I’ll Review Anything: WWE’s Survivor Series: WarGames (2022)

Hiya!

It looks like Triple H has just made the biggest change in the WWE since taking control over the creative side of the company. This year’s Survivor Series has co-opted the WarGames match. This means we didn’t have your traditional 5-vs-5 tag elimination match we usually have each year. Instead, we have this monstrosity that’s called WarGames, where two teams battle it out in two rings, all enveloped in a steel cage. Each team will send out incrementally until all participants are in the giant cage. That’s the only time when the match really starts. There’s no disqualifications. There’s no escaping the ring. Anything goes. First team to get a pinfall or submission wins everything for their team.

While WarGames isn’t exactly a new match as it’s been done in NXT for several years already, this is the first time the main roster will take part in it. It also appears WarGames might be a permanent thing now, totally removing the original Survivor Series match from WWE’s slate of matches. However, I guess that all depends on if this is a success. So, let’s go check out the first ever Survivor Series: WarGames show.

The first match of the night was the Woman’s WarGames bout. This had the team of Bianca Belair, Asuka, Alexa Bliss, Mia Yim and a returning Becky Lynch to take on Rhea Ripley, Nikki Cross, Bayley, IYO SKY and Dakota Kai. As this was the official first WarGames match to be featured on the main show, my expectations were high and this didn’t disappoint. Lots of good storytelling early on with the heel team using the number advantage as well as a variety of weapons to get the upper hand. There were several really neat spots, like IYO SKY walking on the top ropes in between the rings to hit a missile dropkick to Bianca Belair, Nikki Cross hellacious crossbody from the top rope into everyone and even Asuka stopping a rampaging Rhea Ripley with poison mist, something we haven’t seen her do in quite a while.

I will admit the finish was disappointing to me. Basically, Belair and Becky Lynch went on a tear. Belair tried to hit her KOD on Dakota Kai but Kai flips to her feet only to eat a Manhandle Slam from Becky Lynch. The Man then tried to hit a Manhandle Slam on IYO SKY but The Genius of the Sky escaped but got hit by The EST’s KOD. Belair then stacks SKY and Kai on top of a table, allowing Lynch to climb to the top of the ladder. Bayley tried to interfere but Belair hits her with a KOD into the cage wall. Lynch completes her ascent and connects with a legdrop from the top of the cage. Lynch then covers Kai to get the pinfall victory for her team.

The match itself was good but there were some odd spots, like Cross handcuffing Bliss only for Bliss to take the other end of the cuffs to hook into Cross. Mia Yim also came off like an afterthought as she didn’t really contribute much to the match. The same could also be said for Alexa Bliss, who really did not do much as well. The reason why I found the finish disappointing was because it was Kai who ate the pin and not Bayley. Getting the pin on Bayley, the leader of Damage CTRL would have felt much more satisfying. Other than these issues, this was a good WarGames match and a good harbinger of what could be done with the chaotic nature of the bout.

The next match had AJ Styles take on Finn Balor. I expected a lot from this match because both competitors are really talented in the ring. Combined that with the fact both their respective factions, the OC and The Judgement Day, were going to be at ringside, I expected a lot of shenanigans. So, imagine my surprise when, during the middle of the match, everyone at the outside brawled in the audience area, never to be seen again. This then became a clean mano-a-mano bout.

The finish was kind of abrupt for me. After Balor forced Styles to break a Calf Crusher by banging his head into the mat, a slugfest ensued, with The Phenomenal One getting the upper-hard with a step-up enziguri. He charged at Balor but the Prince reversed it by sending Styes into the gap in-between the two rings and hit him with a big kick. Styles then countered with a forearm shot then launched into a Phenomenal Forearm, stunning his foe enough to get the pinfall victory.

This was a pretty good match but nothing really exceptional. The action was really good all throughout but never really hit the fevered pitch I expected it to be. It was also disappointing that both the OC and The Judgement Day’s faction members just disappeared. I guess this is mostly because I had too high expectations but I can still recognize that it was, overall, a more than decent match.

The next match saw Ronda Rousey, accompanied by Shayna Bazzler defend her Smackdown Women’s Championship against Shotzi. I can’t say I was looking forward to this match because there was no way Shotzi could take out Rousey at this point in time. Even if that were the case, I was hoping this to be, at the very least, entertaining. It wasn’t all that entertaining, sadly. The only really fun spot was when Shotzi hit a crossbody to Rousey and Bazzler in the crowd, sending all of them into a couple of “fans” seating at ringside. I can’t wait for 10 years from now when Internet sleuths realize one of the “fans” is the current WWE Intercontinental Champion or the latest guy to go to AEW. Mark my words, it’s going to happen!

