WWE Over the Limit 2012: Breakdown of Chris Jericho vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Randy Orton vs. Sheamus

Published May 18, 2012 on WrestleEnigma.com

In wrestling, a Fatal Four-Way match is perhaps the worst thing that could happen to a competitor. A Fatal Four-Way match has no disqualifications and no countouts. To win the match, you must make one of the competitors in the match submit or pin their shoulders to the mat for a three count. In this case, as it is a match for the prestigious World Heavyweight Championship, the reigning and defending champion “The Great White” Sheamus does not have to be beat in order for one of the competitors to capture the belt held by the likes of WWE Hall of Famer Edge and The Undertaker.

In two days, the first ever Fatal Four-Way match in Over the Limit history will take place with Sheamus defending his World Heavyweight Championship against Chris Jericho, Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio.

The Road to Over the Limit:

Sheamus: 

Sheamus is the World Heavyweight Champion coming into this event, having only a 25% chance of retaining his title in a Fatal Four-Way match. Throughout 2012, to say that Sheamus has been impressive would be an understatement. After running through opponents such as Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, The Miz and Christian, Sheamus won the 2012 Royal Rumble match which allowed him to be in one of the main events at WrestleMania XXVIII. Eventually, Sheamus would lay his eyes on Daniel Bryan at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, laying him out with an emphatic over the shoulder back-to-belly piledriver in the center of the ring. The following night on Raw SuperShow, it was confirmed that Sheamus had picked to have a match for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania.

Come WrestleMania, Sheamus would open the show. “The Great White” as he is popularly known now would come out in front of the hot Miami crowd to a good ovation. Afterward, the devious World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan “yes-pumped” his way down to the ring, accompanied by his soon-to-be former girlfriend AJ. In less than twenty seconds, as soon as Daniel Bryan turned his back on his Irish opponent, Sheamus would Brogue Kick Bryan’s teeth down his throat and pin him to become the first ever Irish-born World Heavyweight Championship.

Although both fans and Bryan claimed that Sheamus’ win was a fluke, Sheamus would defend his newly-won title at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view against Daniel Bryan in a 2 out of 3 falls match. Sheamus would get the first fall, but would lose the second fall via referee stoppage. With a damaged shoulder, Sheamus still had the heart and courage to compete, eventually Brogue Kicking the Aberdeen, Washington native down for the count.

Now, at Over the Limit, with pay-per-view momentum and the fans on his side, will Sheamus be able to have the same courage and heart that allowed him to make it to this pay-per-view with his title? Although Sheamus hasn’t been pinned by Alberto Del Rio or Randy Orton in the last few months, one of his challengers “The Mental Mastermind” Chris Jericho has achieved such a feat.

Chris Jericho: 

We all know who this man is. Arguably, he is the best in the world. He is the first ever WWE Undisputed Champion. He is a record nine time WWE Intercontinental Champion. He is a two-time World Heavyweight Champion and a seven-time Tag Team Champion. However, Chris Jericho’s story heading into this pay-per-view is way different than Sheamus’.

After a series of mysterious vignettes featuring schoolchildren and eerie messages, Chris Jericho would make his much anticipated return to WWE on January 2, 2012. Not having stepped foot in a WWE ring since September 27, 2010, the crowd was electric to once again see Y2J. Decked in a light-up jacket and tight black leather pants, Jericho would jump around the ringside area and the ring, high-fiving fans and hyping them up. However, Jericho would hype the fans up and then let them down by abruptly leaving without saying a word. The following week was basically “rinse and repeat,” but this time when Jericho was about to open his mouth, he broke down in tears and left the ring.

On January 16, 2012, Jericho was put in a match by Raw Interim General Manager John Laurinaitis, teaming with WWE Champion CM Punk and World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan against Mark Henry, David Otunga and Dolph Ziggler. Late in the match before a commercial break, Punk was able to make the hot tag to Chris Jericho. Back in action, Jericho riled the crowd up and before he did anything else, he slapped Daniel Bryan in the chest and once again walked away to the back. Jericho’s first words since returning would come at the following edition of Raw SuperShow on his talk show “The Highlight Reel:” After showing the highlights of his career on the Jeritron 5000, Jericho would warn the WWE Universe that at the Royal Rumble, it would be “the end of the world as we know it.”

However, come the Royal Rumble, Jericho would not win. Although he would make it to the final two with Sheamus and could eliminate David Otunga and “The Viper” Randy Orton, Jericho’s fate was being Brogue Kicked out of the ring by “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus. However, Jericho would still be able to make it to the grand stage that is WrestleMania by eliminating Big Show in a battle royal to determine the number one contender for the WWE Championship. After taunting WWE Champion CM Punk for weeks and weeks about his family’s skeletons in the closet, unlike Sheamus, Jericho would come up short at WrestleMania, being forced to submit to the Anaconda Vise by Punk.

Jericho once again found himself in the WWE Title fray by Extreme Rules, having to face Punk in a street fight in Punk’s hometown of Chicago, IL with Punk’s sister whom Jericho had made fun of in attendance. In a match filled with steel chairs and kendo sticks, Punk would once again prevail, beating Jericho and counting his shoulders down one-two-three after a Go 2 Sleep. Jericho’s aspirations would end the following day on Raw SuperShow when he wasn’t able to beat the time during a Beat the Clock competition.

However, Jericho’s title aspirations wouldn’t end there, as on the May 7 episode of Raw SuperShow, Jericho would pin the World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus following a Codebreaker during a tag team match. Later in the night, John Laurinaitis would announce that Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio at Over the Limit had been changed to Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton in a Fatal Four-Way match.

Alberto Del Rio: 

Ever since returning on April 2, it was obvious that Del Rio had his eyes on Sheamus’ prized World Heavyweight Championship. Del Rio would later gain an opportunity for the title by defeating Sheamus by disqualification after Chad Patton, the official in the match, believed that Sheamus had hit Del Rio with a steel chair. Although Del Rio hasn’t done much since returning, Del Rio had perhaps the best year out of any superstar in 2011. First, Del Rio won the 2011 Royal Rumble by eliminating Santino Marella. Then, Del Rio was in one of the WrestleMania main events, losing to Edge in “The Rated R Superstar’s” last match ever. After coming up short on his World Title quest, Del Rio gained a shot for the WWE Championship by winning Raw’s Money in the Bank ladder match.

Del Rio would cash in his contract on WWE Champion CM Punk at SummerSlam, pinning him after a swift step-up enzuigiri to the head. Although he would lose the title to John Cena shortly after, Del Rio regained his title at Hell in a Cell. Del Rio would only lose the title at Survivor Series to CM Punk before being put out of action by a groin injury. However, now that Del Rio is back, he’s stronger than ever, but we… we already know that!

