WWE SURVIVOR SERIES WARGAMES 2022 HITS & MISSES: Bloodline vs. McIntyre & Owens & Brawling Brutes, Belair & Becky & Asuka & Bliss & Yim vs. Bayley & Damage Ctrl & Ripley & Cross, US Championship Triple Threat, Ronda vs. Shotzi, Styles vs. Balor

BY FRANK PETEANI, PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR

The Bloodline and Sami Zayn
PHOTO CREDIT: Sami Zayn Twitter

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE SURVIVOR SERIES WARGAMES 2022 HITS AND MISSES
NOVEMBER 26, 2022
BOSTON, MA. AT THE TD GARDEN
AIRED ON PEACOCK, 8:00 p.m. EST, 7:00 a.m. CST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Michael Cole and Corey Graves

Before we get started, I want to say it was a nice “old school” touch to have Cole and Graves standing by the ring to introduce the show rather than sitting at the commentary table.

Women’s WarGames Match; Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair & Alexa Bliss & Asuka & Mia Yim vs. Damage Ctrl (Bayley & Dakota Kai & Iyo Sky) & Rhea Ripley & Nikki Cross
Winner: Bianca Belair & Co. via pinfall when Becky pinned Dakota Kai

The crowd wasn’t hot for the introductions. They were scorching, wow! You can tell there was excitement on the fan’s behalf coming into the show. I’ll have to admit, I’m more for the old school NWA and WCW WarGames matches, but I can enjoy the modern version on a certain level. Action was good to start but did anybody notice Bianca out and out waving on Iyo to come at her on the turnbuckle? I don’t really care as that stuff happens, but it was funny to see although maybe I’m misinterpreting that.

I know the crowd lit up when Nikki threw the garbage can lids and kendo sticks in the ring, and I get why, but can we leave the weapons out of a match that already has a weapon. You know, the double cage? Things got interesting though when she went to the top of the cage. The dive was cool although EVERYONE WAS LOOKING UP TO MAKE SURE THEY WERE IN PLACE. Leave that garbage to the other promotion, please. Back to the weapons I get that everyone gets excited for tables, garbage cans, and ladders. If that’s the case book a TLC match or Extreme Rules or whatever you want to call it. We see so many matches throughout the year with weapons I get numb to them.

On the good side they booked wisely to let Asuka & Iyo have some one-on-one time, so you wonder if there’s a higher-profile singles match in their future. Becky as the final entrant was the way to go. I liked Cole talking about Becky and Bayley’s history in NXT and not just the fact that Damage Ctrl came at her at SummerSlam when they made their “debut”.

Again, why are we standing in place to let Iyo nail her moonsault Bianca & Mia? C’mon!

This wasn’t the smoothest of matches but for some this is their first WarGames, so I’m not going to nit-pick. I’ll be nice.  Becky getting the win in her comeback was the correct call. Dakota did have to lay on the table for an extended time to allow Becky to get to the top for the leg drop but, so that goes. I thought Ripley would be featured a little bit more, but she did have a moment with Becky. I expect them to do business down the line. I can get past my frustrations.

Hit or Miss: Hit

A.J. Styles (of The O.C.) vs. Finn Balor (of Judgment Day)
Winner: Styles via pinfall with the Phenomenal Forearm

Michael Cole is talking about the history of Styles and Balor in Japan. He’s mentioning the Bullet Club? IWGP Champion? Kushida? NXT history? WWE has a long way to go but they are off to a great start with Triple H allowing the commentators to discuss history outside of the WWE bubble. I hated that Vince McMahon would not allow it, and I never understood why he thought it made any sense. It was stupid. STUPID. Ok, my chest is clear now.

