The top 15 traditional teams of Survivor Series have been announced by WWE.com recently. Here is the list in brief;
#15 Team SmackDown (Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, JBL, Batista & Bobby Lashley)
Blue-brand loyalty coursed through the veins of Team SmackDown in 2005. Led by World Heavyweight Champion Batista, the five-man ensemble put aside their disparate individual objectives long enough to overcome an imposing Team Raw of Shawn Michaels, Kane, Big Show, Carlito and Chris Masters. Underscoring SmackDown’s shocking cohesiveness were several key eliminations that stemmed from tandem efforts. Rey Mysterio stunningly pinned Big Show after a deluge of high-impact finishing moves executed in succession: The World’s Largest Athlete only went down after absorbing a Clothesline from Hell by JBL, a 619 by Mysterio, an RKO by Randy Orton, a second Clothesline from Hell and, finally, a springboard senton splash by The Ultimate Underdog.
Orton secured victory for the team, outlasting HBK to become the match’s sole survivor (the third time in as many years that Orton was the last man standing in a Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match). Despite what may appear to have been a singular accomplishment, there’s no denying that Team SmackDown only earned the “W” thanks to their teamwork. (Case in point: Orton RKO’d Michaels but only after JBL, who had been eliminated, distracted The Showstopper.) For whatever they lacked in friendship, the members of Team SmackDown undeniably made up for it with focus and determination. — JOHN CLAPP
#14 The Rude Brood (Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect & The Fabulous Rougeaus)
Rick Rude had a clear aesthetic in mind when he assembled his Rude Brood squad in 1989. Unlike the Brood’s happily unkempt opponents, the Roddy Piper–led Roddy’s Rowdies — featuring the scalp-licking Bushwhackers and barefooted Jimmy Snuka — Rude’s clan fancied themselves pretty boys who caused women to swoon. The stark contrast in styles held true from an in-ring grappling perspective, too. Whereas Piper’s team was full of brawlers who specialized in crude strikes, Rude surrounded himself with second-generation Superstars known for their technical proficiency. Strengthening the Brood further were the strategy-minded managers at ringside, “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart and The Genius, another second-generation grappler. (Conspicuous by his absence, however, was Rude’s own manager, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.)
Elitist, country-club cocky and prone to get lost in their own mirrored reflections, the members of The Rude Brood fit better than an Italian suit. At least some of that familiarity might be chalked up to the longstanding friendship between The Ravishing One and Mr. Perfect, who were members of the same 1976 graduating class of Robbinsdale High School in Minnesota. Though Jacques & Raymond Rougeau were the first two Superstars eliminated in the match, giving way to a four-on-two advantage for the Rowdies, Rude and Perfect battled back to even the score. Ultimately, Perfect — who was undefeated in WWE heading into Survivor Series 1989 — wound up as the bout’s lone survivor, ensuring his record remained unblemished … not unlike the meticulous appearance of he and his teammates. — J.C.
#13 Razor Ramon, Randy Savage, 1-2-3 Kid & Marty Jannetty
Razor Ramon’s first rodeo as a Survivor Series team captain came in 1993, and The Bad Guy cut no corners in assembling a versatile, era-spanning four-man unit that wound up victorious. He also apparently had little interest in letting old gripes influence his choice of teammates, as he enlisted two former foes to join his cause.
This team is where Ramon and The Kid’s well-documented kinship began to blossom and the development was all the more inspirational for the fact that Kid had scored a major upset win over Ramon earlier in the year. (Kid’s win over the larger, toothpick-slinging veteran was a career-defining moment that Ramon did not originally accept with grace.) Similarly, it was only a year earlier at Survivor Series 1992 that Ramon teamed with Ric Flair in one of the event’s marquee matches to take on Mr. Perfect and, you guessed it, 1993 teammate “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
Even though both Ramon and Savage lost falls and were eliminated, The Bad Guy was rewarded for his “let bygones be bygones” mentality when Kid and Jannetty persevered the attrition and outlasted opponents Diesel, Rick Martel, Adam Bomb & Irwin R. Schyster. — J.C.
#12 Aja Kong, Bertha Faye, Lioness Asuka& Tomoko Watanabe
At first glance, Bertha Faye’s team of Japanese women wrestlers Aja Kong, Lioness Asuka& Tomoko Watanabe looked as at-home in a WWE ring as Art Donovan at a commentary table. Though the pigtailed, kaleidoscopic-attired Faye — a heavyweight bruiser and former Women’s Champion — picked a team that held little to no name recognition with the 1995 WWE Universe, the performance of the team was stellar, and Kong’s effort that night, in particular, became the stuff of Survivor Series lore.
Battling a four-lady crew captained by then-Women’s Champion AlundraBlayze, Faye’s team endured an early elimination (Asuka) before the 230-pound bleach blond Kong entered the bout and cleaned house. Then the national spokesperson for orange juice in Japan, Kong quickly squashed opponents Sakie Hasegawa, ChiparritaAsari and Kyoko Inoue like ripe Valencia oranges, eliminating all three in just more than a minute’s time.
