Survivor Series, as one of the longest-running WWE PPVs in history, has had a laundry list of incredible matches featuring some of the very best wrestlers in the world. But what really makes the event special is the presence of the traditional Survivor Series Elimination match, which has provided some of the most dominant, entertaining, and occasionally unlikely teams ever seen. We looked at every squad to ever participate in an Elimination Match, and whittled it down to the very best of the best, the teams that you would want to have on your side, given the opportunity.
16. Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts, Demolition (1989)
If you’re trying to form a team of the most popular Superstars of that era, you’re obviously going to choose the Hulkster, even though this was ostensibly his swan song leading up to “passing the torch” to Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI. Actually, the main event of this Survivor Series also saw Warrior field a team consisting of The HRockers and Jim Neidhart, which, even with a young Shawn Michaels, is a small fraction of the star power of Hogan’s team (another one of those “obvious in retrospect” reasons why Warrior’s WWF Title reign was doomed from the start). And it wouldn’t be an early Survivor Series if Hogan wasn’t taking on a team put together by the Million Dollar Man, this time featuring the PPV debut of Zeus, aka actor Tiny Lister, who played opposite Hogan in the very first WWE-financed motion picture, the infamous No Holds Barred. It was almost certainly a good idea to hide Zeus’ complete lack of wrestling ability by having him get intentionally DQ’s almost immediately for shoving the referee, and from that point on, it was the Hogan show, as he was the sole Survivor.
15. Men on a Mission and The Bushwhackers (1993)
Sure, it looks like a horrible joke of a team, but this was the infamous “Four Doinks” lineup that saw all four member dress up in the trademark facepaint of the wrestling clown, and used a combination of comedy antics and the bulk of the 500-plus-pound Mabel to steamroll the team of Bam Bam Bigelow, Bastion Booger, and The Headshrinkers, none of which are any slouches in the size or toughness departments. The team of Doinks made short work of their massive adversaries, culminating in a massive four-person dogpile onto Bigelow to close things out in a clean 4-0 sweep, with the entire team surviving. Ironically, the actual Doink did not make an appearance in the match at all, but showed up on the video screen to taunt the defeated Bigelow afterwards, setting the stage for their eventual match at WrestleMania X.
14. The Powers of Pain, The Rockers, The Hart Foundation, The Young Stallions, The British Bulldogs (1988)
Ah, the glory days of Survivor Series, with its elimination matches featuring 10 tag teams. It was an idea that many fans have wanted to see again (and was actually finally brought back for the 2016 edition of the PPV), if only to witness the mass of humanity stretching all the way around the ring, waiting for a tag. Of the teams to take part in this far-too-short-lived concept, this was probably the most stacked one, featuring three of the greatest tag teams of the era. As an added bonus, the match they took part in (which they did win) featured one of the best-remmebered angles in Survivor Series history, a double turn involving Demolition and the Powers of Pain, which saw Demolition’s manager Mr. Fuji switch teams mid-match, and turned Demolition into massive babyfaces in the process.
13. Ted Dibiase, The Undertaker, Rhythm and Blues (1990)
It’s fair to say that this incarnation of the Million Dollar Team only exists on this list pretty much solely due to the presence of The Undertaker. This, of course, was his debut as Ted Dibiase’s secret weapon, and it was quite a first impression, as he effortless destroyed the entire face team of Jim Neidhart, Koko B Ware, Bret Hart, and Dusty Rhodes, including the impressive debut of his Tombstone Piledriver finish on the hapless Ware, making him the first victim of the match. In the end, however, Undertaker wasn’t even a Survivor of the match, as he was counted out for brawling with an eliminated Rhodes. Fortunately for his team, a relatively rested DiBiase was able to easily clean things up and eliminate Hart to score the victory for the Million Dollar Team.
12. Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Maven (2004)
Okay, we know the team has Maven on it, in one of the major highlights of his entire WWE career after winning Tough Enough, but the rest of the talent almost makes up for his presence. Of course, many people forget that he was a last-second replacement for an injured Shawn Michaels, which would have made that team even more incredible. More importantly, they won, defeating a team of Triple H, Batista, Edge, and Snitsky, with the stipulations of the match giving each member of the winning team a week as Raw GM, to do whatever they wished. It was both one of the best stipulations for a Survivor Series match ever, and a representation of how incredibly out of control Triple H’s grip on the World Heavyweight Title was, as despite having four wrestlers with free reign to make whatever matches they wanted, Triple H managed to hold onto the title the entire time, only seeing it vacated in the final week due to a double-pin finish, which he then regained only weeks later at New Year’s Revolution. This stipulation also led to the best match of Maven’s career, as he challenged Triple H for the World Heavyweight title, ultimately spurring a heel turn when he couldn’t get the job done. This also represented the last gasp of Randy Orton’s ill-fated first babyface run, allowing for the rise of Batista.
