Wednesday, November 30, 2022

WWE Survivor Series 2022 - WARGAMES!

Yeah, I'm not going to spend too much time on this one. But the big selling point for this show was the proper WWE debut of WARGAMES, after a couple years of being largely an NXT deal. And of course, we've got a men's Wargames and a women's Wargames. Not because storylines dictate it, but because the marketing says so. Still, this should be a fun watch and if nothing else, I'm just happy I could watch a Survivor Series show that isn't about the whole brand supremacy thing that nobody outside of WWE or its most hardest of hardcore fanatics could give two fucks about.

Quick thoughts after the break.

The babyface team of Bianca Belair, Asuka, Alexa Bliss, Mia Yim (or Michin or whatever her name is this week), and the returning Becky Lynch and her silly outfits defeated the heel team of Damage Ctrl (Bayley, Dakota Kai, Iyo "Io Shirai" Sky), Nikki Cross, and Rhea Ripley in the women's wargames match when Lynch pinned Kai after a top-of-the-cage drop kick through a table. This was a spotfest, pure and simple. The ladies went in, did some moves, brought in some weapons (sigh), and eventually finished the match with an insane move off the top of the cage. Cool, what a move. Why should I care about any of this? It's just a bunch of moves, there's some passing references to current feuds and even past feuds (Nikki still being bitter about Alexa going shit fiend on her years ago is a nice touch), but beyond that, this is just a thing to give the women a Wargames match because that's what was advertised. It's a fun spotfest if you want to see spots in a double cage, but as a Wargames match, it leaves much to be desired. This feels less like a blood feud and more like a bunch of girls bouncing around in a jungle gym. Hence the header. Better luck next time.

AJ Styles defeated Finn Balor in a pretty good match. Simple idea; two great workers get together and have a great little match. Despite the presence of Styles' boyz and Falor's Judgment Geeks, there was minimal interference and the finish was actually clean. Imagine that.

Smackdown Women's Champion Ronda Rousey defeated Shotzi via submission to retain the title. The only noteworthy thing about this match was that Shotzi did a dive onto a bunch of stunt people in the audience in a pretty cool looking visual. That's about all this had; the end result was never in doubt, Shotzi never looked like a threat, and Ronda is about as cold as she can be... that is, she is visibly bored and looks like someone who would rather be anywhere else be here. Maybe Shayna could build her passion, but somehow I doubt it.

Austin Theory defeated United States Champion Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley to win the title in another pretty good match. I thought they did a good job in giving Theory some edge that he had been sorely missing these past few months and proves that having him lose that briefcase weeks ago was the best thing to happen to him. Theory pinning Rollins after a Lashley spear didn't feel like a steal, but like someone who was working smarter than faster. We'll see if it gets anywhere, but this is the first time that I can see some potential in Austin Theory rather than roll my eyes at the claim.

The Bloodline (Roman Reigns, Usos, Sami Zayn, and that Solo guy) defeated The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and "Brute"), Drew McIntyre, and Kevin Owens in the Wargames after Sami stopped Owens from pinning Roman and then kicking KO in the balls after KO blocked a Superkick from Jey, who then finishes KO with a top-rope splash for the winning pinfall. Unlike the women's match, this Wargames had a story behind it and the ending wasn't entirely in doubt; I say that because you figured the Bloodline would win with the babyfaces going over in the women's match, but this was five guys having their grievances with the Bloodline for some time and the loyalty of Sami Zayn brought into question. It's a perfect way to move forward what may very well be WWE's first genuinely great storyline in years while also bringing some other stuff into the mix. On that note alone, this Wargames was compelling.

With that said, both matches have a couple problems; the overabundance of weapons and the extended match times. Wargames should typically last less than 30 minutes; have all your guys come in one by one and then a few minutes of action before the conclusion rolls around. This feels like people needing to get their shit in for the sake of it rather than trying to tell a story of sorts; a problem more prevalent in the women's match than the men's. Also, on that same note... why the fuck do we need weapons in Wargames? So that we don't do blood? Is that how we're going to do Wargames going forward? Isn't the cage enough of a weapon? I feel it should be.

All in all, this is a damn fine show. Both wargame matches delivered the goods to varying degrees and the underneath stuff was also top notch stuff as well. This might've been better than the Clash At The Castle show from a few months back and I'm genuinely excited about what's to come in WWE, which is a feeling that I've not had for this company in YEARS. Maybe McSon-In-Law running the show is best for business, after all.

Hey, as long as they keep delivering bangers like this one, I ain't going to complain.

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