1. The first event took place on November 26, 1987. It was created for four reasons: to extend the Hulk Hogan/Andre The Giant feud (Hogan had defeated Andre at WrestleMania III earlier that year); to directly compete with the original Thanksgiving Night Tradition, the NWA's annual Starrcade show; to establish a second yearly WWF pay-per-view (WrestleMania was the only one at that time; 1985's Wrestling Classic and 1986's Big Event did not inspire follow-ups) and to showcase as many WWF wrestlers on the roster, hence the strict adherence to 5-on-5 and 10-on-10 elimination tag team matches. (40 men and 10 women performed that November night. 50 men worked the 1988 show.)
After 1987, Starrcade would no longer occur on Thanksgiving Night. Starting in 1988, the NWA would move it to Christmas week in late December where it remained until the last event in 2000. Andre would go on to steal Hogan's world championship in a memorable, live, prime-time TV match three months later. (The feud would last long enough to inspire another annual pay-per-view in August 1988: SummerSlam.) And after canceling plans to discontinue it in 2010, the Survivor Series remains the second oldest annual supercard in WWE history.
2. The 1988 Survivor Series marked the first time a double turn ever happened during a WWF pay-per-view, which is still a rare occurrence today. The villainous Demolition, the then-WWF tag team champions, captained a team of 10 against their arch rivals, The Powers Of Pain, and their babyface team of 10. (Each side was represented by five two-man tag teams.)
Thanks to being unexpectedly screwed over by their wily manager Mr. Fuji late in the match (he caused his team to be eliminated by count-out thanks to his timely interference during an Irish Whip), an infuriated Demolition turned on him before leaving ringside. Shortly thereafter, The Powers Of Pain helped up Fuji, dusted him off and brought him over to their corner. After disposing of The Conquistadors, the last team standing on Demolition's side, Warlord and The Barbarian, the sole survivors, celebrated in the ring with Fuji on their shoulders.
In the end, Fuji's betrayal of the tag team champions backfired. The Powers Of Pain were never able to win the titles from Demolition. Fuji would go on to kiss and make-up with Ax and Smash (who now had Crush on their team) in 1990 and remain their manager until they all went their separate ways in 1991.
3. Before he made his debut at the 1990 Survivor Series, The Undertaker was originally billed as Kane, The Undertaker. As the show drew closer, "Kane" was mysteriously dropped from his name. The name would, of course, be recycled for his masked half-brother who would wrestle his first pay-per-view match at the infamous 1997 Survivor Series. Kane defeated Mankind that night.
Curiously, at the 1990 show, The Undertaker was accompanied by Brother Love to the ring. (The late, great Paul Bearer wouldn't arrive to take over until early 1991.) After eliminating two members of Dusty Rhodes' Dream Team (including the captain himself), The Dead Man was actually counted out. Ted DiBiase, Undertaker's captain of The Million Dollar Team, was the sole survivor. A year later, with a big assist from Ric Flair, The Phenom defeated Hulk Hogan for his first WWF Championship in the first ever Survivor Series singles match.
4. Randy Savage is the only wrestler to survive a traditional tag team elimination match in each of the first three Survivor Series shows. He's the only one to go undefeated at the event in the 1980s.
5. The three babyface and five heel survivors of every match in the 1990 Survivor Series went on to battle in a handicap Grand Finale bonus match to determine the ultimate survivor, a concept that was never repeated at future shows. The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan were the last men standing that night.
6. "Tiny" Lister is the only celebrity to ever participate in a traditional tag team elimination match. He appeared at the 1989 Survivor Series as Zeus, his character from No Holds Barred. He was quickly disqualified for refusing to let go of Hulk Hogan's neck and then attacking the referee. Speaking of famous actors, Chuck Norris is the only celebrity to officiate a match at the event. Well, sort of. He was booked as an outside enforcer for The Undertaker/Yokozuna Casket Match at the 1994 extravaganza.
7. Five years before their controversial world title match at the 1997 Survivor Series, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels first battled for the WWF Championship in the main event of the 1992 pay-per-view. The Heartbreak Kid had just won the InterContinental title from Hart's brother-in-law, The British Bulldog, during the last Saturday Night's Main Event of the 1990s, but that belt was not on the line. Unlike 1997, Hart retained.
8. There was an unusual championship match at the 1993 Survivor Series. The Heavenly Bodies challenged The Rock and Roll Express for the Smoky Mountain Wrestling tag team championships. (SMW was Jim Cornette's short-lived independent promotion based out of Tennessee.) Thanks to an arrangement with Vince McMahon, The Bodies won the belts from the Express on a national pay-per-view. It was the only title defended that night.
Even before their high profile title win The Bodies were already working for the WWF and later appeared at the 1994 Survivor Series. For their part, The Rock and Roll Express signed up for their own brief WWF run in 1998.
Eight years later, two World Championship Wrestling titles were merged with existing WWF championships at the 2001 Survivor Series. That marked the last time a non-WWF belt (excluding the ECW Championship which was briefly revived in 2006 as a third brand WWE world title) was ever defended at the annual event. Both WCW title holders were victorious. US Champion Edge became InterContinental champ and WCW tag champs The Dudleyz, became WWF tag title holders.