11. Lex Luger, The Undertaker, The Steiner Brothers (1993)
There was actually a lot of maneuvering to end up with this team, and nearly as much involved in setting up their opponents. Initially, The Undertaker’s spot was held by Tatanka, up until Ludvig Borga took him out of action. In revenge, Luger and the Steiners injured one of the Rougeau Brothers, which opened up a vacancy that was filled by Crush, who had recently turned heel. The long and the short of was a battle between the USA (as Undertaker revealed for the first time his allegiance to America with a Stars and Stripes lining on his trademark coat) and a team called the “Foreign Fanatics”, despite the fact that Crush was, in fact, American. But then, if we want to be technical, Yokozuna was Samoan, so it’s best not to think about it. Anyway, in a shocking display of not choking, Luger’s team came away victorious, although as a sign of how far Luger’s star was falling, it was Undertaker who earned the next shot at WWE Champion Yokozuna, while Luger was set for a program with Borga, only to have that scrapped when the Finnish environmentalist suffered a career-ending injury weeks later.
10. Bertha Faye, Aja Kong, Lioness Asuka, Tomoko Watanabe (1995)
In 1995, WWE made a short-lived attempt to have a serious Women’s Division, importing some of the biggest female stars from Japan to back up future Hall of Famer Alundra Blayze, and the massive Bertha Faye, who was a decent wrestler trapped in a terrible gimmick as Harvey Wippleman’s plus-sized girlfriend. Of the two teams who faced off at Survivor Series that year, Faye’s was definitely the more accomplished, as Aja Kong was one of the most recognizable faces of Japanese women’s wrestling, and Lioness Asuka was one half of the incredibly popular Crush Gals, who were considered the most successful female tag team of all time, and legitimate mainstream stars in their own right. It should be no surprise, then, that Faye’s team utterly destroyed Blayze’s with a hard-hitting style rarely seen in North American’s women’s wrestling. Unfortunately, Blayze would be fired only weeks later while still Women’s Champion, and make her infamous Nitro appearance, dropping the title belt in a garbage can. After that, the WWF Women’s Division was mothballed, and not revived again for several years.
9. Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Hardcore Holly, John Cena, Bradshaw (2003)
To face one of the most massive Survivor Series teams in history, made up of Brock Lesnar, The Big Show, A-Train, Nathan Jones, and Matt Morgan, Kurt Angle went with a combination of toughness and technical prowess, and it’s hard to argue with the results. This team is also notable for the inclusion of Cena, who had ostensibly been a heel up until literally the week before the PPV (despite growing support from the audience, which had latched on to his entertaining rapper persona), and courted by Lesnar, but instead chose to align with Angle’s team, a face turn which he would never look back from. The match itself also served to help launch Cena onto his incredibly successful career path, as he and Benoit were the final two Survivors for their team, eliminating both the WWE Champion Lesnar and the monstrous Big Show to close out the match. Benoit would ride that wave of momentum to the World title at WrestleMania XX, and Cena would do the same a year later, at WrestleMania 21.
8. Steve Austin, RVD, Booker T, Shane McMahon, Kurt Angle (2001)
Without knowing the situation going in, you would probably look at this roster and admit that it is a pretty darned strong one, especially if you know that this was Shane McMahon when he actually worked matches instead of just jumping off high things. The unfortunate part comes from when you realize that this group, headed by WWE Champion Steve Austin, and containing Kurt Angle, RVD, and Booker T pretty much in their primes, was the losing team in the final match of the WCW/ECW Invasion storyline. That’s right, this is the Alliance roster for the end of the biggest Creative debacle in recent WWE history, a team which was foredoomed to failure from the second everyone learned that the stakes of the match were that the losing team’s company would be wiped from existence. Of course, the fact that a team representing the combined power of WCW and ECW containing 3 WWE Superstars, including the son of the owner and a guy who had only ever worked in WWE, should tell you pretty much everything you need to know about how badly WWE bungled the entire feud.
7. Chris Jericho, Christian, Randy Orton, Mark Henry, Scott Steiner (2003)
While Survivor Series matches lost importance over the years, becoming more of a sideshow than a main attraction, WWE occasionally tries to find a way to add stakes to the traditional elimination match in order to try and keep the concept relevant. For this year, it was a showdown between Team Austin and Team Bischoff, in order to settle the entire co-GM thing once and for all, with the winning GM gaining full control of Raw. And just look at the World Champions on Bischoff’s team. Granted, a few of them were still a couple of years off from winning their first ones, but overall, you’ve got over twenty World titles (granted, half of them belong to Orton), and every single Superstar will probably end up in the WWE Hall of Fame at some point (or at least, they should). The team dominated from an opening bell and eventually jumped out to a 3-1 advantage, surviving a heroic flurry from Shawn Michaels to secure the victory for Bischoff. And speaking of their opponents…
6. Shawn Michaels, RVD, Booker T, The Dudley Boyz (2003)
It turns out, the 2003 Survivor Series match for the Raw brand was absolutely stacked in terms of Hall of Fame talent, with two men already in at this point, and the rest will almost assuredly follow. Michaels, of course, needs no introduction, and as mentioned, nearly brought his team all the way back from a 3-1 disadvantage before running into the Viper. Then you’ve got the face of ECW, Rob Van Dam, the 5-time WCW Champion Booker T, and one of the most decorated tag teams in wrestling history in the Dudley Boyz. That’s one of the most star-studded teams you could ask to have on your side, even though they ultimately did lose the match.
