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Turkey. Thanksgiving. Christmas TV adverts. Half-price fireworks. It's Survivor Series time.
Over the past year, the Wrestling 20 Years Ago project has focussed on the two national promotions of WWF & WCW, as well as the Eastern upstarts ECW. Each have had varying degrees of success in this time, but if they were to pull ranks on their top performers throughout the year; just who would Survive?
WWF have heralded their own New Generation on the back of losing Hulk Hogan to Hollywood (then WCW) and have an undoubtedly impressive glut of youngsters at their command. Between the Harts, Shawn Michaels & Razor Ramon, they could easily have the upper-hand for the coming years. Yet, it hasn't stopped them placing the WWF Championship in the mid-card, bringing back two eighties main-stays into the spotlight to headline King of the Ring and giving a title run, or stumble, to Mr Bob Backlund. Do they have enough Diesel in the tank?
WCW have, in theory, lost the most decorated champion in the history of the business with Ric Flair's retirement. Yet, Hulkamania seems to still have enough fire power to book itself into main event championship reigns, and with it an entourage of encore performers to quell the loss of the Nature Boy. Not forgetting their more subtle youth movement including Stunning Steve Austin, The Natural Dustin Rhodes and Lord Steven Regal. They could have a Sting in their tail.
ECW are the true wild card in this game. A year ago, they may not have even been able to buy a spot at the table; but these days, if you tried to stop them, there may be no prisoners taken. Shane Douglas has arguably been the most consistent champion in the three promotions, Cactus Jack has seen a renewed vigour in his destruction and their young guns don't have the worry of some of the opposition in being over-exposed. A blend of hardcore and technical skills unseen anywhere else, their opponents should look at them Dangerously.
So, one night only, feuds set aside for national supremacy, standard Survivor Series, 5-on-5, elimination rules match; just who would get in from each company? Let's have a look at this monster main event:
Captain, Bret Hart.
Easily, the youngest team in the battle. Bret Hart has shown a calm, collective mindset througout the year putting on match of the year candidates with relative ease. With his placement in the card during his title reign, the pink & black attack has something to prove. Undertaker & Diesel have similar slow-paced, aggressive, methodical styles with the Deadman adding extra agility for his size. Power will be needed and these two have it in abundance. Razor and HBK had possibly 1994's best match and are certainly involved through merit. Both youngsters have potential star power, The Bad Guy with a more no-nonsense approach. Michaels was born for the spotlight and with his high-flying ability, this could just be his break-out moment. Can Owen Hart let the team blend without showing his resentment for Bret and costing them the win?
Team WCW - w/ Meng
Captain, Hulk Hogan.
Stunning Steve Austin
Perhaps the most experienced side. Hogan, the undoubted leader, has already thwarted Ric Flair and has a firm grasp of the Atlanta promotion. His Summer fanfare still echoes and his charisma is unmatched. Sting has had a quiet end to the year, but he could well serve as this team's spark. As popular a star as there is right now in USA. Vader is the biggest in the match and will make his strength and power show. Very intriguing opponents for the big man. Terry Funk is a legitimate mad man. He seemingly has little forethought for his own well-being and this could well unsettle younger opponents. War Games experience will certainly give him an upper-hand in this one. Austin is the rookie of WCW here, but he's shown this year he deserves to be involved in this level of match. Watch out for him. Outside muscle in Meng could well be a deciding factor.
Team ECW w/ Paul E Dangerously
Captain, Shane Douglas.
The unknown quantity. Paul E could convince a tortoise to run through a wall for him and you can bet his team of misfits will be up for this one. Douglas has been picking fights with national champions all year and this could be his moment. He's no slouch in the ring, either. Cactus may still have a grudge over his time in WCW and his death match experience could well be put to use, here. 911 is often seen as just an outside enforcer, but with the best chokeslam in the business and his sheer presence, he won't go down easy. The homicidal, suicidal, genocidal Sabu is enough of a danger in singles competition. This tag-team contest could well send him over the edge. Truly deadly. Benoit gets in ahead of fellow youngsters Dean Malenko & the Tazmaniac. He has raw talent, world experience and terrific ability for a young age.
Interesting conflicts during the bout would include Austin-Douglas with the Franchise coming out on top; 911 and the Undertaker battling on the outside to be counted out, Funk & Cactus both being disqualified for their brawl ending up with the introduction of foreign objects. Sting and Shawn Michaels would be an exciting battle, Stinger with the win for me. After an attempted interference from Owen on Bret, the Hitman would get his retribution on Hogan from Wrestlemania IX before Shane Douglas sneaks a roll-up win for ultimate bragging rights. Sabu would chop down the tree that is Diesel before Vader blasts him with a moonsault for the pin. Sabu then beats down the big man on the outside with a chair to have him counted out in retribution. Benoit & Ramon have an interesting duel with the Canadian just coming up short, leaving the final three of Razor, Sting and Douglas. Razor taps to the scorpion deathlock, leaving the Franchise and the Stinger. Dangerously tries to blast Sting with his phone, but pays the price from Meng; Shane Douglas ultimately loses out in the battle to the man they call Sting.
Who would make your final teams? Who would run out winners? Thoughts and comments below.