Throughout much of the mid-2000's, wrestling traditionalists would routinely panic around this time of year that Vince McMahon's whimsical axe-wielding would finally strike on a pay-per-view that in 2017, will now celebrate its 30th birthday.
The Survivor Series was an idea of its time that somehow stuck around long enough to become part of WWE lore long after the company moved away from servicing its primary concept. Unlike the Royal Rumble, which only developed in stature with the inclusion of a WrestleMania title shot in 1993, the team elimination format required rigid groups of heels and babyfaces with individual conflicts at house shows and television tapings that could be collated.
It made endless hypothetical promises to audiences that then didn't even need to be kept.
The (excellent) inaugral match in 1987 exquisitely bore this out. Bitter enemies Randy Savage and The Honky Tonk Man captained respective units featuring faces and heels that had respective gripes with each other underneath the top rivalry.
On paper, Honky looked finally set to get some comeuppance for his recent wickedness, but he bailed from the contest. It offered Savage scant retribution, but at least gave fans part of what they'd paid to see.
The show couldn't maintain such continuity as the years went by. Generic matches were tacked on, and elimination contests often flattered to deceive.
Most are genuinely grateful that McMahon didn't confine the Thanksgiving tradition to his giant storage warehouse, but there have been certain contests that made a exceptional case for it.