WWE’s Survivor Series pay-per-view (on the WWE Network during a free trial period, so … the Survivor Series free-per-view?) airs this Sunday. It features a “traditional” Survivor Series elimination tag team match in the main-event: Team Authority vs. Team Cena, with the future of WWE on the line. It’s terribly exciting.
To celebrate the annual event, we’ve burrowed into the archives and compiled a list of what we feel are the very worst teams in Survivor Series history. They range from the embarrassing to the pitiful to the unexplainable. From huge disappointments to flagrant mistakes. More than one of them involve clowns.
Give the list a look and let us know who your least favorites were. And remember: no matter how bad Survivor Series might be this year, it won’t be “Bushwhackers in Doink makeup” bad.
15. Team Rated RKO (2006)
Randy Orton and Edge are great. If “Team Rated RKO” had been Team RKO by themselves, 5-on-2, they would’ve had a better shot.
Rounding out the squad was a dream team of awkward mid-2000s gimmicks. You’ve got a post-Hurricane Gregory Helms, who was so bland and forgettable that his TitanTron video was him wearing sunglasses on a five-second loop for three minutes. You’ve got a post-MNM, pre-parkour John Morrison and “ECW’s” Mike Knox, a guy whose character was “hates exhibitionism, but is dating an exhibitionist.” It was like Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth, if Elizabeth had brain damage and wouldn’t stop taking off her clothes.
They run up against the self-congratulating Dream Team of the Hardy Boyz, CM Punk and the TV-PG version of D-Generation X. The pre- and post-match celebrations from that team are longer than the match. Hey Orton and Edge, next time you’re asked to stock a Survivor Series team, don’t do it with the action figures from an abandoned mid-western K-Mart.
14. Team Alliance (2001)
Don’t get me wrong, Team Alliance is AMAZING. It features Stone Cold Steve Austin and Kurt Angle, for God’s sakes. It makes the list for two big reasons:
1. It’s supposed to be a team representing all the biggest stars from ECW and WCW. Look at this picture:
Remove Booker T and Rob Van Dam and it’s “Team WWF vs. Team WWF, WINNER TAKE ALL.” Nothing says “we hate WWF” like the son of the guy who owns the company and its biggest star. It’d be like doing the Brady Bunch vs. the Partridge Family and booking it as Greg, Peter and Bobby vs. Marcia, Jan and Danny Bonaduce.
2. They get their asses beaten. That’s the worst part. You’re blowing off the Invasion angle, in theory the biggest and most can’t-miss angle in the imaginable history of pro wrestling, by having WWF guys beat WWF guys. Chris Jericho wrestled in ECW and WCW, and you’ve got Kurt Angle (manufactured by the pre-2000 WWE developmental process) trying to beat him up on their behalf? Why, because he went to a show once and complained about it? I know you wanted big stars in your angle-ending Survivor Series match, but Jesus, a team of Stalker DDP and the Natural Born Thrillers would’ve at least closed out the narrative. The “we bought WCW, changed the logo, replaced its stars with ours and then took a big ol’ dump on its chest” narrative.
13. Team Lesnar (2003)
Much like Team Rated RKO, Survivor Series 2003’s Team Lesnar starts off great. You’ve got Brock Lesnar. That should be enough.
You’ve also got Matt Morgan, a tall guy who was greener than goose shit and didn’t get much better. You’ve got Nathan Jones, a guy who was hired because he looked the way he looked without important prerequisites like “knows how to wrestle” or “isn’t on so many drugs he starts lactating.” You’ve got poor A-Train nearing the end of his first WWE run, at that point when “has back hair” was the only reason people remembered who he was. The man’s could’ve pulled the performance of his life at Survivor Series and the crowd would’ve chanted “shave your back” and stared at their flip phones. Rounding out the team is Big Show, a man who changes alignment like a regular person might change underwear and to this day serves as the world’s largest paperweight in elimination matches.
Lesnar would be gone four months later. If I had to wrestle between Matt Morgan and Nathan Jones I’d say f*ck it and try football, too.
12. Team Spirit Squad (2006)
Picture timed to crop out Dolph Ziggler for emphasis.
You need a team to job out to a randomly assembled group of WWE Legends. Who bettah than TEAM SPIRIT SQUAD, 4/5 of WWE’s greatest male cheerleading squad of all time. “Nicky” did well enough for himself, but the other guys weren’t good enough to crouch in the crate that sent them back to OVW and out of our lives forever. It was like someone took the prototypical mid-2000s WWE star — let’s say John Cena — froze him, cracked him with a hammer and made five wrestlers out of the pieces. The Squad returned to team-based action at Chikara’s King of Trios 2014, where they tried to pretend they were at WrestleCon and charge 50 bucks for a photo.
The entire match at Survivor Series ’06 is bullshit, frankly, because the Legends team has Dusty Rhodes palling around with Ric Flair and giving Arn Anderson high-fives. All old wrestlers like each other, I guess.
