It was announced yesterday that this year’s Survivor Series event will actually also be War Games, for the first time ever.
Immediately, most people reacted positively to this announcement. After all, the WarGames matches are awesome, right? This is exciting news!
But while there are definitely major reasons to be happy about this change, I couldn’t help but to think about some of the negatives that come along with it. Not everything is just an outright positive—at least, not from my perspective.
The view from where I’m standing is much more pro than con, mind you. But as far as I’m concerned, here are the benefits and drawbacks of this idea.
Pro: Circumventing Roman Reigns and The Usos
With the way Survivor Series has operated since the 2016 brand split, it has mostly revolved around Raw vs. SmackDown. There would be Team Raw and Team SmackDown for the men and women, then each brand’s champions against the opposite equivalent.
Since Roman Reigns and The Usos are holding both sets of titles, that would have rendered their contributions strange. Just defending their belts against members of the Raw roster wouldn’t feel like it fit the theme enough, as it would be as standard as any other event. They’re already crossover champions.
Most likely, The Bloodline will be the focal point of the Men’s War Games match. This solves that problem and gives fans something gimmicky to latch onto without Reigns needing to defend his title.
It will likely be the culmination of a lot of his hangover feuds with guys like Drew McIntyre and Kevin Owens going up against him.
Con: No Gunther vs. Bobby Lashley
No champion vs. champion matches means no Gunther against Bobby Lashley.
Yes, WWE didn’t outright say “that isn’t remotely possible for this card” but logically, if they aren’t doing Raw vs. SmackDown, why would the intercontinental and United States champions cross paths like this in a non-title exhibition “just for funzies”?
They won’t. It would just mean Gunther and Lashley, if they even are on the card, will just be defending their titles or wrestling in some other capacity.
Pro: Saving Matches for Another Time
The benefit of that, though, is that there’s a chance patience rewards us with something better in that Lashley vs. Gunther could be a better feud that stretches beyond a one-off.
The same goes for Bianca Belair against Ronda Rousey. I’m banking on the idea that Liv Morgan isn’t walking out of Extreme Rules and Crown Jewel with the SmackDown Women’s Championship. If so, and if this were Raw vs. SmackDown as per usual, Belair vs. Rousey would happen, which I think could be saved for something better down the line.
Con: No Elimination Match?
How are you going to have Survivor Series without…you know…SURVIVOR SERIES?
Before you leave a comment, I’m well aware it has happened before. In 1998, WWE deviated from the formula with the Deadly Games tournament and in 2002, the Elimination Chamber. Both are named similarly to Survivor Series and deal with the concept of eliminations in a group of matches.
They deviate from the template of 4 or 5 Superstars against each other and most likely were means of playing around to see if something else was an improvement. But they keep going back to the traditional Survivor Series elimination matches because those are the namesake.
I like it when someone can hang their hat on being “the sole survivor” of the team. It’s simple, but effective.
War Games has no elimination aspect. In fact, it’s kind of the opposite. Team members enter the match before there is eventually one decision for the victory.
If they changed War Games to suddenly become an elimination-based thing, I think that would upset people who like WarGames just the way it is. But how are we going to have Survivor Series without any elimination-based concept? Isn’t that odd, like Extreme Rules with regular singles matches?
Pro: Brand Warfare Was Dumb Anyway
For anyone thinking I just wish we had Raw vs. SmackDown, that’s not entirely true. In fact, I think the way WWE’s handled that over six years has been rather trash.
It never meant anything. No brand gained anything. There wasn’t a prize. Superstars had no actual driving force to try to win for their roster outside of pride. The heels wouldn’t care, so why would you even try to put them on your team?
Most of the time, there weren’t even rival general managers. What does Adam Pearce concern himself with if he’s running Raw and SmackDown and either team wins the overall tally?
This could have easily been explained as “the winning roster gets bonuses to their paychecks” or “the winning roster is guaranteed the final spots in the men’s and women’s Royal Rumble” which would mean you’d greatly increase your chances of getting that #30 pick.
War Games is just going to be a match for the sake of it, but at least there won’t be any confusion as to why it is happening. It will be more storyline-based, so its just a grudge match.
Con: So How Do You Make the Teams?
As mentioned above, we know The Bloodline is almost guaranteed to be the men’s heel team, with Roman Reigns, The Usos, Solo Sikoa and Sami Zayn. They’ll fight a handful of big name babyfaces that I’m sure WWE isn’t 100% set on and will figure out in the coming weeks.
But what about the women’s team?
It needs to be 4 or 5 women, right? That means Damage CTRL gets a fourth and possibly fifth member just for the sake of it? Or we get four or five random women who have nothing to do with each other? Then, why should we care?
That’s what happened often in NXT and it felt off. They just picked some of the most noteworthy names, shoved them onto a team and said “you’re feuding now, I guess.”
It looks sloppy when, instead of “Team Raw” versus “Team SmackDown”, you have “Team Bianca Belair, Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez” against “Team Damage CTRL and Rhea Ripley and Sonya Deville” or whatever.
Pro: No NXT War Games, But…
Speaking of NXT. It would sound weird to call it a pro that this means NXT isn’t getting War Games. That sounds more like a downer, right?
But in my mind, that opens up room for something else to come in to replace it. In a way, this is the “glass half full” version of this post in general, wherein I’m skeptical the change is outright good, but I’m hopeful a lack of NXT War Games allows something better to come along.
I’ve been a fan of them repurposing old pay-per-views for NXT events, like In Your House, Halloween Havoc, Vengeance Day and Roadblock. In a perfect world, they’ll continue to do that with some of the other names.
Maybe we get an NXT special episode or pay-per-view in November dubbed Fall Brawl. It could even be Starrcade again.
Just not something like Spring Breakin’. Jeez.
Con: The Logo Doesn’t Make Much Sense Anymore
This is obviously more of a nitpick to most people, but it’s still something that dawned on me. I’m a big fan of this new logo they put out there. However, if we’re not getting Raw vs. SmackDown, why is it red versus blue?
Slapping “War Games” underneath it is bleh. That’s not something that will make or break an event, and I’m sure I’m one of the very very few people who would even bother to notice or care, but hey, if iconography didn’t matter, there wouldn’t be entire businesses dedicated toward marketing, logo design and so on. It still is a thing, whether it is consciously on your mind or not.
Where do you stand on it? Are you just pumped to see War Games in general and not worried about the potential downfalls? Do you fall on the line where I am where you’re excited, but still a bit skeptical?
Drop your thoughts in the comments below!