It’s Survivor Series time! The predictions are in, the bets are made, and the build is mercifully over. The card looks pretty good. A little long to be sure, but we’re all used to that by now. This year’s show even has two traditional Survivor Series matches, which is fewer than last year but more than the year before (if you don’t count the kickoff show).
It seems like a lot of people, both fans and WWE backstage types, don’t care much for Survivor Series’ elimination matches. There are never titles involved, and the number of participants (whether it’s four-on-four or five-on-five) often makes them feel separate from ongoing feuds and storylines. I’ve never really agreed with this view. Sure, plenty of Survivor Series matches have been pointless and bad, but in wrestling as in music (and movies, and life), plenty of everything is pointless and bad, and it’s the gems that make it all worthwhile.
When the first Survivor Series happened in 1987, big group matches weren’t as common as they are in today’s world of seven hours of televised weekly wrestling. So at the time, it was exciting and new to see, for example Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, and Macho Man Randy Savage all being friends and working together to take down Dangerous Danny Davis, Harley Race, Hercules, the Honky Tonk Man, and Outlaw Ron Bass, a team you knew was truly insidious because they were co-managed by Jimmy Hart and Bobby “the Brain” Heenan. With all these snakes, barbers, dragons, and brains running around on super-teams together, 1980s WWF had never felt more like a cartoon, and that was clearly part of the appeal.