Survivor Series WarGames

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Survivor Series WarGames
Survivor Series WarGames 2022 Poster.jpeg
PromotionWWE
Brand(s)Raw
SmackDown
DateNovember 26, 2022
CityBoston, Massachusetts
VenueTD Garden
Attendance15,609 (disputed)[1]
WWE Network event chronology
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Survivor Series WarGames was the 36th annual Survivor Series professional wrestling pay-per-view and livestreaming event produced by WWE. It was held for wrestlers from the promotion's Raw and SmackDown brand divisions. The event took place on Saturday, November 26, 2022, at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. It was the fourth Survivor Series to be held in Boston after the 1993 (at the original Boston Garden), 2008, and 2013 events. It was also the first Survivor Series to take place on a Saturday and the first since the 1994 event to not take place on a Sunday.

Unlike the Survivor Series events from 2016 to 2021, the 2022 event was not themed around Raw versus SmackDown for brand supremacy. Instead, it was based around the WarGames match, a gimmick match first used in Jim Crockett Promotions and then World Championship Wrestling, the assets of which WWE acquired in 2001. From 2017 to 2021, it was used by WWE's developmental brand, NXT, and held at the brand's annual WarGames event. Survivor Series was in turn branded as "Survivor Series WarGames", marking WWE's first main roster event to feature the match, as well as ending NXT's WarGames event. Due to hosting the WarGames match, this was the first Survivor Series since the 2002 event to not feature a traditional Survivor Series match, or any type of elimination match, and only the third event to not include one, after the 1998 and 2002 events.

Five matches were contested at the event, including two WarGames matches. In the main event, which was the main match from SmackDown, The Bloodline (Roman Reigns, Solo Sikoa, Sami Zayn, and The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso)) defeated The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch), Drew McIntyre, and Kevin Owens in the men's WarGames match, while in the women's WarGames match, which was the opening bout and was the main match from Raw, Team Belair (Bianca Belair, Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Mia Yim, and Becky Lynch) defeated Team Bayley (Damage CTRL (Bayley, Dakota Kai, and Iyo Sky), Nikki Cross, and Rhea Ripley).

Survivor Series WarGames was the highest-grossing Survivor Series of all time, as well as the highest-grossing gate for WWE in Boston. It was also the most-viewed Survivor Series. WWE reported that the event was a complete sellout, with a disputed attendance of 15,609. The event also received critical acclaim, with high praise directed towards the WarGames matches for their storytelling and long-term booking, while also praising AJ Styles vs. Finn Bálor, and the United States Championship triple threat match. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter would go on to rate a majority of the matches three-and-three-quarters stars or higher, with only the SmackDown Women's Championship match receiving a negative response.

Production[edit]

Background[edit]

Survivor Series is an annual gimmick event, produced every November by WWE since 1987. The second longest running pay-per-view (PPV) event in history (behind WWE's WrestleMania), it is one of the promotion's five biggest events of the year, along with WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Royal Rumble, and Money in the Bank, referred to as the "Big Five".[2][3] Announced on October 25, 2021, the 36th Survivor Series was scheduled to occur on Saturday, November 26, 2022, at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, marking the first Survivor Series to be held on a Saturday. In addition to airing on traditional PPV, it was available to livestream on Peacock in the United States and the WWE Network in international markets.[4][5] Tickets went on sale on August 26, 2022, with premium hospitality packages also available.[6]

The event is traditionally characterized by having Survivor Series matches, which are tag team elimination matches that typically features teams of four or five wrestlers against each other.[7] On September 19, 2022, however, WWE executive Triple H announced that instead of Survivor Series matches, the 2022 event would feature two WarGames matches, one each for the men and women that would be 5-versus-5, marking the first time for a main roster WWE event to feature the match.[8] The 2022 event was in turn renamed as Survivor Series WarGames.[9] WWE's developmental brand NXT previously held an annual WarGames event from 2017 to 2021. With the WarGames match moving to the main roster for Survivor Series, this subsequently ended NXT's WarGames event, which was replaced by Deadline.[10]

After WWE reintroduced the brand split in July 2016, Survivor Series centered around competition between wrestlers from Raw and SmackDown for brand supremacy (NXT was also involved in 2019 but removed in 2020).[7] In addition to traditional Survivor Series matches between the brands, the champions of each brand faced off in non-title matches.[11] Along with the announcement that the 2022 event would feature the WarGames match, Triple H also confirmed that the 2022 event would not be based on the brand supremacy concept.[12]

In an interview with The Ringer in regard to the changes for the 2022 Survivor Series, Triple H stated:

The tradition of the Survivor Series has ebbed and flowed and changed slightly over time, but this will be similar to that. This will not be Raw versus SmackDown. It will be much more story-line driven. I still look at it as a traditional component to Survivor Series in there because it's large teams of people competing. We just upped the ante a little bit with WarGames and made it evolve. Survivor Series has been an amazing event for 36 years. And it needs to evolve a little bit and this year seemed like the right time to do it.[12]

