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WWE’s next premium live event is Survivor Series, which is known to the WWE Universe as one of the “big four” shows of the year. Traditionally, WWE pits two teams of five against each other in elimination-style tag-team matchups. However, Triple H announced that this year’s show will feature a men’s and women’s WarGames matchup instead! Regardless of the route to destruction WWE takes, a WarGames match or a traditional five-on-five match are two popular, fan-favorite stipulations that we can’t wait to see again.
Usually, the rivalries leading up to Survivor Series, in addition to the multi-wrestler style of the match, lead to a long contest that sees many near-falls, close calls, and jaw-dropping moments. Throughout WWE's history, the company has tried to keep Survivor Series fresh. Whether it’s by pitting two teams against each other or setting RAW and SmackDown stars on a fight for brand supremacy, Survivor Series matches have a long history of lengthy, competitive, and suspenseful matchups. With that being said, here are the five longest matches in Survivor Series history that left fans on the edge of their seats the entire time.
5. Survivor Series 2002: Elimination Chamber – 39:19
First impressions are important. All six men involved in the first-ever Elimination Chamber match at Survivor Series 2002 not only understood that concept but strived to create the best Chamber match ever.
Mission accomplished, as no Chamber match has ever reached the barbaric heights of the first-ever installment.
The only match on our list that isn’t a traditional Survivor Series elimination match, the first ever Chamber shocked the WWE Universe and blazed a trail for all Chamber matches that followed. RVD, Booker-T, Kane, Triple H, Chris Jericho, and a returning Shawn Michaels all put their bodies on the line in one of the most violent WWE matches in history. The bout lasted 39 minutes and 19 seconds and culminated in Shawn Michaels winning the World Heavyweight Championship after landing a Sweet Chin Music on his former best friend and a legitimately injured Triple H.
The crowd was hot and invested in the sadistic brainchild of Eric Bischoff, which made the match that much more memorable. In the end, though, the match won’t be remembered for its nearly 40-minute length, but for the amazing story that all six men put on.
4. Survivor Series 1988: 20-Man Elimination – 42:12
Most traditional Survivor Series matchups are five-on-five elimination tag team matches. In 1988, however, WWF doubled that number and held a 20-man elimination match. Double the competitors meant double the time as this frenetic bout clocked in at 42 minutes and 12 seconds. There was barely enough room on the ring apron for every team member as the match got underway. The bout featured some of WWF’s most legendary Superstars and tag teams such as Arn Anderson, The Rockers, and Demolition. However, the tandem of The Barbarian and Warlord — better known as The Powers of Pain — were the sole survivors and picked up the monumental victory for their team.
3. Team Cena vs. Team Authority – Survivor Series 2014 – 43:28
Team Cena vs. Team Authority was one of the highest-stakes Survivor Series matchups of all time and also ended with the debut of Sting in WWE. The build to this match was second to none, with The Authority — consisting of Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Kane, Seth Rollins, and their lackeys — abusing their power across the WWE roster. WWE’s ultimate good guy, John Cena, took a stand against The Authority’s abuse of power, challenging them to a classic Survivor Series matchup that pitted good against evil with one caveat: If team Cena lost, every member of his team would be fired except for Cena himself. If team Authority lost, they would be out of power within WWE.
Fans were extremely invested in this storyline and the match, which lasted 43 minutes and 28 seconds and featured 10 of WWE’s best performers at the time. The bout had everything from heel turns and a Dolph Ziggler Cinderella story to wrestling legend Sting’s debut. In the end, Sting helped Dolph Ziggler overcome a three-on-one advantage and pick up the emotional win for Team Cena.
2. Team WWF vs. Team Alliance – Survivor Series 2001 – 44:57
In arguably the most star-studded match in Survivor Series history, Team WWF faced off against Team Alliance in one of the most highly anticipated matches in WWF history at the time. Earlier in the year, wrestlers from ECW and WCW began to jump ship to WWE. They eventually formed a team called The Alliance, which featured some of their top stars at the time, including Steve Austin, Booker-T, Shane McMahon, RVD, and Kurt Angle. In response, WWF strongholds featuring some of the best wrestlers of all time formed Team WWF, made up of The Rock, The Undertaker, Kane, Chris Jericho, and The Big Show.
At that moment, the stage was set for their epic clash at Survivor Series 2001 that lasted 44 minutes and 57 seconds. With the stakes being so high, giving the match 45 minutes to tell their story was key, and the performances of all 10 men lived up to the hype.
In the end, Team WWF prevailed with The Rock as the sole survivor, ending one of the most interesting storylines in the company’s history.
1. RAW vs. SmackDown – Survivor Series 2016 – 52:55
Survivor Series 2016 saw an epic and classic clash between RAW and SmackDown all in the name of brand supremacy. In the midst of a heated brand split, RAW and SmackDown’s best stars in both the men's and women's divisions formed teams to face off against each other. While the women’s match was epic in its own right, the men’s match lasted nearly an hour and had fans in disbelief nearly the whole time. The 52-minute and 55-second classic threw 10 of WWE’s biggest stars in the ring together and, although the match was the longest in the show’s history, it didn’t feel that way at all.
From the in-ring action to the long-term storytelling that saw mini feuds play out during the match, the 2016 Survivor Series main event is everything the WWE Universe is looking for when it comes to Survivor Series matches. High stakes, action-packed, star-studded ... a great success for everyone involved!
You can rewatch every Survivor Series match in WWE history on the WWE Network on Peacock! And tune in to Peacock for Survivor Series: WarGames on Nov. 26.
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