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FINALLY! FINALLY! FINALLY! Survivor Series is rid of the lazy, useless, nonsensical, rivalry-disruptingly random Raw vs. Smackdown rubbish, in favour of team based, narrative driven matches and not only that but the main roster WWE debut for the iconic WarGames match. A match that originated in WCW but came over to WWE in Triple H’s NXT a few years back. So in absence of William Regal being here to say it (for now), welcome everyone to “WARGAMES”.
Here’s how the last Premium Live Event of 2022 went…
The opening video bigged up the modern day WarGames match and had Ozzy Osbourne himself opening things by welcoming us to War Games, all backed by “War Pigs”. A thing of beauty if you ask me.
1. WarGames Match
Team Belair (Bianca Belair, Alexa Bliss, Asuke, Mia Yim, Becky Lynch) vs. Team Bayley (Bayley, Dakota Kai, Iyo Sky, Nikki Cross, Rhea Ripley)
This opening WarGames match leaned more into the spots-based nature of the match (should you choose), which did result in some unfortunate botches here and there but everyone involved worked hard to bring it around and in the end the match worked as a good start to the show. Belair continues to look damn near unstoppable as champ, and I’m really not sure who will dethrone her, and Becky made a triumphant comeback here hitting a Double Diving Lep Drop on Kai and Sky through a table and pinning Kai to win the match for Team Belair. Other standouts were Rhea Ripley (who is getting close to being a Chyna figure of the modern era) and Nikki Cross, whose feral character work is really engaging in this new return to her manic roots as a performer.
Backstage, Jey Uso takes his Sami concerns to The Tribal Chief Roman Reigns, as he believes – after he spoke with Kevin Owens and lied about it – that Sami will screw The Bloodline tonight. Reigns states he’ll take care of it, asking his wise man Paul Heyman to get him Sami Zayn. This Zayn stuff has really refreshed The Bloodline angles.
2. Finn Balor (with Damian Priest and Dominik Mysterio) vs. AJ Styles (with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson)
I’ll be the first to say it, this match was really rather refreshing. I expected Judgment Day shenanigans, a return of some sort, or some kind of screwy finish, but the ringside associates fought out of focus a little way into the match, leaving us with a good old fashioned wrestling match here and it was a good one. Admittedly not as good as their previous PLE encounter at TLC 2017 but a great match overall, good, simple, sturdy, wrestling from these two with a clean as a sheet and long overdue PLE victory (his first one-on-one since ) for AJ Styles, thanks to that trusty Phenomenal Forearm.
3. WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Shotzi
Hands down the weakest match on the card and frankly I’d have rather seen the Bray Wyatt and LA Knight match we all expected would happen in this spot, or even The Miz and Dexter Lumis have their great Anything Goes match here instead of the following Monday on Raw. No disrespect to Shotzi but there was not a chance in hell she was winning here and – like the messy Liv Morgan matches – all this scrappy affair did was show that Rousey needs genuine threats, and this division has few of them. They tried but a botched apron spot only added to the whole thing’s card-filler nature and again, this spot should have gone to a more interesting rivalry or angle instead. Rousey wins with the Cross Armbar by submission.
Zayn meets with Reigns and explains himself regarding Kevin Owens, he is honest and reiterates his loyalty to The Bloodline as Reigns accepts his words. We’ll see what happens.
4. WWE United States Championship Triple Threat Match
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Austin Theory
Wrestling wise, this was probably the match of the show, as it got going straight off the bat and never stopped. Every guy had an equal chance of victory here and this was another match that – in absence of Raw having a main card champion due to the undisputed unified belts – made the historic US Championship carry that bit more prestige. It was a proper scramble and at the climax, the new and improved Theory lucked his way into a pinfall win as he fell on Rollins mid-Falcon Arrow, when Lashley speared Seth, leaving Theory the chance to get his belt back and redeem that Money in the Bank embarrassment weeks back.
Jey asks Roman about Zayn, Roman says he looked into his eyes and saw what he needed.
5. WarGames Match
The Bloodline (Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn, Solo Sikoa, Jimmy and Hey Uso) vs. Team Brute (Sheamus, Drew McIntyre, Ridge Holland, Kevin Owens, Butch)
Many big things could have happened in this match, but of them all I guess the most obvious outcome was for a Bloodline win, but what shape would it take? Well, it took a rather poignant one actually. As sacrilegious as some might think this is to say, the match itself was not really much to write home about, brawling, multi-man stuff, with not too many huge spots to recall. However, what was prioritised was the story, and for that IO really applaud them. Because the match ended, after multiple teases either way with Zayn affirming his loyalty to The Bloodline, saving Roman and hitting a low blow and Helluva Kick on his former mate. Leaving Jey the chance to hit a Flying Uce for the win. After the match The Bloodline embraced Sami as one of their own and Hey – the most critical of his from the start – hugged him in celebration. Zayn is all in at the cost of his soul. Good story, well told.
Overall, Survivor Series WarGames was a very strong show, good wrestling and matches barring one time waster. But I will likely not remember the event for anything more than its ending, and that is the way WWE wanted it. They have put it all into this and as The Bloodline win again, we are being forced to ask who will dethrone and vanquish the One’s? Well, I say god knows how this all ends and/or stops, but we’ll get a clearer vision undoubtedly heading towards January. Next stop the most wonderful time of the year for a WWE fan, it’s the Royal Rumble 2023, and if even half of the rumours are to be believed, it is set to be a banger of a show (let’s hope we don’t repeat 2022’s utter letdown of an offering).