Randy Orton: 

The Apex Predator of the WWE, Randy Orton! Orton can put any opponent away with the RKO at any moment, but so far, he hasn’t had the most stellar 2012. After returning one week before the Royal Rumble from a back injury caused by Wade Barrett, Orton would get eliminated in less than six minutes by one of the men he will face in two days, Chris Jericho. A few weeks later, Orton would suffer another injury, this time a concussion at the hands of Daniel Bryan. As soon as Orton returned, he would be attacked by the monstrous Kane, who would put him through hellfire and brimstone for the next couple of weeks. Then, it was announced that Orton would face Kane at WrestleMania.

With just a lot of people in the WWE Universe expecting a win from Orton, the world was shocked when Orton fell prey to a Chokeslam from the second rope and was pinned cleanly in front of thousands of people at WrestleMania. Orton would beat Kane on the following SmackDown in a no disqualification match and later beat Kane again at Extreme Rules with a massive RKO onto a steel chair! On April 30, with momentum beginning to pick up for Orton, Orton would beat Jack Swagger in 4:16 during a Beat the Clock challenge. However, just as it seemed “The Viper” had the win in his hands, Daniel Bryan bested Orton’s time by defeating WWE Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler with his signature “Yes!” Lock in about three minutes and a half.

Now that Orton’s path has crossed with the ones of Alberto Del Rio, Chris Jericho and Sheamus, will Orton be able to once again punt Chris Jericho out of the WWE? Or maybe he’ll RKO Alberto Del Rio into unconsciousness. However, maybe Randy Orton will pin Sheamus in the center of the ring, bringing back memories of the 2010 Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.

The Feud:

Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio’s feud would start on April 2, 2012, the day after Sheamus won the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXVIII. Del Rio would interrupt Sheamus during his celebration, but then get Brogue Kicked for his troubles. The following week on SmackDown, Alberto Del Rio would face Sheamus in a match. During the match, Del Rio entered a chair into the ring. However, as soon as Sheamus took the chair from him and the official noticed, Del Rio would feign getting hit by the foreign object, therefore getting a disqualification win over “The Celtic Warrior.” For that win, Del Rio would get a future World Heavyweight Championship shot.

On May 7, Del Rio would square off against Sheamus in a tag team match with Chris Jericho as his partner and Randy Orton as Sheamus’ partner. During the match, Sheamus would set up for the Brogue Kick, but Jericho would duck it and Sheamus would deck Orton in the face. Taking advantage of a distracted Sheamus, Jericho would sneak up from behind and hit the Codebreaker for the pinfall victory on the World Champion. Immediately after the match, Jericho would grab the World Title and hold it up in the air as if he had already won the title from Sheamus.

After that, Jericho found himself in John Laurinaitis’ office, demanding a World Title shot. Del Rio then emerged, claiming that he beat Sheamus to get that opportunity at Over the Limit. Randy Orton then showed up, making his own case for a World Title shot. Laurinaitis eventually agreed, giving all three men an opportunity for the World Title in a Fatal Four-Way match against Sheamus at Over the Limit.

Nine days before the pay-per-view, all four men would once again be involved in a tag team match which ended in a no-contest. Eventually, all four men disregarded the referee’s commands, forcing the referee to call for the ball as a brawl ensued. However, Laurinaitis’ executive administrator would have none of all four men’s actions, putting them in matches against one another with Randy Orton facing Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus facing Chris Jericho. In the first match of the night, Orton would defeat Del Rio by disqualification after Del Rio’s personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez interfered in the match. Post-match, however, Del Rio would jump Orton from behind and lock on his patented cross armbreaker.

In the main event of the night, Jericho would defeat Sheamus by disqualification after Alberto Del Rio interfered to put a beating on Jericho. Soon enough, Randy Orton joined the party with the end result being an RKO and a Brogue Kick on Alberto Del Rio while Chris Jericho scurried away. After Jericho beat Orton by disqualification because of Sheamus’ on this week’s Raw SuperShow, Orton will face Sheamus on tonight’s SmackDown. What will happen tonight when both of these volatile superstars collide?

The Greatest Match in Clash of the Champions History: Ric Flair vs. Sting in 1988 (Enigma vs. Enigma)

First published on WrestleEnigma.com

Ric Flair vs. Sting – Clash of the Champions I

Ric Flair. Sting. We all know who these men are. They revolutionized the wrestling business in the 1990s and are still participating in the wrestling world in some sort of way or form. At the first ever Clash of the Champions, these two outstanding performers, entertainers and, perhaps most importantly, wrestlers, had such a tremendous match that it is still remembered almost 25 years afterwards.

Ric Flair’s Backstory:

In 1974, Ric Flair joined NWA, standing for National Wrestling Alliance. In the following year, Flair would obtain his first singles championship in NWA, capturing the Mid-Atlantic Television Championship from Paul Jones. About seven months later, on October 4, Flair would find himself in a twin-engine Cessna 310 plane which, unbeknownst to him or the other passengers on the plane, was heading for disaster. As the plane neared the Wilmington International Airport in southeastern North Carolina, the plane began running out of gas, eventually crashing into several trees and a utility pole a couple miles away from the airplane’s designed runway.

It was later revealed that the 26-year old Flair had broken his back in three different places and had several lacerations. Compared to other passengers of the plane, such as the pilot who was in a six-week coma before dying and John Valentine who was paralyzed for life as a result, Flair was extremely lucky to still be alive. Flair eventually overcame the plane crash, returning to the ring less than a year later. Being forced to change his style in the ring because of the injuries suffered in the car crash, Flair would adapt to a new in-ring style, which is the one that he mostly used during his prime.

On July 29 of 1977, Flair would acquire his first NWA United States Heavyweight Championship from Bobo Brazil at a house show in Richmond Virginia, holding it for 84 days before dropping it to fellow current WWE Hall of Famer Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat on October 21 of the same year. Four years later, Flair captured his first-ever NWA World Heavyweight Championship, holding it for 476 days before losing it to Harley Race on June 10 of 1983. Flair would go on to hold the NWA World Heavyweight Championship for ten times, a record that no other wrestler has beaten to this very day.

