The original concept for the Survivor Series was to have an annual pay-per-view event that focused on tag team wrestling. Another contributing factor to the birth of the Survivor Series was to capitalize on the big time feud between Hulk Hogan and André the Giant, who wrestled each other at WrestleMania III. Additionally, the WWF had several "elimination" tag-team matches earlier in 1987, albeit with three-man teams and the feuds loosely related.
The Survivor Series was originally created to be a "Thanksgiving tradition" as the first four Survivor Series events took place on Thanksgiving Day in November. After four years of taking place on Thanksgiving Eve following that, Survivor Series moved to a more-traditional Sunday PPV date.