9. The 1997 Survivor Series remains the only one in the history of the supercard that ever happened outside the United States. It took place at the Molson Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
10. The ECW, European and United States Championships are the only belts that have never changed hands at the Survivor Series. Curiously, the Hardcore title was never defended at the event.
11. Between 1987 and 2014, there were 72 traditional Survivor Series elimination tag team matches. Up until 1999, with the exceptions of 1992, 1994 and 1998, there were at least four such matches booked for every show. (1989 had five while 1990 had six, the most in a single event.)
Since then, there has been at least one elimination tag match on every Survivor Series since 2003 but no more than three. The last time that happened was 2009.
Of those 72 matches, only six featured women. After The Jumping Bomb Angels won the first one in 1987, Aja Kong was the sole survivor in 1995. Four more took place in 2008, 2009, 2013 and 2014.
12. There have been two shows that didn't feature a single traditional elimination tag team match. Aside from a couple of title bouts, the 1998 Survivor Series was all about the Deadly Games tournament which crowned a new WWF Champion. (The Rock defeated Mankind to win the strap.)
The 2002 Survivor Series had three different kinds of elimination matches: a six-man tag team elimination tables match (The Dudleys and Jeff Hardy went over 3-Minute Warning and Rico); a three-way elimination match for the WWE tag team titles (Los Guerreros became the new champions over former title holders Edge and Rey Mysterio and fellow challengers Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit); and the very first Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Championship (Shawn Michaels became the new champion after outlasting five other superstars).
13. Besides the 3-on-5 bonus match in 1990, there have been four other instances where a traditional elimination tag team match wasn't 10-on-10, 5-on-5 or 4-on-4. There was a 3-on-3 in 1991, a 4-on-1 in 1999 (The Big Show took out his three partners before the event), a 4-on-5 in 2007 (Matt Hardy was supposed to be on the babyface team but was ultimately taken out prior to the show) and a 7-on-7 Divas match in 2013.
14. What's the longest match in Survivor Series history? Team WWF vs. Team Alliance, the 5-on-5 tag team elimination main event in 2001. It lasted nearly 45 minutes. The shortest match? The Rock squashing The Big Boss Man in the first round of the Deadly Games Tournament in 1998 in less than five seconds. In fact, this might be the quickest match in the history of professional wrestling.
15. Whether he's entering as champion or challenger, CM Punk has never lost a title match at the Survivor Series.
16. The Undertaker has never lost a Casket Match at the event. He's also never been defeated by The Big Show. In turn, whether in a traditional elimination tag match or a one-on-one encounter, he's never beaten Kurt Angle at the Survivor Series.
17. It was a bad night for defending champions at the 2002 Survivor Series. Five titles changed hands, the most at any individual show in the history of the event.
18. Of the aforementioned 72 elimination tag matches, only one ended with no survivors. At the 1996 Survivor Series, Farooq, Vader, Razor Ramon and Diesel fought Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, Flash Funk, Savio Vega and Yokozuna to a no-contest. After the eliminations of Vega and Ramon, all the remaining participants were disqualified when they refused to stop brawling inside the ring.
19. Randy Orton, Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior have each survived four elimination tag matches, more than all other superstars in the history of the Survivor Series. Additionally, Hogan and Warrior are the only ones to survive two of these matches in the same night. As mentioned previously, that happened in 1990, the only time that was ever possible.
20. Kane is the least successful performer in traditional elimination tag matches. He's been defeated in all seven he's participated in. Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart and JBL have each lost six.
21. Speaking of JBL, he is the only performer to be eliminated under four different stage names: Justin Hawk Bradshaw (1996), Blackjack Bradshaw (1997), Bradshaw (1999, 2003) and John Bradshaw Layfield (2005, 2008).
Jacques Rougeau was eliminated under three different names: his own (1987-9), The Mountie (1991) and Quebecer Jacques (1993).
22. Matt Bloom is the only man to lose three elimination tag matches under three different names in three different decades. He lost as Albert (1999), A-Train (2003) and Tensai (2012). Like JBL, Kane, Neidhart and Rougeau, he is winless in traditional Survivor Series tag matches.
23. What do Demolition, Haku, The Honky Tonk Man, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, Chris Jericho, Edge, Christian, Big Boss Man, Ron Simmons, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, R-Truth and Rob Van Dam all have in common? They've also never survived an elimination tag team match at the Survivor Series despite multiple attempts (five for Boss Man, three each for Edge, Truth, Snuka and Jericho, and four apiece for everybody else).
24. The Big Show is the only performer to win an elimination tag match in at least three different decades: 1999 (he survived a 4-1 handicap bout), 2004 and 2010. He's also the only performer to win an elimination match and a world championship in a second encounter in the same night. After winning his handicap Survivor Series match in 1999, he went on to snatch the WWF Championship in a Triple Threat match against The Rock and defending title holder, Triple H.
25. The Undertaker's Survivor Series record is not nearly as impressive as his 21 consecutive victories at WrestleMania. Between 1990 and 2009, The Dead Man went 9-8 at the annual November pay-per-view.
Read more by Dennis Earl at dennisearl.wordpress.com.