5. Shawn Michaels, Sid, Ahmed Johnson, The British Bulldog (1995)
As one-off concepts go, the Wild Card Survivor Series match is one that ended up working out far better than we would have thought. Basically, WWE took seven of their top stars, plus a debuting Superstar that they had high hopes for, mixed them up without regard for face or heel alignments, and created two four-man teams, resulting in a whole bunch of enemies forced to work together. This was also Shawn Michaels’ big return to PPV after being beaten up outside a bar in Syracuse, and as mentioned, the PPV debut of Ahmed Johnson, who had showed up on Raw a few weeks before the show and made headlines by effortlessly bodyslamming the massive Yokozuna, becoming only the second person in history to do so. Despite the internal turmoil, the team actually worked incredily well together, and the only elimination was Sid, who was “accidentally” Superkicked by Michaels and pinned, while they managed to dispose of a team consisting of Dean Douglas, Yokozuna, Owen Hart, and Razor Ramon, which is no slouch of a lineup, either.
4. Andre the Giant, One Man Gang, King Kong Bundy, Butch Reed, Rick Rude (1987)
As Gorilla would say, “THERE’S the Beef!” Andre by himself would be a nearly impossible obstacle for any team, even one captained by Hulk Hogan, but throwing in the massive Bundy and One Man Gang seemed like the ingredients for a nigh unbeatable squad. However, where there’s Hulk there’s hope, and he was backed up by one of the hottest new prospects in the company, Bam Bam Bigelow, who was supposedly on track for a bright future. But even with the power of Hulkamania behind it, the good guys fell like wheat before the scythe behind the combined tonnage of Andre’s team. Even the nearly-unbeatable Hogan found himself counted out due to heel chicanery, leaving Bigelow alone to face the imposing trio. Bigelow did his best, but it took all his strength to get through Bundy and Gang, leaving him defenseless against the Giant’s assault. While it’s not always about the biggest dog in the fight, when you’ve got three of the biggest dogs around, fights tend to get a lot easier.
3. Triple H, Shawn Michaels, The Hardy Boyz, CM Punk (2005)
The only way this team could be better would have been if it was all of them in their prime. Or the Broken version of Matt Hardy would also be acceptable. Even so, the D-Generation X retirement tour, one of the greatest teams of the Attitude Era, and a still up-and-coming hot ECW prospect in Punk were arguably one of the most effective Survivor Series teams in the event’s history. The super-team absolutely steamrolled their opponents, taking out all five without losing a man themselves, in one of the most dominant and clear-cut victories we’ve ever seen. The team they beat wasn’t a bunch of slouches, either, and included Edge, Randy Orton, and John Morrison. The popular story is that originally only Triple H and HBK were supposed to survive, but backstage wrangling led to a clean sweep for the good guys.
2. Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Tito Santana (1990)
In 1990, Survivor Series ran an interesting concept that we’d have liked to see more of, with all the Survivors of the previous matches teamed up in a massive Grand Finale match to cap off the evening. And no, your eyes aren’t deceving you, that’s a three man team, in an era when Survivor Series matches were still 5-on-5. In fact, that’s a three man team that, due to an imbalance in the alignment of the Survivors for the evening, was forced to face a five-man squad featuring Ted DiBiase, Rick Martel, The Warlord, and the tag team of Power & Glory. To make matters worse, Santana was eliminated early in the match, leaving Hogan and Warrior to fend for themselves. So, obviously, the combination of the Hulkster and the Warrior was too much to overcome, as they would eliminate the remaining four members of the heel team without losing another man.
1. The Big Show (1999)
If you thought three men beating five was impressive, how about one man beating up seven? Granted, three of them were his own team before the match, but that’s still the most impressive solo performance at any Survivor Series ever. After destroying Taka Michinoku, Funaki, and the Blue Meanie backstage (yeah, to be fair, his teammates would have been mostly a hindrance anyway), Show came out and manhandled The Big Boss Man, Albert, Viscera, and Mideon, reminding everyone of the monster that he was capable of being. Oh, and then he was the surprise replacement for Steve Austin (who had been involved in a mysterious, and infamous, hit-and-run incident earlier) in the main event, and defeated The Rock and Triple H in a Triple Threat match to capture his first WWF Championship. So, technically, he actually beat nine men in a single evening by himself, which must be some sort of record.