Storylines[edit]

The event included matches that resulted from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portrayed heroes, villains, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches. Results were predetermined by WWE's writers on the Raw and SmackDown brands,[13][14] while storylines were produced on WWE's weekly television shows, Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown.[15]

After Bianca Belair retained the Raw Women's Championship against Becky Lynch at SummerSlam, Belair was confronted by a returning Bayley, accompanied by Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky, with Lynch standing with Belair.[16] Lynch then took time off due to an injury, while Bayley's team would dub themselves as Damage CTRL and began feuding with the trio of Belair, Alexa Bliss, and Asuka.[17] While Belair and Bayley fought over the Raw Women's Championship with Belair retaining in both encounters,[18][19] Bliss and Asuka traded the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship with Kai and Sky,[20] with Nikki Cross costing Bliss and Asuka the titles.[19] On the November 7 episode of Raw, Belair, Bliss, and Asuka challenged Damage CTRL to a WarGames match at Survivor Series WarGames, which was accepted. Damage CTRL subsequently recruited Cross to their team.[21] The following week, Mia Yim, who had returned to WWE the previous week, joined Belair's team, while Rhea Ripley joined Bayley's team.[22] On the November 21 episode of Raw, Ripley defeated Asuka to give Bayley's team the advantage in the WarGames match,[23] and on the November 25 episode of SmackDown, a returning Lynch was revealed as the fifth member of Belair's team.[24]

In mid-October, The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch) began feuding with members of The Bloodline (The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso), Solo Sikoa, and Sami Zayn), including an unsuccessful attempt at The Usos' Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship.[25][19] On the November 11 episode of SmackDown, the two teams brawled, which also involved Bloodline leader, Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns; Drew McIntyre also joined the fray, siding with The Brawling Brutes.[26] The following week, it was confirmed that The Brawling Brutes would face The Bloodline in a WarGames match at Survivor Series WarGames. Despite McIntyre's past issues with Sheamus, they made amends and he joined Sheamus' team as he had his own issues with The Bloodline. Later that night, the two teams brawled, after which, Kevin Owens made his return from injury and revealed himself as the fifth member of Sheamus' team with Owens also having previous issues with The Bloodline.[27] On the November 25 episode of SmackDown, McIntyre and Sheamus defeated The Usos to get the advantage in the WarGames match.[24]

On the November 11 episode of SmackDown, Shotzi won a six-pack challenge to earn a SmackDown Women's Championship match against Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series WarGames.[28]

In early October, The O.C. (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson) began a rivalry with The Judgment Day (Finn Bálor, Damian Priest, Dominik Mysterio, and Rhea Ripley), but The O.C. were always at a disadvantage due to Ripley, who cost The O.C. their six-man tag team match against her stablemates at Crown Jewel.[19] On the November 7 episode of Raw, The O.C. confronted The Judgment Day and introduced the returning Mia Yim as their solution to deal with Ripley.[21] The following week, a singles match between Styles and Bálor was scheduled for Survivor Series WarGames, with their respective stablemates in their corners.[22]

On the November 7 episode of Raw, Seth "Freakin" Rollins held an open challenge for the United States Championship, which was answered by Bobby Lashley, who Rollins controversially won the title from a few weeks prior. The match, however, never commenced as Lashley instead attacked Rollins before the match could begin. After the beat down, Austin Theory ran out and cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on a weakened Rollins; however, Rollins retained the title thanks to interference from Lashley.[21] The following week, Lashley said he would continue to target Rollins until he won back the championship, and later that night, Theory attacked Rollins.[22] On the November 21 episode, it was announced that Rollins would defend the United States Championship against Lashley and Theory in a triple threat match at Survivor Series WarGames.[23]

Event[edit]

Other on-screen personnel
Role: Name:
English commentators Michael Cole
Corey Graves
Spanish commentators Marcelo Rodriguez
Jerry Soto
Ring announcers Mike Rome (Raw)
Samantha Irvin (SmackDown/Men's WarGames match)
Alicia Taylor (Women's WarGames match)
Referees Danilo Anfibio
Jason Ayers
Dan Engler
Daphanie LaShaunn
Eddie Orengo
Chad Patton
Ryan Tran
Interviewer Megan Morant
Pre-show panel Kayla Braxton
Kevin Patrick
Peter Rosenberg
Booker T
Jerry Lawler

Preliminary matches[edit]

