Was Survivor Series 1996 the best ever version of the event?
By Matty Paddock
Last Updated: 22/11/19 12:53pm
For more than 30 years, Survivor Series has been providing thrills, spills and shocks for the WWE Universe - but are some remembered more than others?
From championship victories to stunning betrayals and unforgettable matches, the November classic has been an unmissable event for decades.
But when many fans think of Survivor Series and the memories associated with it, there are usually some recurring candidates.
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From the very first Survivor Series featuring Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant in the late 1980s, to the 1997 'Montreal Screwjob', many fans have their go-to classics.
Over the course of time, however, one particular Survivor Series is overlooked in that regard - the 1996 vintage, which emanated from Madison Square Garden.
For an event rarely remembered for blockbuster events, it was one that actually provided a number of moments both memorable and pivotal in WWE history.
Here, we profile five reasons why you should check out the 1996 Survivor Series...
The first Bret-Austin classic
The 1997 Wrestlemania meeting between Bret Hart and 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin is rightly remembered as one of the greatest bouts in history - but it wasn't their first high-profile match.
Before the submission match that propelled Austin to the main event scene and expertly turned Hart into a villain, the two wrestled at Survivor Series in 1996.
It was Hart's first match back in WWE after a spell away, with the Hitman hand-picking Austin as his opponent of choice, calling him the "best wrestler" in the company.
The match didn't disappoint - the two traded holds in a thrilling encounter at Madison Square Garden, with Bret narrowly coming out on top. It was clear the two would meet again...
Yokozuna is a WWE Hall of Famer and is regarded as one of the finest big men to ever step into the ring.
Yoko was a former WWE and tag-team champion, who headlined multiple Wrestlemanias - but his appearances at Survivor Series across his career are just as notable.
His feud with The Undertaker arguably began at the 1993 instalment as part of an elimination tag-team bout, with their rivalry culminating a year later at the 1994 Survivor Series that saw martial arts expert Chuck Norris installed as a guest enforcer.
Two years later, Yokozuna's final WWE appearance came at Survivor Series in 1996 - going out with a bang in a mass brawl.
Welcome the Great One
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is, in the eyes of many, simply the biggest WWE star of all time.
A multi-time WWE, intercontinental and tag team champion, the People's Champ enjoyed a storied career in the squared circle before going on to become one of the biggest Hollywood stars of all times.
But when, you ask, did the master of the People's Elbow first arrive on the scene to begin his career as a rookie grappler? You guessed it - Survivor Series 1996.
Rocky was part of an elimination tag team match, teaming with Jake Roberts, Marc Mero and The Stalker, but found himself in a world of trouble near the end of the bout.
Staring down the barrel of a defeat and, no doubt, a beating, he shocked the world by winning the match for his team, overcoming a two-on-one advantage to eliminate both Crush and Goldust to send The Garden wild.
The rest, the say, is history…
A Snuka surprise
We may have seen the emergence of a bright, young superstar at the 1996 Survivor Series - but there was also a surprise of a very different kind.
Yokozuna, Flash Funk and Savio Vega stood primed and ready for action in their tag team match, in the knowledge they had a mystery partner about to make his entrance.
Cue delirium in the Garden, then, when said superstar was announced as newly-inducted Hall of Famer, Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka!
The late, great Snuka had long since retired from regular, active competition in WWE, but returned to the stage of some of his own iconic moments to don the tights one more time.
He was far from a bit-part player in the match, either - he even scaled the top rope to nail Razor Ramon with his trademark splash to eliminate him.
The boyhood dream ends
Shawn Michaels won the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania in 1996, thus realising the dreams of a 10-year-old boy who had longed to be a star in the ring.
The Heartbreak Kid defeated Bret Hart before going on to reign for much of the year, defeating Diesel and Vader along the way.
Michaels' memorable run with the title would come to an end at Survivor Series. He was defeated by Sid, powerbombed into defeat after being distracted after his mentor, José Lothario, was badly hurt at ringside.
It would mark a notable turn in Michaels' career - though he would briefly regain the title at the Royal Rumble two months later, a spell out with injury soon after would see the Heartbreak Kid return as the ultimate degenerate, leading to the formation of D-Generation X.
Survivor Series 1996 - an event so often overlooked - ended with a WWE Championship title change in the main event at Madison Square Garden. Not bad…