The 34th annual Survivor Series will take place on Sunday, Nov. 22. As we looked back at the first 33 events, we wanted to find a way to determine the all-time great performers in traditional Survivor Series matches.
Rather than leaning on one category, like most appearances, wins or eliminations, we elected to go for all of the above, and then some. Given his predisposition for digging deep into the numbers as part of ESPN's Stats & Info team, Joey Koontz devised a formula to calculate the top 5 performers in Survivor Series history.
1 point for participating in a match
2 points for eliminating an opponent
-2 points for being the first eliminated in a match
5 points for being a member of the winning team
5 bonus points for being a "survivor" of the winning team
5 bonus points for being the "sole survivor" -- the only remaining member of a winning team.
We did the viewing and the math -- as we have over the last three years -- and here's the top five:
5. Rey Mysterio -- 90 points
Rey Mysterio is the only superstar in WWE history to be a part of the winning team in each of his first five traditional Survivor Series match appearances, and he was a "survivor" for the winning team in three of those matches. Mysterio also eliminated at least one opponent in six of his seven match appearances.
As of this writing, Mysterio won't be competing in a traditional Survivor Series match in 2020. However, Team SmackDown still has an open spot on its men's team.
4. Ultimate Warrior -- 93 points
While he only competed in four Survivor Series matches, no one has a more consistent history in this match than Ultimate Warrior. He was a perfect 4-0, tied with The Undertaker and Randy Savage for the most wins without a loss in Survivor Series history. If Warrior's initial WWE run hadn't lasted just five years, he would have moved up this list in a hurry.
What's more impressive is that Warrior was a survivor for the winning team in all four matches. On top of that, he was a sole survivor three times, tied for most in Survivor Series history.
The one instance where Warrior wasn't a sole survivor? In 1990, he and Hogan both survived the previously-mentioned "Ultimate Survivor" match, a bout that would end up being his final Survivor Series appearance.
3. Shawn Michaels -- 100 points
Longevity alone earned Shawn Michaels the No. 3 spot on this list. Michaels has competed in 11 traditional Survivor Series matches, tied for the most in WWE history.
Michaels' five wins in Survivor Series matches are tied for most in the history of the match, and he was a survivor of the winning team in three of those victories (1995, 2006 and 2008). Only Ric Flair had two instances of surviving a Survivor Series match occur farther apart than Michaels, doing it in 1991 and 2006.
Michaels' best Survivor Series match performance may have been in 2006 (20 points), a staggering 18 years after making his Survivor Series debut. Michaels eliminated two opponents (Mike Knox and Edge), and his sweet chin music on Randy Orton led to Triple H earning the final elimination and giving Team DX the clean sweep victory over Team Rated RKO.
2. Big Show - 102 points
While Big Show doesn't have a stellar win-loss record in his 19-year WWE tenure, his eight wins at Survivor Series are his most at any pay-per-view event, including five wins in traditional Survivor Series matches.
Big Show has 13 career Survivor Series eliminations, second most in WWE history.
The highlight of Big Show's Survivor Series career came in his first appearance in 1999. After attacking his teammates prior to the event, he defeated Big Boss Man, Prince Albert, Mideon and Viscera in a 1-on-4 handicap Survivor Series match in less than two minutes. That earned him 27 points according our formula, a total only surpassed by Roman Reigns in 2013 (29) and Aja Kong in 1995 (29).
However, Big Show may remember the 1999 Survivor Series for another reason: he went on to defeat Triple H and The Rock in the main event to win his first WWE championship.
1. Randy Orton - 130 points
Formulas and metrics aren't necessary to know that Randy Orton is one of the all-time greats at Survivor Series. However, after crunching the numbers, Orton finishes a full 28 points ahead of Big Show. That is a bigger gap than between Big Show and eighth place Tito Santana (21-point difference).
Orton was the sole survivor for the winning team in each of his first three career Survivor Series matches in 2003-05. If you take the points that he earned in those three matches (73), that alone would have tied him in 10th place on this list.
Orton was a survivor for the winning team five times, the most in Survivor Series history. Additionally, Orton has eliminated a Survivor Series-record 16 opponents -- 13 of which are former WWE world champions.
As of the Tuesday before the event, Orton is not on the card for this year's event after losing his WWE Championship to Drew McIntyre on Monday Night Raw. However, the WWE Universe should know to never sleep on the "Viper", especially at Survivor Series.