivor Series teams:
5) The Radicalz (Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, and Perry Saturn) 2000
Here’s one you won’t hear discussed on WWE television any time soon, thanks to the company’s refusal to acknowledge Benoit. Still, it was a remarkable team. Four superior in-ring technicians who had jumped from WCW to the WWF earlier in the year, wrestlers Kevin Nash had infamously condemned as “vanilla midgets” were hungry to mark their mark in the WWF. Together, they helped raise the bar on action and athleticism in the WWF, and two of them – Benoit and Guerrero – would become World champions less than four years later.
The Radicalz defeated the team of Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, K-Kwik, and Chyna. Benoit and Saturn were the survivors.
4) The All-Americans (Lex Luger, The Undertaker, Rick Steiner, Scott Steiner) 1993
In 1993, the Steiners were still widely considered to be the best tag team in wrestling, and Scott was packing on the muscle mass that would make him the “Big Bad Booty Daddy” just a few years later, without sacrificing the agility and technical proficiency that made him standout in the ring, as well as on the collegiate mats. The Undertaker was just starting his incredible run and was just establishing himself as the unbeatable, undead juggernaut we all know and love (even with his hokey American flag-themed cloak he adopted for this event to show his patriotism). Luger always had his limitations, but he was arguably at his peak and was seen as a future WWF World champion, though it never materialized. Rarely has one team had so much momentum on its side.
The All-Americans defeated Ludvig Boga, Yokozuna, Crush,and Jacques Rougeau. Luger was the sole survivor.
3) The Warriors (Ultimate Warrior, Hawk, Animal, Kerry Von Erich) 1990
On a lot of people’s lists, this ranks as the greatest team ever assembled, and for good reason. It was certainly the most physically impressive team ever. The Road Warriors were the top tag team of the 1980s, the Ultimate Warrior was having a banner year, and “The Modern Day Warrior” was a former NWA World champion and former WWF Intercontinental champion. Those are some serious credentials. But the team had its weaknesses. Hawk and Animal were noticeably slower and less intense than they had been a few years earlier. Von Erich was hobbled with a prosthetic foot. Warrior – for all his intensity – was a one-dimensional power merchant with limited stamina. They were all living largely off past glory by this stage – the ensuing years would not be kind to any of them. Sadly, three of the four are now dead.
The Warriors defeated Curt Hennig, Ax, Smash, and Crush. The Ultimate Warrior was the sole survivor.
2) Team WWF (The Rock, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, Kane, The Big Show) 2001
Here is a team that features a collective 30 World championships between them (including titles won after this match). It was an all-star team handpicked to represent the WWF during the WCW/ECW “invasion” storyline. Unfortunately, since the WWF hadn’t signed top WCW stars like Goldberg, Ric Flair, and Scott Steiner, the “Alliance” team consisted of established WWF competitors like Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, and Rob Van Dam. In other words, “Team WWF” wasn’t really indicative of the WWF, as the WWF’s top star at the time (Angle) was leading the opposition. As solid as this team was, a team of Austin, Rock, Undertaker, Angle, and Jericho would have been much more impressive. Kane and Big Show were out of their league.
Team WWF beat Austin, Rob Van Dam, Angle, Booker T, and Shane McMahon. The Rock was the sole survivor.
1) Team DX (Triple-H, Shawn Michaels, CM Punk, Jeff Hardy, and Matt Hardy) 2006
The DX reunion tour of 2006 was pretty juvenile and silly, but no one can deny the talents of Triple-H and Shawn Michaels. HHH and HBK teamed with a promising year up-and-comer known as CM Punk (that kid is going places) and The Hardy Boyz, doing a reunion tour of their own. All five wrestlers were firing on all cylinders, and they completely overmatched their opponents, Randy Orton’s Team RKO.
Team DX defeated Orton, Edge, Johnny Nitro, Mike Knox, and Gregory Helms. The entire team survived.
Maybe HHH does know how to build an unbeatable team …