The finish occurred after the aforementioned spot. Shotzi rolled Rousey back in the ring and then she tried to climb the top turnbuckle. The Badest Woman on the Planet beat her to it and hurled her down with an avalanche judo throw. Rousey went for the pin but Shotzi kicked out. Rousey then connected with her Piper’s Pit slam and comboed it into a modified armbar. Shotzi has no choice but to tap out and Ronda Rousey successfully defends her Smackdown Woman’s Championship.

I know it’s mean to call this match boring but, to me, it was. Shotzi didn’t stand a chance and Rousey basically dominated the majority of the bout. There were also some sloppy points, like when Rousey reveresed a top rope crossbody into a judo slam. This could’ve been cool if it was clear what happened. There were some neat storytelling poins, like Bazzler saving Rousey from a suicide dive. However, I just wasn’t enthused by the match at all. Sorry.

The penultimate match for Survivor Series: WarGames was a Triple Threat bout for the United States Championship. This had Seth “Freakin'” Rollins defend the title against Bobby Lashley and Austin Theory. I was really impressed with the action here as everyone did get to show off their stuff. Bobby Lashley looked like a force of nature, destroying both Seth Rollins and Austin Theory. Theory was able to showcase his athletic ability and his newfound attitude. Seth Rollins was, well, Seth Rollins. What really made this Triple Thread match different from the others which came before it is how much all three participants were in it. It wasn’t the usual “I’ll hang outside until I need to break up a pin” type of deal. Most of the time, everyone was in the ring doing something and that’s really something.

The finish came after Rollins took out Lashley with a curb stomp by using Austin Theory as a jumping off platform. Theory tried to capitalize and throw Rollins outside but The Architech countered. Theory climbed to the top but was met by Rollins. Rollins then hit a superplex to The Now and then tried to transition into his falcon arrow trademark but Lashley speared him while Rollins was hoisting Theory into the air. This had Theory land on top of Rollins and he got the pinfall victory before Lashley could recover enough to make the cover himself. Austin Theory is now your NEW United States Champion!

This was a banger of a match. I love how everyone managed to stay involved and everyone contributed to the overall flow of the match. Everyone looked incredibly strong here and no one came off as weak by the end. So far, this was definitely the match of the night.

The final match of the night was the men’s WarGames bout which had The Brawling Brutes, Drew McIntyre and Kevin Owens taking on the entire Bloodline. Despite Roman Reigns being part of the match, this wasn’t really about him. This was more about Sami Zayn.Throughout the night, we got to see some of the backstage drama involving Sami Zayn and the tension if he was loyal to the Bloodline or not. It also looked like the entire match revolved around this and I’m glad it did! Most of the drama here was all about Sami Zayn and it was interesting, especially when Reigns forced Zayn to save Jey Uso, who had been against having the Honorary Uce into the family in the first place.

That’s not to say there weren’t any good spots as there were a lot of those. Things like Solo Sikoa shrugging off several superkicks done to him by Kevin Owens. Kevin Owens tossing chairs into the Usos. Sheamus delivering a White Noise slam to Solo from the second rope. The Usos hitting a 1D double team to Butch from the second turnbuckles. The synchronized 10 Beats of the Bodhran forearm strikes to every member of the Bloodline. This was all well and good but the main focus was still on Sami Zayn.

They even tried to swerve the fans into thinking that Sami Zayn would go against his team after Jey accidentally hit him with a superkick. However, Zayn stuck in there and stayed loyal. The finish basically saw him proving it after Kevin Owens, who tried to convince his former friend to leave the Bloodline, hit Roman Reigns with a pop-up powerbomb. Owens went for the pin but as the referee was about to count to three, Zayn swooped in and stopped his hand from hitting the mat. The two started arguing and Jimmy tried to blindside KO with a superkick but Owens blocked it. This left him wide open so Sami Zayn struck Owens with a low blow. Zayn then hit his Helluva Kick to Owens but didn’t go for the pin. Instead, he offered Owens up to Jey, who hit KO with a samoan splash to win WarGames for the Bloodline.

The action was good but it was the storytelling of the match that made it great. All the emotion stemming from a great buildup and culminating to this moment where he’s finally accepted by each and every member of the Bloodline, including the last remaining holdout, Jey Uso, put this match over the top. I will say there were some spots, like Drew unceremoniously slamming Jimmy Uso through a table, which felt unnecessary. However, these moments don’t take away from how fantastic the storytelling was.

Overall, I will say the first Survivor Series: WarGames pay-per-view was an unmitigated success. The only weak match was the one for the Smackdown Women’s Championship because we all knew what was going to happen. Everything else, however, was really great. If each WarGames match are up to this caliber then I don’t think I’ll miss the “original” Survivor Series show.

Byee!

What did you think of Survivor Series: WarGames? Do you think they should keep it or revert back to the original 5 vs 5 elimination tag match? Let me know in the comments section below!

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s