The SmarK Rant for WWE Survivor Series Wargames 2022 – 11.26.22
I’m fighting off the flu tonight while my wife covers from Covid, so this may be a couple of days after airdate before I have a chance to finish the show.
OK getting Ozzy to do “War Pigs” for the opening is pretty cool, I’ll give them that.
Live from Boston, MA
Your hosts are Michael Cole & Corey Graves
WARGAMES: Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Mia Yim & Bianca Belair v. Rhea Ripley, Nikki Cross, Bayley, Iyo Sky & Dakota Kai
So we’ve got Bianca starting with Dakota and the heels have the advantage. Bianca quickly beats on Dakota and boots her into the other ring, but Kai necks her on the top rope as Michael Cole actually references the history between Kai and Tegan Nox from NXT. Bianca tries to send her into the cage but can’t get any traction, and then gets a backbreaker instead. Kai chokes her out in the corner after a running boot, but Bianca gets a suplex. Dakota with the scorpion kick, but Belair powerbombs her to counter another one and then throws Kai around and into the cage to close out the opening period.
Iyo Sky is next into the match and she hits Belair with a dropkick and then takes her between the rings with a headscissors. Kai and Sky double-team her in the corner, although Iyo gets a little too excited and gets caught in the cage while trying a mule kick. Whoops. Bianca comes back with a double suplex, but Iyo hits her with a missile dropkick and they work Belair over until the end of the period.
Asuka comes in to even it up and runs wild on Kai, then we get a showdown with Iyo and they have an energetic slugfest, before Belair presses Kai into the cage and everyone slugs it out.
Nikki Cross is next in with a kendo stick and some assorted plunder, which is really one aspect of the HHH version of WarGames that I don’t like. The match should be violent enough on its own merits without always having to bring the goofy hardcore props into it. Cross manages to take out Bianca and Asuka and beats on them with her ring jacket and some trash can lids.
Alexa Bliss is next in for the babyfaces as she goes after Cross, and Bianca breaks Nikki’s favorite kendo stick! So Nikki retreats to the top of the cage to watch, and then hits everyone with a crossbody to take out the pile.
Bayley comes in for the heels next and brings a pair of ladders this time, as well as a table. This eats up most of the 3:00 period, and the heels get a bit of a beating on some of the babyfaces and trap Bianca with the table.
Mia Yim is next for the babyfaces and she tosses even more weapons into the match and throws some trash cans at the heels, before Nikki cuts her off with a sleeper. They keep going to wide shots and there’s not really any way to follow what’s going on easily, and everyone is down to end the period.
Rhea Ripley is last for the heel side and she throws everyone around as the heels are triumphant and celebrating thanks to rampant trash can lids. Becky Lynch is the last one into the match at 27:40 to begin the match officially, which is good because there was almost nothing happening for the first half hour. Becky puts Sky into a trashcan and legdrops it before going after Bayley for a slugfest. Rhea takes Becky out from behind and gets the Riptide for two. Asuka uses the GREEN MIST on Ripley to blind her and Becky gets a DDT on Rhea and then rolls up Bayley for two. Bayley hits the Roseplant for two. Everyone piles up in the corner for a wacky Tower of Doom spot but that kind of just falls apart and goes nowhere. Iyo comes off the cage with a moonsault onto Yim and Belair and everyone is out. Nikki finds handcuffs and tries to cuff Alexa to the ropes, but they end up cuffed together and Alexa drops her on a trash can. Rhea tries Riptime on Mia Yim, but Yim reverses to a sleeper, so Rhea drops her through a ladder to break. Bianca and Becky double-team Dakota and then stack up the heels on a table, and Becky legdrops them from the top of the cage for the pin at 39:38. This didn’t really have any particular storyline to it for the most part and I found the entire opening portion pretty boring and hard to follow. Like it was literally just “Waste 25 minutes while everyone enters the match” up until the actual Wargames match started, but it ended up being a decent hardcore brawl for the last 10 minutes. ***
Meanwhile, on Smackdown, Kevin Owens advises Sami Zayn to turn on the Bloodline before they turn on him, but sneaky Jey Uso overhears him and probably takes it all out of context. So Jey goes to Roman and pitches his CRAZY conspiracy theory, but Roman’s got no time for crazy stories about Sami betraying him. Roman of course is able to tell the inherent Uciness of Sami without Jey telling him what to do.
