Wrestling Review: WWE Survivor Series: War Games (2022)

When the countdown hits zero and the siren sounds, there is only one option: War Games. For the first time ever in WWE history, ten men and ten women from Raw and Smackdown will see the inside of one cage surrounding two rings at the 2022 edition of WWE Survivor Series. In the main event, the undefeated, undisputed WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns leads the Bloodline — his cousins, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa, alongside the Honorary Uce, Sami Zayn — against the hard hitting quintet of Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, Sheamus, Ridge Holland and Butch. Also on the card, Team Damage CTRL — Bayley, Iyo Sky, Dakota Kai, Nikki Cross and Rhea Ripley — battle the less cohesive but just as dangerous team of Bianca Belair, Asuka, Alexa Bliss, Michin Mia Yim and the returning Becky Lynch inside the dangerous steel structure. Meanwhile, two champion matches will take place at the event, as firstly Seth Rollins defends his United States Championship against two former champions, and the two most recent to hold the gold, Bobby Lashley and Austin Theory; Ronda Rousey will also be in action as she faces Shotzi for the WWE SmackDown Women’s title. Finally, for only the second time ever in the WWE, AJ Styles and Finn Balor will go one-on-one inside the squared circle as the heads of The OC and The Judgement Day collide. With Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows on the outside backing up AJ, and Dominik Mysterio and Damien Priest standing by Balor, things could get heated very quickly.

+ Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens & The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Ridge Holland & Butch) vs The Bloodline (Roman Reigns, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa & Sami Zayn) (War Games Match): I really wanted this to be great, but it just felt so sterile. Firstly, the good guys having the advantage never really makes much sense to me, but they could have at least worked around that if they wanted to. Secondly, none of the good guy team felt like they were anywhere close to the level of star that Roman, and even Sami are. Drew, Gunther and Owens should all have been viable threats to win the match at any time (once the match officially begun, obviously) but they all just seemed like bit players. This was good, but not at all anything special
+ Seth Rollins (c) vs Austin Theory vs Bobby Lashley (United States Championship): this was really, really good, and reminded me of that Seth/Cena/Lesnar triple threat from the Royal Rumble some years ago, with Lesnar and Cena being played by Lashley and Theory, respectively, in what I might suggest is hardly a coincidence. I’d go so far as to say this was the match of the show from an in ring standpoint, and even the last few weeks/months of build, even if Austin Theory getting a title match didn’t make much sense
+ AJ Styles (w/ Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) vs Finn Balor (w/ Dominik Mysterio & Damien Priest): I still can’t wrap my head around Michael Cole referencing things from outside of the WWE, such as the Bullet Club or even Apollo 55 by name. This was fantastic, and I really enjoyed it, but I can admit it never managed to kick into that ‘big match’ zone. I am reminded of Styles/Nakamura from Wrestlemania a few years ago, in which is was technically incredibly well done, but just lacked any real build up or emotion in the match itself
+ Team Belair (Bianca Belair, Asuka, Alexa Bliss, Michin Mia Yim & Becky Lynch) vs Team Damage CTRL (Bayley, Iyo Sky, Dakota Kai, Nikki Cross & Rhea Ripley) (War Games Match): I can never get over how backwards some of these matches are; the whole point of the advantage order is that the good guys should be in peril until their help arrives. Mia Yim, Ripley and Nikki Cross were my personal favourites of the match, but it was nice to see Becky and Bayley finally interacting properly again. There were a few sloppy moments here, and I thought Dakota, Bianca and Bayley all looked hurt at a few points, but overall I think it was a lot of fun. I was surprised at who was doing al of the big highlights, but I suppose WWE didn’t want to have all of the former NXT talent no longer with the company in al of the promo videos

Ronda Rousey (c) vs Shotzi (Smackdown Women’s Championship): this was not good. Ronda is simply not good enough to lead someone as wild, and reckless as Shotzi, and the match suffered for it. My theory is Shotzi was not the planned opponent, but god forbid we have to sit through another Ronda/Liv Morgan match

> ring announcer Samantha Irvin was at her guttural best for both the War Games matches. I really enjoyed it
> the confined nature of the War Games matches, and when regular matches take place in one of two side0by-sude rings, means that the cameras are often only inches from the competitors, which means you can very often hear them speaking to their opponents. I find it fascinating

Should you watch this event: Overall this was a good show, but it never felt like a great show. Neither of the War Games matches felt big or even meaningful, and didn’t reach even the level of even the NXT War Games matches. I truly wanted to like Styles/Balor, but it just never clicked, and the two title matches were seemingly just there as filler, as good as the triple threat ended up being.

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