Biggest Takeaways From 2022 WWE Survivor Series WarGames Results
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The Bloodline arrived, raised hell and left Boston and WWE Survivor Series War Games with their arms raised in victory, and they added another chapter to their classic storyline while they were at it.
An epic main event served as the backdrop for the latest in the narrative of Sami Zayn, Roman Reigns and Jey Uso, propelling it forward while staying grounded in what ignited it in the first place.
It was at the heart of one of the night’s biggest takeaways from a show that ranked instantly as one of WWE’s best of 2022.
Questionable Future of Damage CTRL Following Latest PPV Loss
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The women’s War Games match kicked off Saturday’s pay-per-view and nearly stole the show from the start, thanks to some stellar performances from some of the most talented wrestlers in the game.
Becky Lynch was explosive in her first match back from injury and put an exclamation point on her team’s victory with a jaw-dropping double leg drop through a table. Rhea Ripley looked like the total badass she is, while Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross called back to their time as a tag team.
Even Mia Yim came out of the contest looking like a star, thanks to some great intensity on her part.
The one entity that did not? Damage CTRL, which suffered another loss to cool them off even more than Bayley’s previous two PPV losses to Bianca Belair did. Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai, the reigning women’s tag team champions, endured the Lynch spot with the latter eating the pin.
What was the point of introducing the group in grand fashion only to then beat them down repeatedly at the hands of Bianca Belair and now Lynch?
Did it elevate their star? Sure, it netted them more TV time and brought Kai back into the fold, but are they or Bayley better off for having been in this months-long program with The EST of WWE?
The answer is a fairly obvious “no.” So where do they go from here?
Lynch has suggested there is revenge on her mind in regard to Damage CTRL and the beatdown that put her on the shelf. How well would that benefit the heels, because it’s unlikely she puts over Bayley and Co. enough to undo the creative damage that has been done to this point.
They cannot hang around the women’s title picture, because there is no way to justify any of them being in contention for Belair’s belt based on what we have seen from them so far.
While uncertainty elsewhere in key storylines is a good thing and creates intrigue, it is more of an indictment in the case of Damage CTRL.
The Lynch feud appears to be the most obvious, but fans should expect little more than the continuation of Bayley, Sky and Kai serving as tackling dummies for another top babyface than being presented on The Man’s level.
It is an unfortunate situation given the immense talent that exists in the trio.
AJ Styles and Finn Bálor Earn Deciding Match in WWE Series
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Entering Saturday’s event, AJ Styles and Finn Bálor had only competed against each other in singles competition once in their WWE careers.
That match, a thrown-together contest on the 2017 TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs event, saw the Irishman go over.
In the second of their showdowns, Styles evened the score with a Phenomenal Forearm that earned him the pinfall victory over Bálor.
The match was as good as you would expect from the veteran competitors.
As good as the TLC match? Probably not, but it was still an above-average bout that played on the storyline established entering it and paid it off appropriately, with The Phenomenal One winning the match.
The strength of their first two encounters should earn the two men the chance to settle their differences in a deciding contest at some point down the line in a more meaningful context than their first two clashes.
Given the wealth of history at play and the quality of the two men, they could easily carry a main event, especially with a rubber-match stipulation.
Let them. Book it for a secondary PPV if necessary but allow them to settle a feud between two bona fide future Hall of Famers and reap the rewards.
While Triple H and WWE officials are at it, use the bond with New Japan Pro-Wrestling that was created with their recent agreement to lend out Karl Anderson to defend his NEVER Openweight Championship in December.
Ronda Rousey’s Lack of In-Ring Progression Is Alarming
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With every passing Ronda Rousey match, it looks more and more like Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Natalya, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair were miracle workers in her rookie year of 2018.
Since her return to the squared circle at the Royal Rumble in January, and through several high-profile programs with Charlotte Flair and Liv Morgan, it is clear there has been a decided lack of in-ring progression.
If Saturday’s match with Shotzi was any indication, that lack of progression may actually be regression.
Rousey struggles to sell, bumps awkwardly at times and has done little to evolve her in-ring game. Yes, main event wrestlers are known to stick with signature moves that fans know and love because they will pop the audience and create emotional investment, but Rousey’s lack of setup or build to those moves negates the purpose.
There was a spot in Saturday’s match where Shotzi attempted a DDT off the ropes and onto the ring apron, but Rousey either was not comfortable taking the bump or just didn’t know how to do it to the greatest effect, because what resulted was a spot that will end up on many “worst of” lists and botch-centric playlists across the internet within days.
As a star with appeal outside of professional wrestling who has been put in a position to lead the SmackDown women’s division and be its champion, she has to be better. Sure, she talks trash between the ropes to help get her character over, but fans demand more than that.
They want to see a wrestler who at least looks comfortable between the ropes, but she never quite does. She often appears to be too loose, awkwardly landing on most bumps and reverting to the same handful of moves when she has nothing else to lean on.
There are only so many times one can go back to the ankle lock or arm bar. That has to change.
Whatever passion fueled her to be the best she could during that initial run with WWE, she must rediscover it.
Otherwise, the fans’ apathy and frustration that resulted from Saturday’s subpar match, against a young star whose value to WWE probably depended on Rousey being better than she was, will only intensify.
As history tells us, once the audience turns on you, it’s difficult to get them back. Rousey still has time, but more rough outings like Saturday’s will only expedite fans’ dismay with a competitor WWE is banking on being one of its top stars.
The Bloodline Write Latest Chapter of Masterpiece Storyline
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Where did Sami Zayn’s allegiances lie?
It was the question at the center of Saturday’s Survivor Series War Games main event, especially after The Honorary Uce was caught in a lie on Friday’s SmackDown when questioned by Jey Uso if he had talked to anyone earlier in the night.
Zayn said no, but The Right Hand Man had listened in to him chatting with Kevin Owens.
It was that previous friendship that conflicted with his status as a member of The Bloodline and one that Roman Reigns tested in a backstage vignette.
Zayn pledged his allegiance to The Tribal Chief and reiterated it in the closing moments of Saturday’s match, breaking up the referee’s three-count seconds after a stunner from Owens to Reigns.
From there, he delivered a low blow and a Helluva Kick and set up his longtime friend for a splash from Jey Uso, who earned the pinfall victory. The post-match hug between the two rightly earned a huge ovation from the fans in Boston.
Weeks of television had been leading to the moment when Jey acknowledged Zayn as a member of The Bloodline, and it finally paid off in grand fashion. But it was in a hug offered by a different member of the faction wherein the future of the program lies.
Moments after Jey delivered the splash that sealed the win, Reigns embraced The Honoray Uce for proving his loyalty. The one guy demanding acknowledgment provided just that, not to his cousin but to the outsider.
Jey followed suit, but it was apparent by the look on his face that Reigns embracing The Honorary Uce in a way he never did to the Uso brother did get to him.
At some point, WWE Creative is going to have to address the elephant in the room: Jey Uso’s relationship with Reigns. They have a storied past that dates back to two championship encounters in 2020, so the foundation is there. Whether the company revisits it is another question.
For now, fans should enjoy the masterful tale that is playing out every week, because what Reigns, Zayn, Uso and Co. are creating is the sort of iconic story that will last long beyond their days in the ring.