Blayze staged a fierce comeback, but in the end, she was overwhelmed by the backfist of the sole survivor of Team Faye — Aja Kong. “It’s about competition, it’s not really about looks,” color commentator Mr. McMahon said, moments before Kong’s closed fist rearranged Blayze’s face. — J.C.
#11 Team Kingston (Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry, R-Truth, Christian & MVP)
When The Miz recently berated Kofi Kingston for never achieving a big moment in his WWE career, The Awesome One must have forgotten about The Boom Squad Leader’s performance at 2009’s Survivor Series in the U.S. capital. To say The Dreadlocked Dynamo was impressive would be the understatement of the year.
Kingston assembled a team of WWE’s toughest do-gooders on the roster — Montel Vontavious Porter, Mark Henry, R-Truth and Christian — to face off with a cadre of devious competitors. Randy Orton gathered his Legacy of Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, and added former World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk and the veteran William Regal. The teams took turns dispatching each other’s members until Orton stormed the ring and nailed Christian with an RKO, leaving Kofi to fend for himself against Punk and The Viper.
Kofi and The Second City Savior battled back and forth with The Apex Predator gazing on from ringside. Kingston had his former tag team partner well scouted and reversed a roll-up attempt to eliminate Punk. Orton slithered onto the canvas but was nailed in the skull with a Trouble in Paradise instantaneously. Within six seconds, Kofi had eliminated two of the most skilled World Champions in WWE history. Now that’s a big moment. — ZACH LINDER
#10 Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, Jake Roberts, Jim Duggan & Brutus Beefcake
The first match of Survivor Series 1987 was also the debut Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match, and all eyes were on the 10 participants competing in this inaugural contest. Taking on the quintet of The Honky Tonk Man, Hercules, Harley Race, Danny Davis & Outlaw Ron Bass, “Macho Man” Randy Savage captained his squad of Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan & Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake.
What made Savage’s team great that night was the smart, skillful and savvy way they conducted themselves, as evidenced by how the bout progressed. It ultimately boiled down to an uncomfortable scenario for The Honky Tonk Man, as he wound up going solo against Savage, Steamboat and Roberts. And after being shaken and rattled, Honky rolled out of the ring and into the night, making “Macho Man,” “The Dragon” and “The Snake” the winning survivors. — WWE HALL OF FAMER HOWARD FINKEL
#9 Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, Sycho Sid & British Bulldog
This intriguing hodgepodge of talent — fan favorites Shawn Michaels & Ahmed Johnson teaming with baddies Sycho Sid & British Bulldog — is the result of a one-off concept WWE tried out in 1995: a Wild-Card Match in which the members of two opposing teams were selected at random. Besides being a confounding lineup, the HBK/Johnson/Sid/Bulldog mashup was also a well-balanced representation of latter-day New Generation WWE.
In November 1995, The Showstopper was racing his way toward his first WWE Championship, and he was doing so with the backing of a passionate Kliq (as in the mid-90s HBK fan base, not the curtain-calling Superstars). Shortly before Survivor Series, Bulldog ditched his trademark braids and turned his back on the WWE Universe as he steadily built a resume worthy of a WWE Title No. 1 contender. (Davey Boy Smith would, in fact, vie for the title on the following month’s pay-per-view.) Though still a year away from his first WWE Title, Sid was a dominating force — a onetime bodyguard of Michaels who had a bone to pick with his former boss. Lastly there was Johnson, who was a hulking rookie in possession of the Pearl River Plunge, an exhilarating powerbomb variant that was unlike any other finishing move in WWE at the time.
In short, the team was an incredible package of talent, even if all the members did not see eye-to-eye. The only Superstar on the quartet not to “survive” against Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Razor Ramon and Dean Douglas was Sid, who ate a Superkick from Michaels en route to being pinned. — J.C.
#8 Andre the Giant, Rick Rude, One Man Gang, King Kong Bundy & Butch Reed
At the inaugural Survivor Series in 1987, the legendary Andre the Giant captained a squad of super heavyweights capable of destroying anything put in front of them — whether it was Bam Bam Bigelow, Hulk Hogan or a six-foot sub.
Intent on crushing The Hulkster six months removed from their iconic WrestleMania III collision, Andre and his manager, Bobby Heenan, grouped the combined 900 pounds of King Kong Bundy and One Man Gang with the buffed pairing of Rick Rude and Butch Reed to form the most titanic five-man faction of all time.
Startlingly, Andre’s partners appeared somewhat small in the shadow of “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” but the group’s combined mass of nearly a ton was simply too much for The Immortal One and his imposing team of Ken Patera, Don Muraco, Paul Orndorff and Bam Bam Bigelow to handle. Following the ousting of Reed, Patera, Orndorff, Rude and Muraco, Hogan was counted out while scuffling with Bundy at ringside. The Beast from the East held his own from there, eliminating both One Man Gang and Bundy on his own before Andre put the Asbury Park, N.J., native down.
The giant’s team proved dominant, but it’s hard to tell what would be worse — having to face the mammoth squad in the ring or getting seated in-between them on an international flight. — RYAN MURPHY
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