Best and Worst Booking Decisions of WWE Survivor Series WarGames 2022 Results
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WWE changed up the formula for Survivor Series this year by ditching the traditional elimination matches and putting all the emphasis on WarGames, instead.
Was it a strategy that paid off to make a better show than fans have been getting with the past five years of Raw vs. SmackDown brand warfare? Or was it a gamble that led to more negatives than positives?
Looking back on the results from the pay-per-view, let’s break down the best and worst booking decisions of the night that left us scratching our heads or standing on our feet cheering.
Best: Progression of Sami Zayn vs. Jey Uso Storyline
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Following the previous night’s SmackDown, wherein Sami Zayn’s loyalty to The Bloodline was called into question with Kevin Owens telling him he should turn on his teammates before they do the same to him, the major story being told throughout Survivor Series was whether there would be a split.
Jey Uso’s tension with Zayn has been building for months. Roman Reigns has had his moments of doubt, met with times he’s backed Zayn and felt like he could trust him.
A great moment took place when Jey started the WarGames match for his team, and when it was time for the second teammate to come out, Reigns stopped Jimmy Uso from being that next entrant. Instead, he told Zayn to go out.
This meant Reigns was acting like the disciplinary father figure to two petulant kids, forcing them to work out their issues. IE, he was exhibiting why he’s The Tribal Chief and why this faction, at the end of the day, comes out victorious.
Zayn’s choice to cost Owens the victory, low-blow him and fully side with The Bloodline led to a victory and hugs all around, but he still had reservations on his face, clearly struggling with his decision.
This type of character development is necessary for The Bloodline angle to evolve past the simplicity of “Reigns and his cronies beat everyone every week. Tune in next time for a copy and paste.”
Worst (Possibly): Both WarGames Match Outcomes
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While it was fun to watch the Zayn angle play out, it may not be the right call in the long run for The Bloodline to have won that match.
In a similar sense, booking Bianca Belair’s team to beat Team Damage CTRL could very well be a mistake in hindsight.
Calling these the worst booking decisions depends entirely on if and how WWE plans to circumvent a major problem in that all the viable contenders to the two champions have now been beaten—some multiple times.
Belair cannot have another match to continue this feud with Bayley. That’s been driven into the ground for months. It would be extremely tiresome to have Becky Lynch’s victory lead to yet another match with Belair, too, so why did she get the win other than just to celebrate that she’s back?
Rhea Ripley could have won this match for her team and established herself as the next challenger with ease. Now that she’s lost, WWE will have to do more in the coming weeks to make her No. 1 contender, but it will be harder to convince audiences she can beat The EST of WWE.
The Bloodline’s now beaten Sheamus, Owens and Drew McIntyre enough times. It won’t matter if any of them beat someone like Solo Sikoa or Zayn or The Usos to win a No. 1 contender’s match, as fans will know there’s no shot they’ll beat The Head of the Table.
Does the WWE Universe really want to spend the next eight weeks dancing around setting up No. 1 contender’s matches to drag things out prior to Royal Rumble, only to have it be the same people fighting again and leading to both champions retaining in inevitably predictable matches?
These two matches were a ton of fun, but they leave question marks for where to go from here.
Maybe WWE has something up its sleeve. But if the plan is to “just figure it out” over this holiday stretch and drag things out until The Road to WrestleMania, it will be a rough two months.
Mixed Bag: Austin Theory Wins United States Championship
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Austin Theory dropped the United States Championship earlier this year, but was compensated by winning the Money in the Bank briefcase.
Months went by with him losing matches and not ascending to the next level, only for him to fail his cash-in attempt for a midcard title during an open challenge he didn’t need to use his title shot for.
In the weeks to follow, he was called a loser and made it a point to say he’s taking things more seriously now and he will prove that he’s not the future, but the now.
Then, he wins the United States Championship, but he does so by falling into a pin on Seth Rollins after the champion took a spear from Bobby Lashley?!
Yes, winning the championship is a step in the right direction to rehabbing all the damage done to Theory with that cash-in failure. But the nature in which he won it makes it seem like he’s a total dope who didn’t deserve to walk away with the title.
It is better than nothing, but this is not as big of a step forward as WWE thinks.
There’s an argument this isn’t even an improvement at all, and that it will do more damage in fans thinking Theory isn’t even worth being at the championship level he was last year.
Best: Ronda Rousey and AJ Styles Are Victorious
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Ronda Rousey’s win over Shotzi was the easiest match to call by a longshot. There was no way she was going to lose and if she had, it would have been a massive mistake.
Shotzi’s recent matches haven’t been great, and she doesn’t have the star power Rousey has to make up for those performances.
That match was rough, but the right decision was made to keep it on The Rowdy One. The sooner she drops it, the better the division might get, but Shotzi wouldn’t have been an upgrade.
Likewise, thumbs up goes to AJ Styles being booked to beat Finn Bálor.
This was far from the grand climax this feud needed to reach for some time, but if this was the end, at least the babyface came out on top.
The OC has been losing and The Phenomenal One hadn’t won a singles match on a pay-per-view since Crown Jewel 2019. He was long overdue for a victory to offset the terrible year he’s had.
These two wins for good booking decisions are more of the bare minimum rather than something for WWE Creative to pat themselves on the back for, but they’re at least what should have happened and not just more mistakes.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, Spotify and everywhere you find podcasts. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.