For the first time, the Survivor Series event this year will also be War Games, as announced yesterday.
The majority of people immediately responded positively to this announcement. After all, aren’t the WarGames matches fantastic? This is wonderful news!
But, while there are many reasons to be pleased with this change, I couldn’t help but consider some of the drawbacks. Not everything is completely positive—at least not in my opinion.
Benefits: Avoiding Roman Reigns and The Usos
Since the brand split in 2016, the Survivor Series has mostly revolved around Raw vs. SmackDown. For men and women, there would be Team Raw and Team SmackDown, with each brand’s champions facing off against the opposite equivalent.
Because Roman Reigns and The Usos hold both sets of titles, their contributions would have been strange. Simply defending their belts against members of the Raw roster would not feel appropriate, as it would be as routine as any other event. They’ve already won the crossover championship.
The Bloodline will most likely be the focus of the Men’s War Games match. This solves that problem while also providing something gimmicky for fans to latch onto without Reigns having to defend his title.
It will most likely be the culmination of many of his hangover feuds, with opponents such as Drew McIntyre and Kevin Owens.
Drawbacks: There will be no Gunther vs. Bobby Lashley match.
There will be no Gunther vs. Bobby Lashley matches because there will be no champion vs. champion matches.
Yes, WWE did not explicitly state that “that isn’t remotely possible for this card,” but logically, if they aren’t doing Raw vs. SmackDown, why would the intercontinental and US champions cross paths like this in a non-title exhibition “just for funsies”?
Benefits: Save Matches for Later
The benefit of this is that there’s a chance that patience will reward us with something better in the form of a longer-lasting feud between Lashley and Gunther.
The same is true for Bianca Belair and Ronda Rousey. I’m betting that Liv Morgan will not walk away from Extreme Rules and Crown Jewel with the SmackDown Women’s Championship. If this were Raw vs. SmackDown, Belair vs. Rousey would take place, which I believe could be saved for something better later on.
They will not. It simply means that Gunther and Lashley, if they appear on the card at all, will be defending their titles or wrestling in some other capacity.
Drawbacks: Is there no elimination match?
How can you have Survivor Series without…you know…SURVIVOR SERIES?
Before you leave a comment, please know that this has happened before. WWE deviated from the formula in 1998 with the Deadly Games tournament, and again in 2002 with the Elimination Chamber. Both, like Survivor Series, deal with the concept of eliminations in a series of matches.
They deviate from the template of four or five Superstars competing against each other and were most likely a test to see if something else was better. But they keep returning to the traditional Survivor Series elimination matches because that is what the series is named after.
I like it when someone can brag about being “the team’s sole survivor.” It’s straightforward but effective.
There is no elimination in War Games. It’s the polar opposite. Before there is a single decision for victory, team members enter the match.
I believe that changing War Games to become an elimination-based game would irritate those who enjoy WarGames as they are. But how will we have Survivor Series if there is no elimination-based concept? Isn’t that strange, similar to Extreme Rules with regular singles matches?
Benefits: Brand Warfare Was Stupid in the First Place
Anyone who thinks I just wish we had Raw vs. SmackDown is mistaken. I believe WWE’s handling of the situation over the last six years has been abysmal.
It was never meaningful. Nothing was gained by any brand. There was no prize. Outside of pride, superstars had no real motivation to win for their team. Why would you try to put heels on your team if they don’t care?
The majority of the time, there were no rival general managers. What does Adam Pearce care about if he’s in charge of both Raw and SmackDown and either team wins the overall tally?
This could have easily been explained as “the winning roster receives bonuses to their paychecks” or “the winning roster is guaranteed the final spots in the men’s and women’s Royal Rumble,” increasing your chances of getting the #30 pick significantly.
War Games will simply be a match for the sake of being a match, but at least there will be no confusion as to why it is taking place. It will be more storyline-based, so it will simply be a grudge match.
Drawbacks:How do you form the teams?
As previously stated, The Bloodline, which includes Roman Reigns, The Usos, Solo Sikora, and Sami Zayn, is almost certain to be the men’s heel team. They’ll face a slew of big-name babyfaces, which I’m sure WWE isn’t entirely sure about and will figure out in the coming weeks.
But what about the ladies’ squad?
Isn’t it necessary to have four or five women? Does that mean Damage CTRL will get a fourth and possibly fifth member just for fun? Or do we get four or five random women who have nothing in common? So, why should we be concerned?
That happened a lot in NXT, and it felt strange. They just took some of the most notable names, threw them together on a team, and said, “You’re feuding now, I guess.” Instead of “Team Raw” versus “Team SmackDown,” you have “Team Bianca Belair, Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Liv Morgan, and Raquel Rodriguez” versus “Team Damage CTRL, Rhea Ripley, and Sonya Deville” or whatever.