Saturday, March 2, 2024
EditorialRounding Out This Year’s WarGames Teams for Survivor Series 2023

Rounding Out This Year’s WarGames Teams for Survivor Series 2023



While there have been instances of the contrary, the tagline for Survivor Series used to be “teams of five fight to survive.” Just the same, WarGames matches have had a few varieties of numbers for its teams over the years, going back to its origins in WCW.

This year, WWE has curiously set up a situation where the numbers game has to be called into question. Currently, there is one confirmed 4-on-4 match, with another 4-on-3 set up. Not only does that final member of the women’s match need to be settled on, but WWE has aired a commercial specifically talking about how the WarGames match includes teams of 5, calling into question just how that will be true and which Superstars will make up the remaining members.

Will both matches be 5-on-5? If so, why is there a graphic that seems to confirm 4-on-4 for the men? Who will that final woman—or the remaining 3 women—be in that match?

Let’s dive into some of the ways WWE could solve this problem.

Men’s WarGames Match

As it stands, you’d think the men’s match is final. The Judgment Day’s side consists of its full members, as well as its perennial sideliner JD McDonagh. There is no means to put Rhea Ripley in there, as this isn’t an intergender match (and she’s defending her title against Zoey Stark, anyway), and no one else is an actual member or a strong ally.

However, if there is a fifth member, and the commercial isn’t just lying or a misrepresentation of the numbers that was made prior to the decision to make it 4-on-4, then we have to look at options for who could be a feasible fifth man.

Immediately, Drew McIntyre stands out to me. Not only is that a rumor going around, but he’s simply in the best possible position for it. Realistically, it has to be a heel, who is most likely on the Raw roster (as everyone else in this match is), who isn’t otherwise tied into another storyline (like Gunther), and who could be associated in some fashion with the people involved. Given how McIntyre just fought Seth Rollins at Crown Jewel and has had numerous interactions with The Judgment Day trying to recruit him as of late, he’s far more likely to become an ally—at least, temporarily—than someone like Shinsuke Nakamura, Bronson Reed, or Ivar. Certainly, it wouldn’t be someone out of left field like Jinder Mahal, and no one from NXT has been allied with North American champion Dominik Mysterio, either, so there really aren’t any other options.

That would require the babyfaces to add someone else to their team, too. Arguably, that is the more interesting question to ponder here, as it isn’t as straightforward.

Mostly everyone on Raw can be ruled out. It wouldn’t make sense to pick one person out of Alpha Academy, The Creed Brothers, DIY or The New Day. The Miz has his Intercontinental Championship match with Gunther. Ricochet was involved in that hunt and is apparently in concussion protocol. Kevin Owens is on SmackDown. Even if we stretched the idea to include him, he’s moved on from this feud and has his eyes on Logan Paul, Grayson Waller and Austin Theory. So who else is left?

Some fans are setting themselves up for disappointment, I believe, in thinking that CM Punk will be this fifth person. Granted, if they do announce there will be a mystery partner, that is immediately going to ignite the Chicago crowd in thinking that stands a bigger chance. But I do think that we’re going to see the return of someone—just not Punk.

Randy Orton is my pick. He doesn’t have a feud with The Judgment Day, but he does have a built-in connection with Cody Rhodes, who could call upon his former teammate from Legacy as an ace up his sleeve to even things out. That could lead to not only The Viper going up against people from The Judgment Day going forward, but also even McIntyre, if WWE is looking for another opponent for him over the coming months. Down the line, it would also lead to a stronger unity between Rhodes and Orton to set up a feud when things go south (hopefully with Rhodes winning the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania 40 and eventually having to defend it against The Apex Predator.)

My guess is WWE either filmed that commercial thinking it would be 5-on-5, hoped nobody would notice, and it’s sticking 4-on-4, or that there are plans to put McIntyre on Team Judgment Day with Orton joining Team Rhodes to balance it out. Anything short of those two scenarios would be shocking to me.

Women’s WarGames Match

Even if the 5-on-5 setup isn’t true this year, the women’s match is still missing at least one person on the babyface side. Currently, it appears Bayley, Iyo Sky, Kairi Sane and Asuka are locked for the heels, with Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair and Shotzi being thrown in at the last second, succumbing to a disadvantage.

I’ll state this outright: even if WWE does go with 5-on-5 for the men, I think there’s more of a chance the women’s match stays 4-on-4 than that it expands to including 10 Superstars. It’s illogical and unbalanced, sure, but WWE has never shied away from doing things that make no sense. That’s not my ideal or how I would do things, but we’re talking about a company that has broken its own rules more times than anyone can count, and frequently just tells fans to not think about the things that make no sense and just go with the flow.

Assuming it’s 4-on-4, the heel side is covered, but the babyfaces need one more to their ranks. Unfortunately, no one is an obvious pick. While Belair said lots of people hate Damage CTRL, most of the women on SmackDown haven’t been involved in this storyline whatsoever.

For instance, B-Fab is just hanging around Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits. Tamina Snuka is MIA entirely. That leaves Alba Fyre, Isla Dawn, Michin, Scarlett and Zelina Vega.

Zelina is the most prominent other babyface, but considering she did absolutely nothing this week to get involved, and was only concerned about Santos Escobar turning on Rey Mysterio, I think she might be only a backup option.

Michin’s been absent for a while and isn’t involved, but WWE could take the lazy approach (like with Shotzi’s inclusion at the end of this brawl) by just having her be backstage, bump into Damage CTRL, get into an argument/fight and suddenly, she’s on the babyface team, too. It’s uninspired, but that’s what happens when you book pay-per-views to just be “Oh, it’s November. I guess we need to sort out WarGames teams.” It’s the same problem WWE had with Hell in a Cell, but no one learned that lesson, I guess.

Scarlett did just recently host NXT Halloween Havoc alongside Shotzi, and they are friends, so there’s something there. But she’s only stepped in the ring a handful of times in her WWE career. I doubt she’s going to be thrust into this storyline to become the extra member of that team.

Then, with Fyre and Dawn, it wouldn’t make sense to pick just one of them. Plus, they’re heels, so unless a turn is in the works, that wouldn’t fit, either.

However, that’s where the 5-on-5 comes into play. I don’t think it will happen, but there’s a greater than 0% chance Belair, Flair and Shotzi are joined by a freshly babyface Dawn and Fyre, and Damage CTRL is able to have Dakota Kai back in time to compete as the fifth member of their squad. No one else would make any sense to pick on the heel side, so it’s that or nothing.

My ultimate prediction is that it stays 4-on-4 and WWE just slots Michin into the babyface team, or that there’s a backstage segment where Zelina gets ridiculed by Damage CTRL for the LWO not being as tight of a unit in comparison, leading to Vega being the fourth teammate.

What do you think will end up being the lineup for these two WarGames matches? Drop your predictions in the comments below!

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