Cementing himself as a top dog in the NWA, Flair would form The Four Horsemen in 1986 with “Double A” Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard and their manager J.J. Dillon. This groundbreaking stable would go on to have rivalries with other top stars in the NWA at the time, such as Dusty Rhodes and The Road Warriors. A year later, in 1987, Ole Anderson was kicked out of the Horsemen and was replaced by the upstarting Lex Luger, who would later be kicked out himself. At the first ever Clash of the Champions event, Luger would team up with Barry Windham to defeat Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, who were still members of the Four Horsemen at the time, to capture the NWA’s tag team title belts.

Sting’s Backstory:

In the early stages of his wrestling career, not much was known about the man that we currently call Sting. Steve Borden, going under the name of “Flash” formed a tag team with Jim Justice, who we all now know as legendary former WWF superstar, The Ultimate Warrior. The Blade Runners, as they were collectively known upon a heel turn, worked mid-southern territories at the time such as the Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF). Jim Justice would eventually depart from the UWF around the middle of 1986, causing Sting to join a heel stable which consisted Rick Steiner, Eddie Gilbert and his valet, Missy Hyatt. While in Gilbert’s stable, Sting would win the UWF World Tag Team Championship three times, twice with “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert and another time with Rick Steiner. Sting would hold the UWF World Tag Team Championship belts three times during his career, matching The Wild Samoans’ record in the UWF.

A young upstart, Sting would turn face by allying himself with Chris Adams against Terry Taylor and his former ally Eddie Gilbert. Sting was booked to win the UWF Television Championship in late 1987, but instead, the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) bought UWF and not wanting Sting to look weak by having a transitional title reign. A supporter of his since the NWA bought UWF, Dusty Rhodes put Sting in the opening match of the fifth-ever Starrcade event, teaming with Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin against Larry Zbyszko and Sting’s former allies in the UWF, “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert and Rick Steiner. Sting’s first NWA pay-per-view match ended up in a 15-minute time limit draw just as his team was about to get the pinfall victory.

As Sting rose through the ranks in the NWA, beating superstars such as The Sheepherders (more commonly known as The Bushwhackers), Sting also began riling up crowd support with his charismatic personality and his always-improving in-ring arsenal. In early 1988, Sting issued a challenge to the NWA Champion “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair which would happen at the first-ever Clash of the Champions event that was going head-to-head with WrestleMania IV.

The Match:

In the right corner, sporting purple tights and white boots was Ric Flair, the NWA Champion. Flair’s manager and ally at the time, J.J. Dillon was suspended above the ring in a cage, allowing him to still keep a close eye on the action without interfering on Flair’s behalf. In the left corner was Sting, donning black tights adorned with yellow scorpions. Watching at ringside were the five judges for this match: Jason Hervey, Sandy Scott, Ken Osmond, Gary Juster and Patty Mullen. As both competitors jawed with each other, the referee rang the bell and the action was underway.

Instead of a traditional lock-up before the match, Flair would feign running off the ropes before stopping, strutting and letting out a trademark “Wooooo!” Both men locked up a few seconds after with the more powerful Sting forcing Flair into the corner. Almost as if playing a game of one-upmanship, Sting would give away one of his patented screams to the delight of the crowd in attendance. Both men went back to the collar-and-elbow tie-up with Flair wrenching on Sting’s arm. Sting would fall to the mat and then kip-up back to his feet, breaking the grasp that Flair had on his arm. For the third consecutive time in the match, Flair and Sting would lock up. This time, Sting would put Flair into a side headlock. The veteran Flair would slip through the cracks, countering Sting’s headlock into an arm lock, all the while letting out his signature “Woooo!”s. With the crowd firmly behind him, Sting would shove Flair down to the mat, breaking the arm lock and causing Flair to back off into the ropes.

Sting would then offer Flair a test of strength. A cautious Flair would eventually accept Sting’s test, with Sting quickly overpowering Flair. Flair would turn this around, forcing Sting into the corner and hitting a knife-edge chop on him. Sting would no-sell this powerful chop, forcing Flair into the other corner and then tossing him across the ring like a rag doll. Sting would follow this up with a dropkick, causing Flair to roll out of the ring and rethink his strategy heading into this bout. Back in the ring, another lock up would ensue between these two future legends. This time, Flair had the tight headlock on “The Stinger.” Flair would later transition into a hammerlock, but Sting had Flair scouted, switching the hammerlock on the NWA World Champion. With Flair trying to get out of the hammerlock, Sting would lock on an armlock. Eventually, although writhing in pain, Flair would force Sting into the ropes making him break his submission hold.

Flair, the heel heading into this match, would take advantage of Sting with a body blow and then another chop. Flair went for another side headlock, but Sting pushed Flair into the ropes. After a jumping/ducking sequence by both tremendous competitors, Sting would lift Flair up into the air before dropping him back down to the canvas with a military press slam. Sting would continue to gain momentum with a flying headscissors in the corner, a hip toss and a side headlock takeover for a two count. With Flair in the center of the ring, Sting maintained his side headlock as the ring announcer announced that 40 minutes were left in this match. Flair would finally make it back to a standing position, pushing Sting into the ropes. Sting would rebound with a big shoulder block, knocking Flair down once again. A few seconds later, Sting went back to the side headlock. The same thing would happen once again with Flair breaking the headlock and Sting taking “The Alimony Pony” down with a shoulder tackle.

A short while later, Sting would jump over Flair’s body on the ground, but Flair would rise right back up, going for a hip toss. The fresher Sting would counter the attempted hip toss into one of his own and once again hit a side headlock takeover for a count of two. Sting hangs on to Flair’s head, once again having a side headlock tightly locked in. As J.J. Dillon watches 30 or 40 feet above the ring in a bird cage, Flair is able to flip over and get Sting in a pinning combination for a two count. Sting rolls over and goes back to the headlock. Flair makes it to a standing position a few seconds later, but Sting knocks “Slick” Ric back down and goes back to the side headlock. Sting wrenches on the maneuver, pressuring Flair’s head and using all the strength he can. Flair eventually makes it back to his base, forces Sting into the corner and begins working on him with some blows on the body. Sting turns it around on Flair and goes for the mounted punches in the corner, but Flair blocks it. Flair goes for a punch of his own, but Sting counters it into a couple of big right hands.

Sting gets Flair in the corner and tosses him across the ring. Sting attempts to follow it with a dropkick like earlier in the match, but misses it. With Sting down, Flair does the classic “Flair Flop” (where he walks around and then takes a bump face-first into the mat). With both men down, the referee begins to count both men out. Meanwhile above the ring, J.J. Dillon shouts words of encouragement to “The Nature Boy.” Flair is the first one to get back on his feet and he immediately throws Sting out of the ring through the middle ropes. A mere matter of seconds later, Sting jumps right back into the ring, much to the shock of Flair. Flair recoils into the corner and Sting finally gets the chance to hit the mounted punches as J.J. Dillon looks on. Sting with a big blow to the abdomen and then yet another side headlock takeover for yet another two count.