The women's WarGames match opened the show, which saw Team Belair (Bianca Belair, Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Mia Yim, and Becky Lynch) facing Team Bayley (Damage CTRL (Bayley, Dakota Kai, and Iyo Sky), Nikki Cross, and Rhea Ripley). Belair and Kai started the match. As Team Bayley had the WarGames advantage, Sky entered next, followed by Asuka, Cross, and Bliss. Cross performed a Cross Body off the cage onto everyone else. The rest of the entry order went Bayley, Yim, Ripley, then finally Lynch. After WarGames officially began, Lynch performed a Diving Lep Drop on Sky, who was stuck in a trash can. Ripley hit Riptide on Lynch for a nearfall. Asuka spat green mist in Ripley's face. Bayley hit the Rose Plant on Lynch onto the metal plate connecting the two rings. Sky hit a Moonsault off the top of the cage onto everyone. In the end, Belair hit the K.O.D. on Bayley into the cage as Lynch hit a Double Diving Lep Drop on Kai and Sky through a table and pinned Kai to win the match for Team Belair.[29]

Backstage, Jey Uso, who had never trusted or liked Sami Zayn, spoke with Roman Reigns regarding Zayn's loyalty to The Bloodline, as Jey overhead Zayn conversing with Kevin Owens on SmackDown the night before where Owens told Zayn to turn on The Bloodline; however, Zayn seemingly feigned ignorance and lied about the encounter when Jey confronted Zayn. Reigns then stated that he would take care of it and then instructed Paul Heyman to call Zayn to meet with Reigns.[29]

Next, AJ Styles (accompanied by The O.C. (Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson)) faced Finn Bálor (accompanied The Judgment Day (Damian Priest and Dominik Mysterio)). A brawl ensued at ringside between Gallows, Anderson, Mysterio, and Priest and the four fought into the crowd. In the closing moments, Styles performed the Phenomenal Forearm on Bálor to win the match.[29]

After that, Ronda Rousey (accompanied by Shayna Baszler) defended the SmackDown Women's Championship against Shotzi. During the match. Shotzi performed a crossbody onto Rousey and Baszler into the crowd. Back in the ring, Rousey performed Piper's Pit on Shotzi and forced Shotzi to tap out to the cross armbar to retain the title.[29]

In another backstage segment, Sami Zayn met with Roman Reigns, who questioned why Zayn lied to Jey Uso about conversing with Kevin Owens. Zayn claimed that he did not want to put too much pressure on Jey as Jey had a match on SmackDown that night and maintained that his loyalty was with The Bloodline. Reigns seemingly accepted that Zayn was telling the truth.[29]

In the penultimate match, Seth "Freakin" Rollins defended the United States Championship against Bobby Lashley and Austin Theory in a triple threat match. Rollins performed a Pedigree on Lashley for a nearfall. Lashley applied the Hurt Lock on both Rollins and Theory simultaneously, however, Rollins and Theory escaped. With Theory in position for a Curb Stomp, Rollins stepped over Theory for leverage and performed a Curb Stomp on Lashley instead. In the end, as Rollins attempted a Falcon Arrow on Theory, Lashley performed a Spear on Rollins, and Theory fell into a pin onto Rollins to win the title for a second time.[29]

Before the main event in a final backstage segment, Jey Uso asked Roman Reigns if Sami Zayn had lied to Reigns as well. Reigns claimed that he looked Zayn in the eyes and saw what he needed to see.[29]

Main event[edit]

The main event was the men's WarGames match, which saw The Bloodline (Roman Reigns, The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso), Solo Sikoa, and Sami Zayn) (accompanied by Paul Heyman) facing The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch), Drew McIntyre, and Kevin Owens. Butch and Jey started the match. The Brutes had the WarGames advantage as Holland entered next. As Jimmy attempted to enter, Reigns stopped him and picked Zayn to enter instead to test his loyalty to The Bloodline. The remainder of the entry order went McIntyre, Jimmy, Owens, Sikoa, Sheamus, and finally Reigns. All of The Brutes hit The Bloodline with ten Beats of the Bodhran. As Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick, Reigns hit a Spear on Shemaus, but Butch broke the pin. Jey missed Butch with a superkick and accidentally hit Zayn instead. The Usos hit the 1D off the top rope on Butch, but Holland broke the pin. Reigns drove Holland through a cornered table with a spear. Sikoa put McIntyre through a table with a Spinning Solo. In the climax, Owens hit a pop-up powerbomb and a stunner on Reigns, but Zayn stopped the referee from counting the three. A conflicted Zayn then hit a low blow on Owens followed by a Helluva Kick before catching Owens and shoving him to the mat. Zayn then allowed Jey to hit a Flying Uce on Owens to win the match for The Bloodline. Jey finally accepted Zayn as part of The Bloodline and the team celebrated as Reigns looked pleased with Zayn's actions.[29]

Reception[edit]

Commercial[edit]