AJ Styles v. Finn Balor
This is brought to you by a PS5 game called The Callisto Protocol, which I’ve never heard of. Speaking of stuff no one’s heard of, Cole talks about how Finn Balor did all this stuff in Japan, like joining a group called “Bullet Club” and holding something called the “IWGP Junior title”. But what about the casual fans? They fight for the lockup and AJ goes after the leg and takes him down with a backbreaker. They slug it out in the corner, but Balor takes him down and drops knees on him to take over. Backbreaker gets one. Balor rolls out of a sunset flip and into a dropkick for one, and he goes to an abdominal stretch before going to work on the back. AJ with the sliding forearm for two and he takes out the knee again, but the Good Brothers and Judgment Day all brawl at ringside and fight into the crowd. Back in the ring, AJ and Finn trade rollups and Balor hits the sling blade, but AJ suplexes him into the corner for two. AJ tries to roll into the calf crusher, but Finn rolls into a double stomp and puts the boots to him. AJ fights up, but Balor puts him down with an inverted DDT for two. Finn tries a Styles Clash, but AJ escapes and hits the Pele, and Balor hits his own for the double down. AJ tries a springboard and Balor catches him in a gutbuster for two. Balor with an ushigoroshi for another cheeky steal, but AJ flips into the inverted DDT for two. AJ goes up and misses a 450 and Finn sends him into the corner with a shotgun dropkick, but the Coup de Grace misses as well and AJ rolls him into the calf crusher. Finn teases a tap, but then slams AJ’s head into the mat to break free. They slug it out in the corner and AJ fights him off with an enzuigiri to set up the forearm, which gets the pin at 18:24. Hell of a match here! ****
Hey, welcome back! So yeah, my flu turned out to be a lung infection, and then I got my wife’s Covid on top of that, so I had to abandon the show halfway in and get myself to bed and wasn’t really able to finish anything until three days later. So let’s pick it up again!
Smackdown Women’s title: Ronda Rousey v. Shotzi
Ronda takes her down with judo throws to start and goes into an anklelock, but Shotzi escapes that and hits a cannonball in the corner before dumping her and following with dive. That hits Shayna instead and Shotzi gets an awkward clothesline back in the ring and then goes up with a flying bodypress, which Ronda sort of rolls through to counter, or slams her, or something, I dunno. Shotzi takes her down and puts the boots to her, but Ronda anklelocks her again and Shotzi escapes that with an enzuigiri. Ronda just kind ignores that and ties her up in some kind of ratchet submission hold. They fight on the apron and Shotzi slugs her down on the apron and then follows with something that I guess was supposed to be a tornado DDT on the apron and comes off looking like a graphics glitch in WWE2K20 or something. Oh this match is not good. Shotzi has never been great at improvising to begin with and Ronda isn’t the one to carry things when things go badly. So they fight into the crowd and take out some plants at ringside with another trainwreck spot, but Ronda slams her on the way back into the ring for two. And the armbar finishes at 7:13. This was ATROCIOUS. How did they even let them do this match on PPV? DUD
Meanwhile, Sami Zayn sits down with the Tribal Chief to explain his conversation with Kevin Owens, and yeah OK, he may have withheld some information from Jey. Doesn’t Roman watch his own show? Wouldn’t it be easier to get the full story from what was broadcast on national TV? Regardless, Roman needs to know if Sami is with the Bloodline or against them. Look, Sami is the son of Yokozuna, he’s more of an Anoai than either of the Usos are! Wikipedia says so!
Man they’re gonna turn on Sami SO HARD and he’s gonna be the biggest babyface in the promotion as a result.
US title: Seth Rollins v. Austin Theory v. Bobby Lashley
Poor Austin has his Titantron video taken over by a Beyblade ad, but at least he got his first name back. I still don’t understand what Seth Rollins is supposed to be, exactly. Theory gets dumped by both guys right away, and Lashley hits Seth with a neckbreaker and goes for the full nelson. Seth escapes that, but Theory pulls him out of the ring and takes him out on the floor. Back in the ring, Theory puts the boots to Bobby, but Lashley comes back and hits both guys with corner clotheslines and a double DDT. More power stuff as he smashes Theory into Rollins, and his a Yokosuka cutter on Seth for two. Bobby dumps Theory again and they fight on the floor, where Theory lays the other guys out with the stairs. Back in, Theory beats on Rollins for two, but Seth comes back with the dives on the other two guys. Back in the ring, Theory tries to roll into a rana, but Rollins counters with a powerbomb for two. Rollins misses the curb stomp and Lashley puts him in the Hurt Lock, but Theory jumps on Lashley with a sleeper for a goofy three-way spot. Lashley fights that off, but Rollins hits a Pedigree on Lashley for two. Seth misses the Phoenix splash and Theory tosses him and rolls into the blockbuster on Lashley, then goes for the finish, but Lashley gets the full nelson to counter. Theory kicks off the ropes to counter that, but Rollins comes in with a splash on Lashley for two. Rollins with a neckbreaker on Theory, but he reverses that and we get another goofy three-way spot where Lashley tries a full nelson on both guys. Yeah no. They both escape and everyone is down, but Rollins stomps Lashley and then hits Theory with the superplex. But Lashley spears Seth on the way down and Theory falls on top for the banana peel pin and US title at 15:00. This had some good moments but mostly it was about the crowd singing the stupid theme song and trying to work in goofy three-way spots that didn’t work. ***1/4
Wargames: Roman Reigns, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso, Sami Zayn & Solo Sikoa v. Kevin Owens, Drew McIntyre, Sheamus, Butch & Ridge Holland
So we start with Main Event Jey and Butch, and Butch attacks in the second ring and does some SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION. Cole notes that Paul Heyman imparted wisdom from his experience with the Dangerous Alliance in 1992, but he fails to note that his team LOST that match. Butch continues bending the arm in sick ways, but Jey runs him into the cage to escape and follows with a backdrop suplex. Jey works the arm, but Butch takes him to the grating between the rings and stomps the hand out there.