11. The Truth Commission (1997)
In 1997, Survivor Series was all about GANG WARZ. You had a motorcycle gang (the “Disciples of Apocalypse”), a group of Puerto Rican guys who dressed like Panama Jack (“Los Boriquas”) and THE TRUTH COMMISSION. This spot loosely represents all of them, but the Truthers deserve their own spot.
If you don’t remember them, they dressed like Cammy from Street Fighter and had GI Joe names that had nothing to do with how they wrestled. The Jackyl, The Interrogator, Sniper, and Recon. Yes, I had to look that up. The Interrogator never interrogated anybody, he mostly just side-slammed them. Recon didn’t hang out on the outside and slide in to save people from post-match attacks. Sniper didn’t sit in the crowd and hit his opponent with long-distance moves. Nobody skinned The Jackyl to make John Morrison’s coat.
These guys would find mild fame else where as Cyrus The Virus (Jackyl), Kurrgan (Interrogator), Bull Buchanan (Recon) and F*cking Nobody (Sniper), but they never did anything as the Truth Commission. They didn’t even pressure me about smoking. At least the guy in the crowd at Survivor Series provided useful information about The Undertaker.
10. Road Dogg, K-Kwik, Billy Gunn and Chyna (2000)
On one side, you had Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero and Perry Saturn. WWE called them “The Radicalz,” because Zs were hot and every team name should be something a kid in 1991 would yell after landing a BMX flip.
On the other side? D-Generation R. R-Generation X? The Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, Chyna and … R-Truth. Well, he was “K-Kwik” here. They couldn’t call him “Nestles Crunch” without getting in trouble. It’s the saddest approximation of D-X ever. It’s like going to a Queen concert and getting Adam Lambert. Like going to a Gallagher show and finding out it’s Gallagher 2. It doesn’t help that Road Dogg is dressed like a maid from the 1930s.
The highlight of the match is either me remembering that Chyna’s entrance used to involve a fireworks bazooka, or the fact that in 2000 Chyna and Gunn had molded themselves these perfect, chiseled bodies out of plastic and clay. They look like Greek Gods here. Spoiler alert: that shit’s got an expiration date.
9. Kai En Tai, The Blue Meanie and The Big Show (1999)
Back in 1999, Big Bossman executed the ultimate heel move: stealing the Blues Brothers car, driving it to the funeral of a co-worker’s father, hooking the casket to the back of said car and dragging it away while making jokes about drag queens. Because get it? It’s the only thing that tops Brock Lesnar breaking a one-legged kid’s one leg in front of the kid’s mother, then shoving him down a flight of steps.
Big Show wanted revenge, so he was put into a Survivor Series match against Bossman, Viscera, Prince Albert and Mideon. Show didn’t want partners, so he was assigned three at random: The Blue Meanie and Kai En Tai. Instead of, you know, wrestling the match by himself and not tagging anybody in, Show is SO MAD at having to team with those “two little gooks” that he beats them up in the locker room. That picture is of Big Show beating up three people who are supposed to help him. To illustrated that pride comes before a fall, Show eliminates everyone and wins the match in less than 90 seconds.
8. Double J, Aldo Montoya, Sparky Plugg and Bart Gunn (1996)
Remember that scene in the Keanu Reeves version of Constantine where he goes to Hell, and it’s just this blurry-ass mess of fire and smoke, and a bunch of bad, nondescript CGI creatures start chasing him? Of course you don’t, but the Survivor Series ’96 Free For All match is that.
You have never seen a lonelier, most desolate match. One team is Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw teaming with The Sultan, Billy Gunn and Salvator Sincere. If you don’t remember Salvatore Sincere, he’s what happened when someone thought “smiling and wearing lots of pink” was an Italian stereotype. Someone 200 years old. That in itself should be a pitiful trashyard of bad 90s WWF gimmicks, but their opponents up the ante tremendously. Their opponents are BART Gunn (the only person they could find sadder than Billy), Bob Holly doing his racing gimmick as Thurman “Sparky” Plugg, the Road Dogg doing his “Jeff Jarrett’s a thing, but I’m ACTUALLY Jeff Jarrett” Inception gimmick and Aldo goddamn Montoya, aka Justin Credible with a yellow jock strap on his head. I’d make a joke about a tumbleweed blowing through this match, but it’d catch fire and burn up upon entry.
7. Hercules, Col. Mustafa, The Berserker and Skinner (1991)
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A viking, a bayou hunter, an ancient myth and Saddam Hussein walk into a bar …
The only reason Team Whoever’s Supposed To Be Captain Of This Shit rank lower than the ’96 hodgepodge is because they actually made it onto the show. This entire match was a thrown-together mess. Jim Neidhart was supposed to be on the face team, but was replaced by Sgt. Slaughter. ‘Big Bully’ Busick was supposed to get a PPV payday on the heel side, but was replaced by Hercules. God was supposed to be an omnipotent, loving creator, but died shortly before Survivor Series ’91 and left us with this match.
