As a service to fans who have a general interest in WWE but haven’t seen a match in months, we’re pleased to provide this FAQ as a guide to Survivor Series: WarGames, Saturday, November 26 at 8 p.m. ET at Boston’s TD Garden.
Why would WWE theme a big event like Survivor Series as an homage to the 1983 sci-fi movie starring Matthew Broderick, in which a rogue supercomputer pushes the world to the brink of global thermonuclear war?
No, idiot, they’re referring to another 1980s relic called “Wargames”. Created by the great Dusty Rhodes in 1987 for the NWA, it continued the Survivor Series tradition of two large teams of wrestlers battling but placed them in a side-by-side ring inside a solid steel cage. The gimmick inspired an annual event in NXT from 2017-21, marking the first time in Triple H’s tenure as Chief Content Officer that he has recycled ideas from WWE’s developmental arena.
Wait, Survivor Series is no longer a “battle for brand supremacy?”
correct WWE scrapped the Raw vs. SmackDown concept for this year, with the competitors having to act like this rivalry wasn’t a made-up thing that was compatible with the PlayStation 2.
The format change deprives us of a potential grudge match between the Universal and WWE Champions, who we predict will see Roman Reigns kill himself for 25 minutes.
What are wargames matches?
Two of them are planned, one involving the men and one involving the women, continuing the tradition started during the NXT Wargames. Wrestling’s most popular group in men’s matches is Bloodline: Undisputed World Champion Reigns; cousins Solo Sequoia and Jimmy and Jey Uso, the undisputed WWE Tag-Team Champions; and “Honorary Us” Sami Zayn, who proved his role as the group’s court jester by ruining an entire static break over Jimmy Fallon in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch during a recent SmackDown promo.
Everything is fine. pic.twitter.com/Thx3JWR9RZ
— Sami Zayn (@SamiZayn) 29 October 2022
Over time, his detractors came together. It started with The Brawling Brutes – Sheamus, Butch and Ridge Holland – finding an unlikely ally in Drew McIntyre, who had heat with Sheamus and Reigns. Their fifth team member was the returning Kevin Owens, Reigns’ rival and best friend with Zayn. It’s a match that should deliver brutal goods in the ring and offer subplots of soap-operatic proportions. Or, as Zen would call them, “Use Details.”
What about women’s war games?
Bianca Belair is feuding with Damage CTRL, which is supposed to repair your broken laptop but is actually Bayley’s new group with Dakota Kai and IYO SKY. The two have been trading the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship with the other two members of Bayley’s team, Alexa Bliss and Asuka. But Baylor and Bayley are at the center of this rivalry, with Bianca retaining the Raw Women’s Championship in a ladder match and last-woman-standing battle against Bayley.
Bellar challenged Damage Ctrl to this WarGames match and they accepted. Bayley’s side is filled with Nikki Cross and Rhea Ripley. Bellar added to Mia Yim — “Bah God, there’s a reckoning from Retribution’s music!” — She was out of WWE for over a year before returning to Raw to feud with Ripley. She is now known as “Michin”. Wait… she was Known as Michin. It was quick to change the name.
By our math, that brings us to five heels and four faces. Bellair said the final member of her team will be revealed on SmackDown before Survivor Series. Given the publicity and importance given to it, anyone but Becky Lynch would be disappointed. Unless of course it’s Sasha Banks.
Is she still with WWE?
for sure Maybe. We don’t know. Banks has not appeared in WWE since she and tag team partner Naomi exited following a creative dispute. Another possible Survivor Series surprise would be Charlotte Flair, who hasn’t been seen in WWE since losing to Rousey at WrestleMania Backlash. Flair has a history with Bayley and Ripley … and so does Baylor.
What about the SmackDown Women’s Championship?
Ronda Rousey will defend the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Shotzi, winning a six-pack challenge match for Shot(zi) for the title.
Because this match is probably just too one-sided to give Rousey something Premium live events Time, let’s focus on the real issue of “six-pack challenge” matches. We’re down with the four-way dance and we’ve seen great fatal five-way matches. But six? Six gets confused. Many moments when a normal move does triple damage because the opponent needs to be down for 10 minutes for the action to flow. It strains credibility, which is saying something when discussing professional wrestling. Seeing the “six-pack challenge” means we’re reaching for one just to get it. Anyway, good on Shotzy for getting this spotlight.
Are there any other title matches?
Seth “Freakin'” Rollins defends the US title against Bobby Lashley and Austin Theory in a triple threat match, which is thankfully only half-assed as a “six-pack challenge”.
If there’s a common theme throughout this Survivor Series, it’s how WWE has managed to book matches with multiple storylines clashing at once. To wit: Rollins defeated Lashley for the US title after Brock Lesnar attacked Lashley before a match in October. Lashley lost to Lesnar at Crown Jewel and decided to take out his aggression on Rollins, who openly challenged him for the US title. His brutal attack ended with Rollins sitting on a broken announcer’s table … and Theory reaching for his Money in the Bank briefcase in an attempt to wrest the US Title from Rollins. After Rollins ducked out of two pin attempts, Lashley returned to the ring to break up another one. He then beat Stuffing outside of Theory, allowing Rollins to pin him for the win, only to be defeated by a third Money in the Bank cash-in.
Lashley focused on getting his title back from Rollins. The Theory attacked Rollins on another episode of Raw and then recently attempted to go after Lashley before escaping.
There’s a fun build to the whole thing that successfully builds in theory beyond the ex-chairman and CEO taking selfies.
What else? It sounds like a lot
AJ Styles will face Finn Balor in a singles match. For months, Styles has feuded with The Judgment Day, the formidable faction that Edge founded before Balor deposed him. Styles brought in The OC (his former Bullet Club buddies Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows) to join him in the battle against Damian Priest, Rhea Ripley and Dominic Mysterio. (The latter two are involved in a plot relationship whose suggestive dynamics would have made the Attitude Era blush.)
The two stables met at Crown Jewel earlier this month, with The Judgment Day winning a six-man tag match. Michin — that is, Mia Yim — has since aligned with the OC as an anti-Rhea Ripley solution. They will all be in their respective corners of the leaders of their respective groups for this singles match.
It sounds crazy, but doesn’t it make more sense to have teams of four facing each other? Maybe in a match where each team member is eliminated individually until only one group is left standing?
What do you think this show is about? Some kind of survivor series?