It was a little odd to me this match was set up as a one-on-one. I’m not saying they should have done a six-man or even a Survivor Series elimination match, but the latter wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world, and you can save the singles match for a bigger episode of Raw in December (they’re not doing a PLE so why not). Back in the day we watched multiple elimination matches on one card so, don’t complain to me “c’mon Frank there’s two WarGames matches on this card. We don’t need an elimination match.” I know what I watched back in the day, and many people enjoyed it, so it would have been fine. The show is called Survivor Series. Anyway, the match had a blend of good wrestling as you would expect between these long-time greats. Let us not forget they had a big one-on-one five years ago at (I think it was) TLC in October. It was the show where multiple people got sick including Bray Wyatt who was supposed to face Balor.

I know people probably liked the spot where Balor tried the Styles Clash, and I’m not saying don’t like it, but I feel like there are a lot of matches in WWE lately where people are using their opponents’ finishing moves. I could be wrong. I could be thinking of the cult promotion everyone loves mid-week.

I must admit I expect more shenanigans in this match with the O.C. and Judgment Day. They all got involved at ringside but then left. I liked how this was a clean win. Not everything has to be an angle, or a screw finish to set something up. You can have you know, a wrestling match with a clear winner and loser. The loser isn’t buried. It means they lost a match. Balor can come back. It happens. Except for the 1972 Miami Dolphins don’t the eventual Super Bowl Champions lose a few games during the regular season. (Actually, there was one team that was undefeated during the regular season but lost the Super Bowl. That would be the 2007 New England Patriots that lost to the New York Giants baby!)

Hit or Miss: Hit

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (champ)(w/Shayna Baszler) vs. Shotzi
Winner: Rousey via submission.  She hit Piper’s Pit and then applied the armbar.

This match was doomed from the start for me. I understand the focus of the show is on the WarGames matches. You don’t want a big title match to get lost in the shuffle, so this is the card where “lower-end” challengers for lack of a better term get title matches. The crowd felt dead even when Shotzi turned things in her favor.

There were multiple rough spots and they just looked like they had no chemistry. Ronda needs a good worker in her matches and Shotzi is just not that worker. It’s nice that she got a title match and I think it’s unfair to give up on her, but she has a way to go. She didn’t gain anything here in my opinion.

Hit or Miss: Miss

Multiple Backstage Segments: Sami Zayn talks to Roman Reigns, Jey Uso and Roman

There are no better people in the WWE than the Bloodline. What was very underrated was Paul Heyman’s facial expressions in the background when Roman and Sami were talking. Go watch it again if you missed it.

Hit or Miss: Grand Slam HR.

U.S. Championship: Seth Rollins (champ) vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Austin Theory
Winner: Theory via pinfall when Lashley speared Rollins as he was giving Theory the Falcon Arrow.

First, what’s the deal with Franklin Roberto Lashley coming out in Hulk Hogan colors, brother? C’mon man!

This started out as your typical triple threat with one guy selling for a while (Lashley) while Rollins and Theory went at it. Their work was fine, and they worked towards Rollins doing the dive on both guys on the outside. It looked like he missed it, but stuff happens. Him getting the crowd to sing along with his theme is annoying, but this is the modern WWE, and the fans eat that stuff up. Serve them the dish they want, right? The rolling blockbuster on Theory’s part was a cool move, but how many people are going to try the finish from Hart vs. Piper from WrestleMania 8 this year?

The action got good after that, but I don’t like the booking of the finish. If you want a champion to win, put him over by beating the champion it’s that simple. That’s now two straight times the U.S. Championship has changed hands via some type of gimmick or nefarious means. I thought we were trying to build up the title. When Rollins beat Lashley, Lashley was attacked before the match. Here it was clean and by the rules of a triple threat match, but that’s not really the point. They’ve been trying to build Theory up as a more aggressive competitor lately, and technically he did pin the champion, but it was thanks to Lashley hitting the spear. Yes, I get that “it counts” and trust me, my favorite football team has a lot of cheap wins this year, but you can control the outcome in wrestling.