6. Shawn Michaels And His Knights (1993)
What happens when your forever-long Bret Hart vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler rivalry is derailed by sudden accusations of statutory rape? You throw Lawler under the bus, pretend he doesn’t exist and sub-in the prima donna version of Shawn Michaels at the last second. You never attempt to explain why Michaels would have knights, or why any of this is happening.
Shawn clearly not wanting to be there is the best part of this match. He spends 100% of it farting around outside the ring, messing with whichever random Hart Family members are within arm’s reach. The knights (who were supposedly Jeff Gaylord, Barry Horowitz and a “slumming it wore than Rhythm And Blues” Greg Valentine) are helpless and easily dispatched by the Harts. Bret and Owen start their legendary beef here, keeping it out of the bottom five by proxy.
When Lawler was cleared of charges, he returned like nothing had ever happened, totally fine with the snow job his employer gave him while he was in court. He’d spend the next 10 years being an unforgiving pervert, followed by 10 as a nervous old man trying not to remind us how much of a pervert he was.
5. Team Total Divas (2013) / Mae Young, The Fabulous Moolah, Tori and Debra (1999)
Survivor Series is a strange beast. Your team can’t be too good. If it is, you’ll get overconfident and lose. At the same time, a team that is exceptionally BAD is almost impossible to defeat.
A big example of this is Team Total Divas in 2013. They were up against “Team True Divas,” a group of women who weren’t included on the reality show and felt their ability to actually wrestle and put on matches should give them priority. Team Total Divas featured three of the worst wrestlers WWE has ever even attempted to employ — Cameron, Eva Marie and Jojo — yet they won. The Bella Twins were the workhorse veterans of the team and they won.
My favorite example is, on paper, the worst Survivor Series team ever assembled. At Survivor Series 1999, the mostly legit team of Ivory, Luna Vachon, Jacqueline and Terri Runnels took on two 70-year old women, Mongo McMichaels’ 40-year old non-wrestling ex-wife and Tori. Not Torrie Wilson, “Tori.” They girl they brought in on ‘Saved By The Bell’ when Kelly and Jessie left. The old lady team was so unable to function that they won in under two minutes. It’s a trick of the brain, I think.
4. The Four Doinks (1993)
Your Survivor Series team is Men on a Mission and The Bushwhackers. How do you improve that? EVERYONE GETS DOINK MAKEUP.
Here’s a fun secret: Doink was originally pretty awesome. He was a creepy, original heel character who had a bunch of entertaining matches. Like it so often does, that led to an ill-advised face turn and everything going to hell. The original Doink bailed instead of humiliating himself, so WWF (and eventually the independent scene) was suddenly FLOODED with Doinks. Everyone was Doink. You couldn’t whip out your dick and lay it on Pat Patterson’s desk without knocking over three Doinks.
Anyway, if you’ve ever wanted to see the Bushwhackers painted up like clowns and riding scooters to the ring, here’s your chance.
3. British Bulldog and The Mean Street Posse (1999)
The look on Bulldog’s face says it all.
At Survivor Series 1999, the British Bulldog (in the middle of his incredibly depressing “jeans” era) teamed with Shane McMahon’s friends The Mean Street Posse. They took on the updated version of the 1996 Free For All competitors: porn star Val Venis, sister-f*cker “Sexual Chocolate” Mark Henry, vampire Gangrel and “guy who fights with sticks” Steve Blackman. It somehow takes the Bulldog and the Posse TEN MINUTES to lose the match, which gives them a big spot on this list. Not only were they bad, they took forever to be it.
If Bulldog had put on slacks and a sweater vest, I’d probably have removed them from the list entirely. Man, is there anything sadder than Bulldog in jeans? He was so out to pasture he couldn’t even put on his gear. He should’ve wrestled matches holding his luggage.
2. Clowns Are Us (1994)
Jerry Lawler commanding a team of Jerry Lawler minis? Pretty awesome. Doink the Clown commanding three tiny Doinks to do Harlem Globetrotters routines? NOPE.
This is “Clowns Are Us,” the team of Doinks so bad they couldn’t even get the Toys R Us joke right. The little ones are Dink the Clown and his Gremlins 2 cohorts “Wink” and “Pink.” If this had happened during the Attitude Era they would’ve been “Pink” and “Stink.” Pink would kick out at two, Stink would kick out at one.
The eliminate nobody. But hey, they love to have fun!
1. The Alliance (1990)
If that’s The Alliance, I’m joining the Horde.
You can’t get much worse than babyface Nikolai Volkoff, but adding The Bushwhackers is a good try. It’s totally believable that Slaughter would see Volkoff carrying an American flag and just say “f*ck it, I’m an Iraqi now.” Watching this almost 25 years later I’m considering throwing in with the enemy. Tito Santana is an attempt at decency, but he’s the well-meaning ugly friend who tags along and doesn’t add anything. There have been worse ideas, worse performances and more lasting bad tastes, but objectively The Alliance is the very worst Survivor Series team of all time. They managed to be the worst thing on a show featuring The Gobbledy-Gooker.
BRB, putting on my khaki jumpsuit.