Sting keeps the side headlock locked on, but Flair counters into a pinning combination for a two count. Sting back to the headlock, Flair back to the pinning combination for another two count. This happens once again as the bout passes the ten minute mark. Flair makes it back to a standing position a short while later, pressing his hand against Sting’s chin and forcing Sting against the ropes. Flair with a big punch to the ribs of Sting and then some chops in the corner. Sting tries to battle back with some clubs to the back and is successful. Sting with three or four kicks to the gut, a whip off the ropes and, for the second time in this bout, executes a big military press slam.

Sting whips Flair into the ropes and catches him with a bearhug. Sting’s arms are tightly wrapped around Flair’s lower back. The resilient Flair attempts to reach the ropes, but Sting, the more powerful man in this contest, forces Flair to the canvas and pins his shoulders down for a count of two. Sting applies more pressure to the bearhug he has applied on Flair as Flair yelps out “Oh, God! My back!” Sting gets frustrated with Flair’s resiliency and decides to punch away at Flair’s head. Sting runs off the ropes and goes for a jumping elbow drop, but Flair rolls out of the way. Flair begs off Sting in the corner, but Sting is having none of it as he whips Flair into the opposite corner. Sting goes for a Stinger Splash, but Flair once again moves out of the way. Sting lands elbow-first into the turnbuckle and goes down holding his elbow.

With both men back up again, Flair once again begs Sting to back off. Sting goes right back on the offensive, not putting up with any of Flair’s tactics, and attempts the mounted punches in the corner. Flair powers out with an inverted atomic drop on Sting and both men are down on the mat again. Flair is the first man back up, rolling out of the ring. Flair walks over to Sting, pulls him out of the ring and whips him into one of the steel barriers at ringside. Sting is obviously hurt as he lets out a scream. Flair pulls Sting back up and tosses him right into the same barrier as before. Flair, now in control of the bout, pulls Sting back into the ring and goes to town on him with knife-edged chops. Woooo!

Flair with a hard whip on Sting that sends him crashing into the opposite corner. That one shook the ring. Flair taunts Sting as J.J. Dillon applauds Flair above the ring. Now it’s Flair that’s working on Sting’s back as he once again whips him into the corner. Flair, the master technician, with a perfectly executed snapmare and then a big knee drop right on Sting’s forehead. Flair once again with the knee drop and then a painful back rake. Flair backs up his “dirtiest player in the game” nickname as he rakes several parts of Sting’s body. As we approach the halfway point of this bout, Flair continues to work on Sting with several chops, blows and then finally tossing him to the hard floor on the outside. Flair grabs a chair from ringside and is about to use it on Sting, but the referee restrains Flair and removes the illegal object from his grasp.

Coincidentally, much like the last time that these two found themselves on the outside during this match, Flair once again whips Sting into the same steel barrier. Flair is the first man back in the ring, but a weary Sting follows him back in. Flair with some knife-edged chops, a bionic elbow and a headlock punch. Sting, however, is having none of it and begins to no-sell Flair’s offense. The crowd is going bananas. Sting with some punches on Flair and then finally a big right hand to knock Flair over the top rope and out of the ring. Sting positions Flair against the ring post and attempts a Stinger Splash, but Flair moves out of the way and Sting’s arm crashes right into the post.

Flair has the definitive advantage as Sting rolls back into the ring. Flair wrenches and pulls on Sting’s arm. With the crowd firmly behind “The Stinger,” Sting rises back up to his feet. Flair tries to push Sting to the ground, but Sting kips back up, reminiscent of how he did at the beginning of the bout. Sting with three right hands to the head, a knee to the abdomen, a chokehold and then mounted punches in the corner. Sting performs a big hip toss and catches Flair with a clothesline. Sting covers for a two count. Flair tries to squirm out of the ring but Sting catches him and suplexes him back into the ring.

Sting looks around at the crowd and then decides it’s time to go for the finish. Sting grabs both of Flair’s legs and crosses them. Is he able to turn Flair over? Yes, he is! Sting has the Scorpion Deathlock perfectly applied, but his ring positioning is what keeps him from not getting the win right here. Flair quickly goes to the ropes, causing Sting to break his patented submission maneuver. Sting goes on the offense, this time in a very methodical manner, choking Flair with his boot in the corner. Flair tries to come back with a knife-edged chop, but Sting comes right back with a huge punch to the head. Flair falls flat on his face and Sting tries to take advantage of it. Sting rolls Flair over and goes for the cover. One, two, but no, Flair has his foot on the bottom rope.

Sting with another big toss across the ring. Sting attempts a clothesline, but Flair pulls the top rope down and Sting’s own momentum throws him over the top rope. As Sting makes it to the apron, Flair grabs Sting and snaps his head off the top rope. Flair tries to regroup, but Sting is right back up, mounting the top rope. Sting executes a flying crossbody ¾ around the ring for a big nearfall. Sting with a side headlock, but Flair counters it into a knee breaker and both men are down once again. Flair makes it to his feet at the count of eight as Sting tries to use the ropes to bring himself back to a vertical base. Flair with a kick to the back of Sting’s knee, obviously setting up for his signature Figure 4 Leglock. Another big knee breaker from the NWA Heavyweight Champion of the World, causing Sting to roll out of the ring. Sting hobbles around the outside, trying to make it back into the ring. Once he does, Flair goes right back to the knee, systematically dissecting Sting’s lower limbs. Flair with an elevated back suplex at the thirty minute mark.

Fifteen minutes remain in the contest as Flair grabs Sting’s left leg. The crowd knows what Flair is going for. The Figure 4 Leglock is locked in! Sting is in the middle of the ring. As the referee checks on Sting, Flair uses the ropes to put extra pressure on Sting’s legs. Flair once again uses the ropes as a distracted referee checks on Sting to see if his shoulders are down on the mat. Out of nowhere, Sting begins getting a rush of adrenaline and he pulls Flair away from the ropes. The fans are fully behind Sting, cheering for every move or facial expression from their number one babyface. Sting motions for the crowd as he attempts to flip over on his stomach to revert the pressure on Flair. Flair breaks the hold and both men are back down.

