Growing up, Survivor Series always seemed like a really big deal. My early memories of the show were the big 5-on-5 single elimination matches and the 10-on-ten tag team matches. The visual of so many big superstars, all in their different gimmicks facing off, and the possibility of seeing interactions between wrestlers who you wouldn’t normally see face off was so intriguing. Wrestling is very much a visual medium and these images are very much burned into my memory. As the years went on Survivor Series became more and more intriguing, with the elimination matches complimented by big singles matches. It's also been an event that has had plenty of controversy, which we'll tackle shortly. I am happy to say that WWE 30 years of Survivor Series does plenty to recapture the big moments I remember from Survivor Series events over the years, but also some big moments I had completely forgotten.
The countdown portion of this release is very well done, in a similar fashion to the Countdown specials on the WWE Network. The matches and moments are condensed down to a couple of minutes, edited together to give the gist of the situation and hit on the key moments from the match or interview that night. The selected moments are not the equivalent of one moment per year, but I feel like most of the big things you might expect are here. The Undertaker debuting, and his title win the following year against Hulk Hogan, the debut of The Shield, Randy Orton losing his mind after The Undertaker appeared from a flaming casket (lots of Taker-related moments at Survivor Series), the conclusion of the "Deadly Game" tournament, Stone Cold Steve Austin getting run over, Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar, Owen Hart's incredible performance during the Bob Backlund vs Bret "The Hitman" Hart "I Quit" Match in 1994, Shawn Michaels Elimination Chamber win, and so much more. Obviously the "Montreal Screwjob" is featured prominently, because unfortunately it is tangled up in the history of Survivor Series and they are inextricably linked. However, some twenty years later it would be nice to see WWE begin to think about letting this go, and consigning it to history rather than constantly re-living and rehashing it. Still, I do understand why it is included here, even if I'd rather not see it again. Overall, the selection of moments seems about right on balance, and although some personal favourite moments of mine are left out (nothing from the 1992 or 1993 shows is included for example), you certainly get a sense of how momentous an event Survivor Series has been over the years, and some of the huge happenings that have occurred as part of the "Thanksgiving Tradition". For a show that was launched as two finger sup to Jim Crockett Promotions/NWA and their Starrcade event, it's done quite well really.
The match selection including with this release is vast, and extremely varied, so there is plenty to enjoy. Stand outs for me include the Hogan vs Undertaker match form 1991 (for purely nostalgia reasons, the match is not great) Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs Diesel form 1995, Shawn Michaels vs Sycho Sid from 1996, The Shield & The Real Americans vs Cody Rhodes, Goldust, Rey Mysterio and The Usos from 2013, and The Rock vs Mankind from 1998. I would have liked to see some of the less obvious choices included, perhaps the women’s elimination match form 1995 with the ladies form AJW, The Wildcard match form 1995, or the Elimination Chamber match from 2002, but it is difficult to complain when there are so many good matches included here. A very decent selection overall.
WWE 30 Years of Survivor Series is a really fun release, with lots of cool moments and some excellent matches included in full. All of the material included is available on the WWE Network, but for completionists, and for those who want an easily digestible collection of the biggest moments in Survivor Series history, this is well worth buying.