During the Survivor Series WarGames post-event press conference, Triple H revealed that the event was the highest-grossing Survivor Series of all time and was the most viewed. He also said the event was a complete sellout,[30] and was the highest-grossing gate for WWE in Boston.[1] According to WWE, the event sold 15,609 tickets. However, the company have often been reported to inflate their attendance figures; for example, they include WWE personnel in their numbers. The event's set up was for 13,042 paid seats, with 40 tickets still available just hours before the event.[1] According to Triple H, they kept opening up more seats until they reached max capacity with the staging configuration.[30]

Critical[edit]

The event received critical acclaim. Praise was directed to the WarGames matches for their storytelling and long-term booking, Styles vs. Balor, and the US Title Triple Threat match, while Rousey vs. Shotzi received a mixed-to-negative response. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter would rate the WarGames matches 4 stars (women's) and 4-and-a-quarter stars (men's), the US Title match 4-and-a-quarter stars, Styles vs. Balor three-and-three-quarters stars, and Rousey vs. Shotzi one star.[31]

Aftermath[edit]

Raw[edit]

On the following episode of Raw, The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso), Sami Zayn, and Solo Sikoa celebrated The Bloodline's victory, but Kevin Owens interrupted and told Zayn that their friendship was done. Owens then challenged Jey to a match for the main event, which Jey accepted and Owens won.[32] The following week, The Usos were originally scheduled to defend their titles against Matt Riddle and Elias, but Elias was attacked by Sikoa before the show, and was replaced by Owens. The Usos won, but after the match, a brawl between Riddle, Owens, and The Bloodline broke out, which ended when Owens ran off The Usos and Zayn. However, Sikoa attacked Riddle, which ended when Sikoa placed a chair around Riddle's throat before performing a running Hip Smash.[33]

Also on Raw, Becky Lynch celebrated her team's victory and cut a promo from the crowd. Bayley distracted Lynch, which led to Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky brawling with Lynch, which spilled out throughout the arena.[32] The following week, two triple threat matches with Raw Women's Championship implications took place. Bayley won the first, while Bliss won the second after interference from Sky and Kai.[33]

Mia Yim faced Rhea Ripley, but the match ended in a no-contest when The Judgment Day (Finn Bálor, Damian Priest, and Dominik Mysterio) and The O.C. (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson) interfered. This led to an eight-person mixed tag team match where Judgment Day defeated The O.C. when Ripley pinned Yim.[32]

Also on Raw, new United States Champion Austin Theory came out to address his win. Seth "Freakin" Rollins interrupted to congratulate Theory and challenged him to a rematch for the title, but Theory refused, stating he would fight on his own time.[32] The following week, after Rollins and Bobby Lashley brawled, it was announced that Rollins would face Lashley on the December 12 episode of Raw to determine the No. 1 contender for the U.S. title.[33]

SmackDown[edit]

On the following episode of SmackDown, Sami Zayn credited The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) for securing their team's win; however, The Usos said it was because of Zayn. Sheamus interrupted, leading to a match between Zayn and Sheamus. During the match, a brawl between The Brawling Brutes (Ridge Holland and Butch) and The Bloodline (The Usos and Solo Sikoa) occured at ringside, which allowed Jey to hit Sheamus with a Superkick and give Zayn the win.[34]

Also on SmackDown, Damage CTRL (Bayley, Dakota Kai, and Iyo Sky) gave a promo to address their loss to Team Belair. However, Liv Morgan and a returning Tegan Nox (in her first appearance since being released from WWE in November 2021) attacked Damage CTRL, forcing them to retreat.[34]

Results[edit]

No. Results Stipulations Times[29]
1 Team Belair (Bianca Belair, Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Mia Yim, and Becky Lynch) defeated Team Bayley (Damage CTRL (Bayley, Dakota Kai, and Iyo Sky), Nikki Cross, and Rhea Ripley) by pinfall Women's WarGames match[35] 39:40
2 AJ Styles (with The O.C. (Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson)) defeated Finn Bálor (with The Judgment Day (Damian Priest and Dominik Mysterio)) by pinfall Singles match[36] 18:25
3 Ronda Rousey (c) (with Shayna Baszler) defeated Shotzi by submission Singles match for the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship[37] 7:15
4 Austin Theory defeated Seth "Freakin" Rollins (c) and Bobby Lashley by pinfall Triple threat match for the WWE United States Championship[38] 14:50
5 The Bloodline (Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn, Solo Sikoa, and The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso)) (with Paul Heyman) defeated The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch), Drew McIntyre, and Kevin Owens by pinfall Men's WarGames match[39] 38:30
  • (c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match

References[edit]

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  37. ^ Gilpin, Matt (November 26, 2022). "Ronda Rousey def. Shotzi". WWE. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
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  39. ^ "Roman Reigns, The Usos, Solo Sikoa and Sami Zayn def. Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, Sheamus, Ridge Holland and Butch". WWE. November 26, 2022. Retrieved November 27, 2022.

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