Flair is the first man up, going back to work on Sting’s lower limbs. Flair moves to the apron and pulls Sting up. Flair attempts to suplex Sting to the outside on the concrete, but Sting counters it into a delayed vertical suplex. Sting runs off the ropes, looking for a big splash but instead encounters both of Flair’s knees on his way down. Back to his feet, Flair whips Sting into the ropes but Sting counters into an abdominal stretch. Flair eventually reverses Sting’s submission hold into a hip toss. The ring announcer announces that ten minutes are left in the contest. Flair attempts an elbow drop, but Sting moves out of the way. Regardless, Flair is the first man back up, moving to the apron and going to the top rope. Flair goes for a high-risk move but Sting is back up to his feet. Sting tosses Flair into the middle of the ring and crawls over into the cover for a two count.

Sting grabs both of Flair’s legs and goes to the outside. Sting pulls Flair into the ring post groin-first. J.J. Dillon calls for a disqualification above the ring as Sting stomps on Flair’s leg back in the ring. Sting grabs Flair’s legs and locks in Flair’s own figure 4 leglock! Sting wants to beat Flair with his own submission maneuver. It’s looking bad for Flair right now. However, Flair, out of desperation, manages to grab the bottom rope. Flair is hurting all over at this point of the bout. Sting now has Flair in the corner and he hits some mounted punches followed by another big hip toss. Sting goes back to working on Flair’s lower limbs, positioning Flair’s ankle on the bottom rope and then coming down full force on Flair’s shin. A frustrated Flair hobbles back up and shoves the referee who shoves him back into the ground for a big pop.

Sting grabs Flair and whips him into the corner, with Flair during his classic Flair Flip (flipping over the turnbuckle onto the floor/apron) and landing on the floor. Near the five judges of his bout, Sting grabs Flair by the head and slams his head onto one of the steel barriers at ringside. All the judges scramble out of their seats while Sting slams Flair’s head onto the judges’ table. Sting grabs Flair and tosses him against the ring post. Flair’s brains are scattered as he falls over a steel barrier and into the crowd as a result of that shot into the ring post. Sting pulls Flair back into the ringside area by the hair and enters the ring as the ring announcer lets the crowd and the competitors know that 40 minutes have passed in the match and that 5 minutes remain. Flair makes it back to the apron and thrusts Sting in the stomach with his shoulder. Flair goes for a sunset flip, but Sting is just too much. Sting floors Flair with a big punch. Sting goes to town on Flair with a back rake and some body blows.

Sting once again has Flair in the corner and goes for the mounted punches for the fifth time or so in this 40+ minute wrestling match. Flair pulls Sting out of the corner at the fifth punch and hits an inverted atomic drop to no avail. Sting no-sells it and knocks Flair down with a big clothesline. Sting covers, but Flair has his foot on the bottom rope. Sting whips Flair into the corner and goes for the Stinger Splash. Sting once again misses his signature splash in the corner and falls over the bottom rope to the cold concrete floor. Three minutes remain as Sting rolls back into the ring on instinct perhaps. Flair reaches down and pulls Sting back up to his feet for some knife-edged chops. Sting comes back with a single punch and locks in a side headlock. Flair tosses Sting into the ropes, but Sting comes right back with a big shoulder tackle.

Sting goes for another one, but Flair locks in a sleeper hold. Sting, somehow, manages to counter Flair’s sleeper hold and tosses Flair head-first into the top turnbuckle. Both men are down and the referee begins to count both men out. Flair is the first man up and he tosses Sting to the outside through the middle rope. Sting pops right back up and climbs onto the apron. Sting with a shoulder thrust and he attempts a sunset flip. Much like Flair earlier in the match, Sting is unable to get Flair down to complete the maneuver. Flair kneels down and grabs the top rope. One, two, but no! That would have been over right there, but the referee saw Flair grab the top rope for leverage. The referee removes Flair’s hands from the top rope allowing Sting to complete his sunset flip. One, twoooooo! Another two count from “The Stinger.”

Sting grabs Flair and tosses him into the turnbuckle, but Flair once again does the Flair Flip. This time, however, Flair lands on his feet on the apron and runs over to the top rope. Flair with a big crossbody, but Sting rolls over for a count of two. Both men are back up. Flair with a chop, Sting no-sells it. Flair with a kick to the gut, Sting no-sells it. Two more chops, another no-sell. Sting with three punches to the head, a kick to the gut and then the mounted punches in the corner! Sting whips Flair into the corner, Stinger Splash! Flair is in big trouble. Sting grabs both of Flair’s legs, twists them and turns Flair on his back with 25 seconds left. The Scorpion Deathlock is locked in! Can Flair hold on? 10! 9! 8! 7! 6! 5! Flair is screaming in pain. 5! 4! 3! 2! 1! The bell rings. Flair didn’t tap and now it’s up to the five judges at ringside to decide who the winner of this amazing bout is. Not only will they decide the winner, but they will also decide who the new NWA Heavyweight Champion of the World will be before the night is over.

As the judges discuss between each other, J.J. Dillon, Flair’s manager and adviser at the time, is lowered down to the ring from the bird cage he was trapped in to ensure that no shenanigans would ensue during the match. After a brief pause, both competitors were back up to their feet. The referee and ring announcer were also in the ring to announce the winner and NWA Heavyweight Champion of the World. Patty Mullen has voted for “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Big boos from the crowd for that. Gary Juster has scored the match for Sting, evoking a positive crowd reaction. The third judge, Sandy Scott, has declared the match a draw. No reaction for that one. Therefore, by the decision of those three judges, this match has been declared a draw! None of the other judges have apparently casted in their votes. Still the NWA Heavyweight Champion of the World… “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair!

Sting is livid and so is the crowd. On the other hand, however, J.J. Dillon and Ric Flair are ecstatic as the NWA Heavyweight Championship of the World will remain with The Four Horsemen! Flair eventually leaves the ring with his advisor J.J. Dillon in tow and goes to the back as Sting remains in the ring, furious over the decision made by the five celebrity judges.

The Aftermath:

Following their first historic match at Clash of the Champions, Flair and Sting have had many different battles over the last few years. After the Clash, both men competed against each other at house shows more times throughout the year, with Flair walking out still wearing his NWA Heavyweight Championship of the World every single time. Later in the year (1988), Sting would feud with Flair’s fellow Four Horsemen members, Tully Blanchard and “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson. At The Great American Bash pay-per-view event, Sting teamed up with Nikita Koloff to to take on Anderson and Blanchard in a match with a 20-minute time limit. Eerily similar to his match with Flair, Sting had the Scorpion Deathlock applied on Blanchard when the time limit expired. Since there were no judges for this match, Blanchard and Anderson retained the titles.

