The Bloodline Reigns Supreme at Survivor Series: WarGames

Survivor Series unleashed WarGames upon the WWE Universe at the TD Garden in Boston. The sinister structure bookended the five-match PLE, which included two title bouts. Each WarGames match had two different objectives. The women performed an action-packed affair with weapons galore, and the men focused on telling a specific story.

There were some excellent spots off the top of the cage in the women’s match, including Nikki Cross’ crossbody and Iyo Sky’s moonsault. Damage Control cleverly trapped Bianca Bair in between the two rings with a table. Bayley hit Belair with a Rose Plant on the diamond-plated steel divider. Becky Lynch and Rhea Ripley had a stare-down that got the crowd on their feet.

Other highlights saw Belair throw Bayley into the cage with her KOD finishing maneuver. Becky Lynch scored the win for her team with a leg drop off the top of the cage onto Sky and Kai through a table. The women produced a great WarGames match that entertained everyone, whether or not they were familiar with the concept.

Former Bullet Club leaders squared off as AJ Styles defeated Finn Balor in over 18 minutes. WWE produced a big fight feel for this match, a detailed video package, and long entrances. Michael Cole openly talked about their history in New Japan Pro Wrestling, mentioning titles, matches, and feuds.

Cole’s talking about other wrestling companies gives the broadcast an authentic sports vibe. In 2022, it’s pointless to pretend there is no wrestling outside WWE, and it’s clear Triple H has embraced this philosophy.

As for the match, it was a well-worked professional wrestling encounter. Some will complain about its slow pace or that it wasn’t akin to their wars in a New Japan ring. No one will call it the match of the year, but Styles and Balor put on a show that delivered.

I was rooting for the SmackDown Women’s Title match because I didn’t want to see the awful showing that unfortunately unfolded.

It was a sloppy outing from start to finish, as Rousey and Shotzi had no chemistry with each other. Many of the spots and moves were either botched or almost botched. A rough DDT spot on the apron looked like Rousey and Shotzi were thinking of two different moves.

It was an odd choice having this match on a PLE. Shotzi is not a good wrestler, and I pray she doesn’t slip or fall whenever she jumps off the top rope. The Ronda Rousey who came back at the Royal Rumble is not the same who headlined WrestleMania. She wasn’t a good babyface but a good wrestler. Now, she’s a good heel but has regressed in the ring.

Austin Theory, Seth Rollins, and Bobby Lashley put on a match of the year candidate and arguably the best triple threat match since Angle, Rock, and Taker collided at Vengence 2002. Not one expected a lousy match here, but no one saw the brilliance these three put on display.

Theory won the U.S. Title in an incredible fluke finish. Rollins attempted to hit Theory with his superplex falcon arrow combo. However, Lashley speared Rollins during the transition into the falcon arrow, and Theory fell on top of Rollins to get the pin.

The in-ring aspect of the men’s WarGames match was dull. Team Brawling Brutes didn’t do anything special with the one-person advantage. Butch and Ridge Holland sold too much, and it looked like they took several power naps throughout the match. Things didn’t get good until Roman Reigns came in as the final entrant. Then, the story began to take shape.

Looming over the proceedings was the question; will Sami Zayn turn on The Bloodline, or will The Bloodline turn on Sami Zayn? The twists and turns kept fans guessing until the narrative crescendo saw Zayn land the betraying low blow to his best friend, Kevin Owens. Jey Uso finished Owens with a big splash for a Bloodline victory, and tension began filling the ring. Zayn proved his loyalty, but would The Bloodline do the same in return?

“The Tribal Chief” finally acknowledged the “Honorary Uce” with a hug, making Sami Zayn a made man. Jey Uso co-signed on Reigns’ endorsement as he hugged it out with now welcomed stablemate.

Photo by Michael Piraino

Survivor Series felt special for the first time in nearly a decade. Despite its popularity with diehard fans, many saw WarGames for the first time on Saturday. WarGames was an overall success, but there was a lack of reaction from the live crowd at times. WarGames doesn’t have the cache of other memorable matches, such as Hell in a Cell and the Royal Rumble. It will take time for WWE to ingratiate the concept with fans.

Triple H wouldn’t commit to making WarGames a permanent fixture for Survivor Series at the post-show press conference. Whenever it happens next, WWE should only have one WarGames match per event.

Unlike Money in the Bank, there is no need to have a men’s and women’s WarGames match. Money in the Bank is contested for championship opportunities; therefore, it must be equitable across the roster. WarGames is an intense battle to settle scores.

Sami Zayn is the belle of the ball in WWE. He’s turned a jester-type role into something more substantial than anyone could have predicted. There are several different avenues the company can go with Zayn. Many predict he will eventually make amends with Owens and team with him to challenge The Usos for the tag team titles. Others have suggested that Zayn should be the one to finally dethrone Roman Reigns for the Undisputed Championship.

The Bloodline angle at Survivor Series is the best story WWE has told since the Summer of Punk. While the latter didn’t have a strong conclusion, it’s a good bet the saga of Sami and The Bloodline will have a desirable finale.

Even if two WarGames matches on the same show feel overstrained, WWE deserves props for allowing the card to breathe with only five matches, making the 2022 Survivor Series an amply satisfying show that serves as a turning point in the company’s preeminent story arc.

2022 Survivor Series: WarGames Results – 11/26/22 – TD Garden in Boston, MA

Women’s WarGames Match: Bianca Belair, Becky Lynch, Asuka, Alexa Bliss, Mia Yim defeated Bayley, Dakota Kai, Iyo Sky, Nikki Cross, and Rhea Ripley.

AJ Styles defeated Finn Balor via The Phenomenal Forearm.

SmackDown Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey submitted Shotzi to retain the title.

WWE United States Championship Triple Threat Match: Austin Theory defeated Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley to win the title.

Men’s WarGames Match: The Bloodline (Roman Reigns, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso, Solo Sikoa, and Sami Zayn) defeated Team Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Butch, Ridge Holland, Drew McIntyre, and Kevin Owens) when Jey Uso pinned Kevin Owens.

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