Hello everyone. It’s quite interesting time in professional wrestling and for the wrestling tournament. It’s quite bizarre how this works considering most of these were planned far in advance. TNA has had their World Title Series for the last five weeks, ROH has their annual Survival of the Fittest tournament next weekend and of course WWE has Survivor Series and the crowning of a new WWE champion November 22 in Atlanta.

Now in regards to Survivor Series, WWE is basically during this out of necessity. Seth Rollins injury came out of nowhere and the interest trying to make the best of a bad situation. Many have drawn correlation between the other Survivor Series tournament in 1998 entitled “Deadly Games”. While the venue, concept and time of year all lineup these two events will be totally different from one another and a lot of substantial ways. For the last few days, I’ve been revisiting the build to the 1998 fall classic. And truth be told it’s one of the most nostalgic periods in WWF’s history. Don’t believe me. Check this out. During the period after WWF Breakdown to Survivor Series where the company did not have a champion, all this stuff happened:

Steve Austin driving the Zamboni into the arena and attacking Vince.
The Brothers of Destruction destroy Vince’s ankle after being screwed by the boss.
Steve Austin attacks Vince in the hospital hitting the Chairman in the head with a bedpan and violating him with an IV after using shock paddles.
Stone Cold with the cement truck destroying Vince McMahon’s Corvette
Vince McMahon getting held hostage by Steve Austin leading to him peeing his pants
The Birth of Mr. Socko and the modern-day Mick Foley character.
The start of The Brood (Edge, Christian and Gangrel)
The birth of The McMahon family storyline with the introduction of Shane as an integral character.
The Big Boss Man returns to WWF as Vince McMahon’s head of security.
The beginning of the Corporate Team storyline
The rise of The Rock from the mid-card to the main event
The birth of the Hard-Core Title
Debra debuts with Jeff Jarrett
The Mark Henry-Chyna storyline which saw the birth of Sexual Chocolate
Al Snow and Head become hugely popular after the stooges attempt to get him out of WWF.
Ken Shamrock wins his first Intercontinental title in a one-day tournament defeating X-PAC in the finals who had been had his leg, shoulder and was almost blinded by Jeff Jarrett with a guitar.
European champion X-PAC is attacked by The Real Man’s Man Steven Regal and left in a piling heap
Undertaker admits to burning down the family home with Kane inside; reuniting with Paul Bearer

And there was more. These are just the most notable moments of the two month period between September and November 1998 in which the tournament took place. This is a product of the time in the battle of WCW of one upping your opponent. I just want to make it clear that everyone had momentum going into Survivor Series. And while I don’t really like his booking philosophy Vince Russo does deserve some credit for this. Everybody on the 98 roster felt important having an direction. Even Al Snow had forward momentum. There was a downside to all this however. With all these moving pieces nothing really gets focused on for any length of time. At the 1998 Survivor Series, there were over 10 matches in the tournament the longest of which doesn’t go more than 15 minutes. A lot of this makes some talent look weaker in retrospect. But the product was so hot at the time that fans didn’t really care.

Looking at this modern-day roster you don’t really feel like many have the same forward thrust. And given that the main event roster seems a little thin. They’re going to have a lot to work on their hands to get someone ready.

Sure. Roman Reigns looks to be the guy. However I think the Samoan Superman needs to chase a little more. Some are predicting that Roman will do what his cousin The Rock did siding with corporate overlords. The difference between The Rock and Roman was that The People’s Champion was a heel getting over with the crowd and they needed to align him with Vince. Roman still has to win over the crowd in a lot of ways. He is getting there but not yet. What made the Rock thing work was the set up of Mick Foley as a patsy. Everything had a chance to be built and set up. And while I think looking at it from a logic standpoint a lot of the stuff does make any sense. They did their best to connect the dots.

I personally would like to see the relinquishing of the evil owners storyline. But I know that highly unlikely. So who should be their new corporate pet? I think Kevin Owens makes the most sense. Although if you want to you could have Finn Balor be the new Prince of the Authority? Or Dean Ambrose turn on Roman in the finals for ultimate shock value. All this being said no one knows who is going to be in the actual tournament. So as I write this , this is wishful thinking. But one thing’s for sure you don’t need to do a 16 man tournament this time. Mainly because you don’t have enough credible stars to gain interest. And you want to give the matches time to breathe and really get over the talent involved as you need to rebuild from the bottom to the top. Plus this will give the show more matches than just the tournament. I find it ironic that the sponsor of the 1998 Survivor Series is Nestlé Crunch while 2015 is sponsored by Rolaids. Because Vince and the creative team has to be dealing with ulcers right now. A sign of the times. Hopefully with all this turmoil and change something new and great will come out of this in the company will be stronger going forward. Because it’s when your back is against the wall that you get the most creative. It happened during the Attitude Era when they had a strong base of talent to build from internally. And the same is true now so we may be on the verge something great. It’s really a shame that it had to come on the injuries of others. But that’s what Vince needed to get him out of his comfort zone.

1998 Survivor Series was perhaps one of the pinnacles of the Attitude Era in the 2015 edition of Survivor Series has the chance to be the new standard of the modern era.

About The Author

Dan is host of Shooting from the Hip which you can hear every Sunday at 8pm EST, 7pm CST right here on PWpop.com.