To kick off the year in 1989, Sting had a one-hour bout versus Flair in Atlanta. The two once again put on a masterpiece only for the match to end in a draw. Flair and Sting’s paths would cross again at the 1989 Great American Bash event where Flair was wrestling Terry Funk in a match for the NWA Heavyweight Championship of the World. After Flair retained his title in a grueling match, The Great Muta (one of Funk’s stablemates in Gary Hart’s J-Tex Corporation) jumped Flair from behind and began putting the boots on him. Always the hero, Sting rushed to Flair’s aid. Flair and Sting would feud with The Great Muta and Terry Funk during the year with Sting and Flair being victorious over Muta and Funk in a Thunderdome match at that year’s Halloween Havoc televised event.

This alliance with Flair would cause Sting to join the newly-reformed Four Horsemen alongside Flair, Ole Anderson and Arn Anderson. Sting ended 1989 by defeating Flair at Starrcade with a roll-up to earn the number one contendership right for Flair’s NWA Heavyweight Championship of the World. Fearing a title loss, Flair and The Andersons would expel Sting from The Four Horsemen. After suffering a legitimate knee injury, Sting’s quest for the title was momentarily derailed, but not for long. Sting would capture his first NWA World Heavyweight Championship at the 1990 Great American Bash after countering Flair’s patented figure four leglock into a small package.

During Sting’s NWA World Heavyweight Championship title run, a new face emerged in the NWA ranks called The Black Scorpion. The Black Scorpion and Sting would feud for months before Sting would beat The Black Scorpion with a flying crossbody at the 1990 Starrcade. Post-match, Sting would reveal The Black Scorpion to be none other than “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. On January 11, 1991, Sting’s championship reign would come to an end when he was defeated by the very man he beat at Starrcade, Ric Flair.

After a few years without any notable contact, Sting would defeat Big Van Vader for the WCW International Championship. WCW had split from NWA at this point, thus explaining the title name change. At the 1994 Clash of the Champions event, the WCW International Champion Sting would battle WCW World Heavyweight Champion Flair in a title unification match which Flair won, ending the existence of the WCW International Title.

On the first ever WCW Monday Night Nitro, Sting would battle Flair in yet another match which would end with Flair defeating Sting by disqualification after Arn Anderson attacked Flair in the middle of the bout. In late 1995, Flair convinced the still-babyface Sting to team up with him against Anderson and Brian Pillman. Late in the match, Flair turned heel, betraying Sting and reforming The Four Horsemen with Pillman, Anderson, Chris Benoit and himself. Sting would then relentlessly attack Flair during a match on WCW Monday Nitro, locking the Scorpion Deathlock on him until Sting’s on-screen ally at the time, Lex Luger, convinced him to let go off “The Dirtiest Player of the Game.”

Perhaps one of Sting and Flair’s most famous matches happened at the last WCW Monday Night Nitro ever in 2001 where Sting and Flair battled against each other again with Sting making Flair submit via the Scorpion Deathlock submission maneuver. Both rivals would then hug it out post-match, honoring WCW and its last event ever.

In 2010, both Sting and Flair found themselves in TNA. However, Sting was absent until March  8 of that year. Sting would return during a match in between Hulk Hogan and Abyss vs. AJ Styles and Ric Flair. As Sting stood between the two teams, Sting teased attacking Flair and Styles with his trademark black baseball bat, but instead smashed Hogan and Abyss with the bat, turning heel in the process. On March 22, 2010, Sting was made the captain of Ric Flair’s team at Lockdown where they would face Hulk Hogan’s team. Team Flair would lose to Team Hogan at the event.

In August of 2011, after taking a short absence, Flair would return to TNA in the midst of a feud between Hulk Hogan and Sting. Flair would back up Hogan, challenging Sting to a match. Sting accepted the match with the conditions that if he lost, he would retire, but that if Flair lost, Sting would get to put his hands on Hogan at Bound for Glory. This match would happen on September 15 with Sting defeating Flair decisively with the Scorpion Deathlock.

Chandler’s $0.02:

Although this was a stellar bout, I believe it is not one for everyone. Some people might get bored with the repetitive moves and the fact that there are not many high spots or flashy spots in the match. However, the story Sting and Flair tell is amazing. Sting is the up-and-coming flashy star who is looking to cement himself while Flair is the top dog who looks to remain as the top dog for his heel stable. Sting brings the power game to the match and Flair, who usually matches or has superior strength than his opponent, has to resort to methodically attacking body parts throughout the match.

Although the action is good for the first 30 minutes of the match, it is nothing big. Yet, the crowd reacts to every move that these two in-ring masters do, making it such a great environment to be in. For an example of this, see Punk vs. Cena at Money in the Bank 2011. For an example of a dead crowd killing a great match, see Roode vs. Storm at last night’s TNA Lockdown pay-per-view. The crowd is so into the match that every move, tug or chop makes them react, whether it is to jeer Flair or to cheer on “The Stinger.”

I highly recommend this match for those who like a classic style of wrestling and for those who are looking to get to know more about wrestling. The legacy of this match is still around today and all these reasons are why I believe this was the greatest Clash of the Champions match of all time. The competitors were into it, the crowd was into it and it was full of great, simple action.

The Greatest Match in Survivor Series History: Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart at Survivor Series 1996 (Enigma vs. Enigma)

First published on WrestleEnigma.com

The greatest match in Survivor Series history is, without a shadow of a doubt, Bret Hart vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at the 1996 Survivor Series.

Have two other EvE competitors done this match before? Absolutely. I’m here to give you a unique perspective, however. Without further ado, let’s start.

Backstory
After facing “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII (12) in a 60-minute ironman match and losing the WWF Championship to the up-and-coming HBK, Hart would take a sabbatical from wrestling. Meanwhile, Steve Austin had just broken away from his Ringmaster gimmick with Ted DiBiase. As a heel, Austin was able to win the 1996 King of the Ring tournament, giving his infamous “Austin 3:16″ speech. Afterward, Austin would begin taunting Hart, ripping into him relentlessly. After eight months without wrestling, “The Excellence of Execution” would accept the cocky Austin’s challenge. The match would take place at Survivor Series 1996 and it would be a number one contender’s match for the WWF Championship.

Match
Austin would be the first man to make his entrance to the familiar Jim Johnston track “Hell Frozen Over.” We would go to the back where Bret Hart was being interviewed. Hart put over Madison Square Garden, where the event was taken place, as a holy ground and said that his thousands of fans had all been awaiting this moment. Hart then said that this wasn’t about money, it was about respect and assured that when their match was over, Austin would respect him. The familiar guitar riff of “Hitman” then played on the arena’s speakers, igniting a big pop from the New York crowd. As the pink lights shone, Hart made his way down the aisle, slapping fans’ hands on the way down.