Hit or Miss: Miss

Men’s WarGames Match: Drew McIntyre & Kevin Owens & The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus & Butch & Ridge Holland) vs. The Bloodline (Undisputed Universal Champion Roman Reigns & Undisputed Tag Team Champions The Usos & Solo Sikoa & Sami Zayn)
Winner: The Bloodline

Right off the bat I was put in a good mood when Michael Cole talked about the WarGames match from 1992 when Sting’s Squadron took on Paul E’s (Heyman) Dangerous Alliance. On a personal level I was excited because I reviewed that for Pro Wrestling Then and Now for the Torch over the summer. In addition, it’s huge and really cool that Cole is allowed to say Sting’s name even though he’s working for AEW right now. If you haven’t seen that match, go watch WrestleWar ’92.

This match got very interesting when Roman sent Sami to pair up with Jey Usos to work with Holland and Butch, and more so when Jimmy came out. They started with the weapons as well, which I already complained about with the women’s match. Eventually when Sikoa came in, I like the old school “don’t ram a Samoan’s head because it doesn’t hurt them” from back in the day when Owens rammed him into the cage. They then tied in history with Sikoa and McIntyre, going back to when Sikoa cost him the undisputed championship back at Clash at the Castle.

Let’s be honest we all waited for Roman to get into the ring. Anything that happened before that was just filling time. Now when they did the West Side Story standoff, it felt a little contrived. Everyone is knocked out but suddenly alive on cue. I gotta admit, it’s still a cool spot, so I’ll forgive. You then waited for two things. What would happen between Jey Uso and Sami Zayn, and would Sami cost the Bloodline the match? In addition, does Owens factor in? Well, we got our answer when Sami prevented the referee from counting to three after Owens hit Roman with the Stunner. Later Sami gives him a ball shot and sets up Jey for the splash from the top rope. What’s more is Sami’s acting when he looked conflicted and sad after what he did to his long-time friend Owens, but then celebrates like it’s 1999 with his bloodline “brothers.” That was absolutely tremendous.

I have something to say about the Bloodline being more over than the babyfaces in my closing thoughts. That said, there are still A LOT of stories to be told here Uce. Acknowledge them!

Hit or Miss: Hit

Final Score

Hits 4
Misses 2

Closing Thoughts

I thought Samantha Irvin’s ring announcing was atrocious. She’s over the top, corny, and does nothing to get me excited about the matches. I feel like I’m hearing nails on a chalkboard. Lilian Garcia was never this over the top. Heck I’d bring back Eden Stiles (no don’t bring her back we all know she’s Brandi Rhodes). All the great ring announcers of the past never sounded over the top.

What babyfaces were over to you? To me it was Becky Lynch and that’s it. In the main event it was all about the Bloodline. The crowd was cheering Sami being accepted. Nobody wanted the babyface team to win. Call me old school or a “get off my lawn” guy, but promotions were always at their strongest when there were babyfaces about which the crowd cared. It doesn’t matter now because WWE is a money-making machine, so they don’t care what you and I think, but think back when you were truly excited about watching WWE or any promotion for that matter. The women babyfaces are over (Becky and Bianca for the most part), so maybe that’s what they count on. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I thought about it, so there.

With all of that said the hits have it, this report is adjourned. I guess you won’t be hearing from me until the Royal Rumble for what that’s worth to you. Next week I look back on Survivor Series 1997 for Pro Wrestling Then and Now, so you’ll hear me on the audio side. Until then … keep your head in the clouds … your hands to yourself … and if she says you don’t listen, she’s probably right.

Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!

2 Comments on WWE SURVIVOR SERIES WARGAMES 2022 HITS & MISSES: Bloodline vs. McIntyre & Owens & Brawling Brutes, Belair & Becky & Asuka & Bliss & Yim vs. Bayley & Damage Ctrl & Ripley & Cross, US Championship Triple Threat, Ronda vs. Shotzi, Styles vs. Balor

  1. Cole also name-checked Tegan Nox and Dean Ambrose.
    I thought the live audience was on fire for the main event, and KO in particular was super-over.

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