Ridge Holland is next into the match for the Brutes and they double-team Jey, as Ridge hits him with a slam and follows with running corner clotheslines. They go to work on both arms and we get more SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION as they run out the clock.
Jimothy Uso wants to be the next guy in, but Roman sends Sami Zayn in instead to test his loyalty. So he saves Jey and puts the boots to Ridge, but Jey isn’t very Ucey and doesn’t appreciate the help. That’s all on Jey, man. Ridge manages to fight them off by himself, but he charges and hits the cage, allowing the Usos to double-team Butch for a bit.
Drew McIntyre is next for the babyfaces and the Usos double-team him but that goes badly for them. Drew throws them around the ring and hits Jey with a spinebuster, and he’s feeling pretty Ucey himself. That’s CULTURAL APPROPRIATION. Not cool. It’s fine when Sami does it because he’s the legit son of Yokozuna, but Drew is clearly not any kind of Samoan. Drew lays out both Uces with the DDT to end the period.
Jimmy Jam Uso is now the next guy in, and here’s where they start throwing all the tables and weapons into the match again, which sucks because I was kind of enjoying it without all that stuff so far. So the Usos all control and toss the Brutes into the cage a few times before setting up a table in the corner.
Kevin Owens is next and he brings chairs with him and cleans house on the Usos. You know, if you want to do a Bunkhouse Stampede, you can just do a Bunkhouse Stampede. WWE owns the rights to that one too. The Brutes make a comeback thanks to the chairs, and Owens slams Jimmy through a table.
Solo Sikoa comes in to even things up for the Bloodline, and thankfully he doesn’t bring any more weapons with him. He cleans house on the Brutes and we get a showdown with KO between the rings, as Solo gets run into the cage and no-sells it. So he backdrops KO on the grating and then goes after Drew, winning a superkick battle before charging and running into a headbutt as everyone is down and out.
Sheamus is the last guy for the Brutes as Sami desperately tries to keep the door shut, but Sheamus slams it in his face and runs wild on the Bloodline. The Brutes trap the Bloodline on the cage and beat on them there, and Sheamus hits Solo with White Noise to end the period.
Roman Reigns is the last guy in at 28:00 to begin the final portion and we get the West Side Story showdown spot, as they slug it out and Roman wins that by himself. Sheamus blocks the spear and we get a big silly deal with all of the Brutes doing the forearms between the rings. Sheamus hits Roman with a knee and lays out Solo with the Brogue, but Roman spears him for two. Butch makes the save, so Sami makes a big deal about beating up Butch in retribution, only for Jey to accidentally superkick his own Uso brother! That’s pretty sus. Usos on the 1D on Butch for two. Roman spears Ridge through the table, and then Solo slams Drew through another table. KO with a stunner on Solo for two, but Roman breaks that up and they slug it out. Superman punch for KO. Owens with the pop up powerbomb and another stunner, but Sami makes the save. KO is pretty disgusted by this, and Sami hits him in the nuts to show where his loyalties truly are, and then follows with the Heluva kick, leaving KO open to Jey’s flying splash to finish at 38:33. See, everything’s fine with the Bloodline. This was certainly better than the opener but still didn’t feel like a true War Games match, especially with the pinfall replacing submissions. Everyone worked hard, though, and now apparently Jey and Sami have finally buried the hatchet. ***1/2
I wouldn’t call it a great show, but only one match was egregiously bad, so it’s a solid thumbs up that I mostly enjoyed. Aside from all the Covid and infections, I didn’t enjoy that.