The bell would finally ring. Both men would go to nose-to-nose and Austin would soon show the “tough S.O.B.” attitude that got him over, flipping Hart off. Both men locked up shortly afterwards with Hart forcing Austin into the corner. Both men would then grapple around with Austin fighting out of a waistlock by Hart using his elbow. After some more mat wrestling, both men began trading hammerlocks and several arm-related attacks. Hart grounded Austin shortly after, driving his own knee into Austin’s side while still having “Stone Cold” in a hammerlock. Austin would fight out of the hammerlock and try to gain the upper hand with a drop-toe-hold, but the veteran Hart would counter and go right back to the hammerlock. Austin would finally ground Bret again, whipping Bret into the ropes and taking him down with an elbow smash. After driving his elbow into Bret Hart’s spine more than once, Austin would lift Bret up and take him back down with a short-arm clothesline.

Austin would attempt a submission maneuver on Hart, but Hart reversed it, driving his knee into Austin’s arm. Hart hit a leg drop on Austin’s arm and then locked in an arm submission. Using his ring expertise, Hart would drag Austin away from the ropes and then take Austin down with a shoulder block after Austin whipped him into the ropes. Hart would charge at Austin again but Austin countered into a stun gun onto the top rope. Austin began driving the point of his elbow into the back of Bret and then choked him using the bottom rope. Austin then took control of the match, working on Hart’s neck with several neck-related maneuvers. Austin would then knock Hart out of the ring using his elbow and taunt the MSG crowd on the second rope. Austin then dragged Hart back into the ring, knocked him down with a snapmare and locked in a reverse chinlock. After two knee drops to the throat area, Austin would go for the first pinfall of the match but Hart would kick out at a mere count of one. Austin went back to the reverse chinlock.

Hart slowly made it back to a vertical base and began trading fists with Austin. After a brief slugfest, Austin won the battle, kicking Hart in the gut and punching him into the corner. Austin went back to the neck, using his foot to choke Hart. As Austin went for an Irish whip, Hart reversed into into his own Irish whip, throwing Austin hard into the corner. Hart would follow up with a clothesline, a Manhattan Drop and a running clothesline. Hart began building some momentum, rolling Austin up for a two count. Hart with a side Russian legsweep for another two count. Hart would then go for a running bulldog, but Austin would shove him hard into the corner at the last second. Austin then set Hart up for the Superplex but Hart countered with a Gourdbuster off the top rope. Hart followed up with his patented diving elbow drop for another nearfall. Hart would go for the backbreaker submission maneuver, but Austin would rake the eyes of Hart to avoid it. Austin then threw Hart out of the ring.

Austin then drove the lower back of Hart into the ring post, weakening the same back that Hart had landed on earlier when tossed outside the ring. Jawing with a few ringside fans would distract Austin, however, as he would get driven back-first into the barricade by Hart. Hart then tossed Austin face-first into the steel security railing, knocking the railing over. After Hart tossed “Stone Cold” back into the ring, Austin would roll back out in a typical heel move. Hart would have none of it, however, nailing Austin in the back of the neck with the point of his elbow off the apron. All of a sudden, Austin took Hart down with a double-leg-takedown and catapulted him into the announce table. Austin then jumped on Hart, pummeling him with rights and lefts. Austin then slammed Bret on top of the announce table and jumped off the apron with an elbow drop onto the chest of Hart. Austin with a vertical suplex from the apron into the ring on Bret Hart. Austin goes to the second rope and drops another elbow into the chest of Bret for a two count. Austin dropped another elbow for another two count. Austin whips Bret into the corner and takes his time to taunt the crowd in attendance again.

Austin then positioned Bret over the second rope and ran at him, dropping a leg onto “The Hitman’s” neck. Austin dragged Bret into the middle of the ring and covered for yet another two count. Austin locked in an abdominal stretch. As the official checked on Bret’s condition, Austin used the top rope for leverage, much to the crowd’s disdain. The official then noticed Austin and made him break it up. After some jawing with the official, Austin turned his attention back to Bret. Austin went for a punch, but Bret blocked it. Both athletes then engaged in round two of their before-mentioned slugfest. Hart gained the upper hand, and after four punches, knocked “Stone Cold” down to the mat. Hart with a Stun Gun and a pinning combination for a close two count. Bret then put Austin between his legs and hit a tremendous piledriver for a two-count. What a match! An exasperated “Hitman” then got Austin up and managed to hit him with a backbreaker. Hart then went to the top rope, but got crotched by “The Bionic Redneck.” Austin with some backhand chops and then punches to the head of Hart. Austin went for a second-rope Superplex but then shook his head and hit a Superplex all the way from the top rope!

With both men down, Hart pulled a pinning combination out of nowhere, getting a two count on the former Ringmaster. As Austin began pulling himself up using the ropes, Hart reached over to Austin. Out of nowhere, Austin with the Stone Cold Stunner on Hart! Austin hooks the leg… for a two count! What will he have to do to put “The Hitman” away? Austin with two more pinfalls for two more two counts. Austin with some mounted punches and another cover. Austin gets another two count. Austin then tied Bret’s legs up and locked in a Texas Cloverleaf. This is something we rarely see from “Stone Cold.” Fighting through excruciating pain, Hart made it to the ropes, forcing Austin to break the hold. Austin with some stomps to the neck and then punches to the gut on Hart. Austin then whipped Hart towards the corner, but Hart’s leg gave out causing Hart to run into the ring post kidney-first. Austin pulls Hart to the middle of the ring and gets another two count. Austin locks in another submission hold: this time, a bow-and-arrow. Hart reverses out of nowhere and goes for the Sharpshooter! Austin’s legs are hooked but the cunning heel is able to grab the bottom rope at the last second.

This time, it’s Hart with the mounted punches. Hart whips Austin into the ropes and locks in a sleeper hold. Austin rams Hart into the corner and follows it up with a jawbreaker in order to break the hold. Austin then signals for it and locks in the Million Dollar Dream! That’s a move he adopted while being associated with “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. Hart then jumps up, touches the second turnbuckle with both feet and falls back on Austin. Hart with a pinning combination and… he gets the win! What a match we have just witnessed.

Aftermath
This wouldn’t be the last match we saw in between Austin and Hart. In fact, both men would face each other in a Submission Match again at WrestleMania 13 where Hart would turn heel and Austin would turn face during the bout. Also at In Your House: Revenge of the ‘Taker, Austin would defeat Hart by disqualification after interference from the now-deceased British Bulldog. Both men would meet paths again on the April 21, 1997 edition of Monday Night Raw where Austin would injure Hart in a street fight. At In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede, The Hart Foundation (Hart, Jim Neidhart, Owen Hart, British Bulldog and Brian Pillman) would defeat Austin, Ken Shamrock, Goldust and The Legion of Doom (Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal).

If you haven’t watched this match yet, watch it and I guaran-damn-tee that you will not be disappointed. It is a true work of art with the perfect mix of nearfalls, excitement and wrestling. Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart at Survivor Series 1996 was the best Survivor Series match of all time and that’s the bottom line because I said so.

The Greatest Performer in Survivor Series History: The Undertaker (Enigma vs. Enigma)

First published on WrestleEnigma.com

When I think of Survivor Series, I don’t think of Bret Hart. I don’t think of Shawn Michaels. I don’t think of Macho Man. The man that is synonymous with Survivor Series to me is none other than The Undertaker. Undertaker debuted at the 1990 Survivor Series pay-per-view as part of “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase’s team, quickly making an impact after pinning Koko B. Ware one minute and a half into the match. The Undertaker would never get pinned in this match since he would get counted out while going after Dusty Rhodes – a man that The Undertaker eliminated previously with a double sledge off the top rope. The following year at Survivor Series, Undertaker would cement his legacy by capturing his first WWF Championship from Hulk Hogan.

The Undertaker would continue to win at Survivor Series the following year, defeating “The Ugandan Giant” Kamala. The Undertaker would participate in the main event of the 1993 Survivor Series as a part of Lex Luger’s “All-American” team. Undertaker would fare well in this match until he got counted out after brawling with Yokozuna outside the ring. This started the feud for Undertaker’s next Survivor Series match. After losing a casket match at the 1994 Royal Rumble, Undertaker would return at SummerSlam defeating Ted DiBiase’s “Undertaker” (commonly known as “Underfaker”). A rematch in between Yokozuna and Undertaker In a casket match was scheduled as the main event for the 1994 Survivor Series where The Undertaker was victorious.

At the 1995 Survivor Series, Undertaker would be the captain for his own Survivor Series team, coined “The Darkside.” Along with Savio Vega, Fatu (recently known as Rikishi) and Henry Godwinn, The Darkside would defeat King Mabel’s royal team. The Undertaker would be the star of this match, pinning Jerry Lawler, Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Isaac Yankem. “The Phenom” would also scare King Mabel into getting counted out of the match, continuing his dominance. The dominant Undertaker would continue on his path of destruction at the 1996 Survivor Series, defeating Mankind.

Although The Undertaker would not appear at the 1997 Survivor Series pay-per-view, he would appear at the 1998 Survivor Series, competing in two matches. In his first match at Survivor Series ’98, Undertaker defeated his brother Kane after a Tombstone Piledriver. The Undertaker would not be so lucky in his second match, losing against The Rock after interference from his opponent earlier in the night, Kane. The Undertaker, thanks to a groin injury in September of 1999, was not able to compete at the 1999 Survivor Series.

Returning to the Survivor Series pay-per-view in 2000, Undertaker competed against Kurt Angle for the WWF Championship. Although a valiant effort was put on by “The Deadman,” he would come up short in his quest to win the WWF Championship for the fourth time after interference from Eric Angle, Kurt Angle’s brother. In 2001, The Undertaker would face Kurt Angle again at Survivor Series, although this time, Undertaker was on “Team WWF” and Angle was on “Team Alliance.” Undertaker was the fourth man eliminated from this bout, being pinned by his opponent from the previous Survivor Series pay-per-view – Kurt Angle.

After not appearing at the ’02 Survivor Series, Undertaker would return to Survivor Series in 2003, fighting WWE Chairman Vince McMahon in a “Buried Alive” match. Although this was a match made specifically for The Undertaker himself, Undertaker would get buried alive after interference from his brother and old nemesis Kane. This allowed Undertaker to take a brief hiatus from wrestling, but did not make Undertaker miss Survivor Series 2004.

At the 2004 event, Undertaker, once again under the “Deadman” gimmick, would defeat the up-and-coming psychopath Heidenreich after a chokeslam and a Tombstone Piledriver. The Undertaker was written off television at No Mercy 2005 by Randy and Bob Orton, but he would make his historic return at Survivor Series 2005, emerging from a flaming casket and laying waste on most of the SmackDown roster. The Undertaker would put over a young star at next year’s Survivor Series pay-per-view, losing to Ken Kennedy (now known as Mr. Anderson in TNA) in a First Blood match after interference from Kennedy’s then-ally, Montel Vontavious Porter. Undertaker got the last laugh, however, pummeling Kennedy with a chair shot and a–to quote Michael Cole– vintage Tombstone Piledriver.

The Undertaker would once again find himself in the main event at the 2007 Survivor Series, going one-on-one against then-World Heavyweight Champion, Dave Batista. After a grueling match, The Undertaker had Batista beaten after a brutal Tombstone Piledriver on the steel steps but lost after the returning Edge pulled the official out of the ring and hit “The Lord of Darkness” with a con-chair-to on the same steel steps that Undertaker had piledriven Batista on.

The Undertaker would go on to defeat The Big Show at the 2008 Survivor Series in a casket match. This would not be the last time that Big Show and ‘Taker met at a Survivor Series pay-per-view since The Undertaker would face off against Chris Jericho and The Big Show in a triple-threat match for his World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series 2009. After a memorable match and the infamous “I’m from Winnipeg, you idiot!” quote, Undertaker came out victorious.

Although The Undertaker was not able to appear at the 2010 Survivor Series pay-per-view after being buried at the hands of Kane once again, he had already cemented his status as the best performer in Survivor Series history.

I’d like to see you tell me that you don’t remember Undertaker being buried at Survivor Series 2003 or returning from a flaming casket at Survivor Series 2005. The Undertaker’s very debut was at Survivor Series and I would not be surprised if his very end was at Survivor Series. Although you may not notice it now, The Undertaker has given tons of memorable Survivor Series moments. Although The Undertaker would not be as big of a legend as he is today without Survivor Series, Survivor Series would not be considered a “big four” pay-per-view by the WWE Universe if it weren’t for “The Demon of Death Valley.”

Thank you for reading this and if you don’t realize that The Undertaker is the best performer in Survivor Series history, then you might as well rest… in… peace.

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