Friday, February 23, 2024
EditorialWeak Links & Anchors of WarGames Teams at WWE Survivor Series 2023

Weak Links & Anchors of WarGames Teams at WWE Survivor Series 2023

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Each Survivor Series team is only as good as the sum of its parts, and that applies to WarGames as well. After all, you wouldn’t want to go into battle with people you don’t trust to have your back and get the job done, right?

Contrary to the Raw vs. SmackDown concept, where people are just thrown together on the same team regardless of their feelings, just because they’re on the same show, WarGames is built around having actual camaraderie. These people are choosing to stand alongside each other as a united front against a common enemy.

That in and of itself implies working well together, but this is, after all, a contest. Someone is going to have to lose. And when that happens, it will be one person eating a pinfall or tapping out, failing for their squad.

With that in mind, who are the anchors holding these teams together and the weak links that may make them fall apart?

Let’s break down the four teams and assess the damage!

TEAM DAMAGE CTRL
Asuka, Bayley, Iyo Sky and Kairi Sane

This is the easiest group to call, by a long shot. Obviously, the two diametric opposites of Damage CTRL at this particular moment are Iyo Sky on top with the championship and Bayley on the low end as the odd woman out. That is, unless you count Dakota Kai sitting on the sidelines with an injury, but that’s not exactly fair.

Sky hasn’t been an infallible champion by any means, but she’s not exactly pulling a Roman Reigns and being incapable of winning matches without interference. Arguably, she’s booked better right now than any other time in her WWE career, save for maybe her NXT women’s champion run. When you factor in how she has been instrumental in bringing back Kairi Sane, as well as her tight bond with Asuka, she’s holding this team together.

Bayley, the de facto leader, is doing the alternative of that. Instead of leading by example, she’s being pushed further and further out of the spotlight. Not only does she not even speak the same language as her three teammates, she isn’t even in on most of the planning, it seems. That is going to lead to some problematic synergy—or, lack thereof—whenever Bayley is involved.

If Damage CTRL wins, it won’t be because of Bayley. A loss, though, will certainly be on her end, taking the fall for her team.

Team Anchor = Iyo Sky | Weak Link = Bayley

BIANCA BELAIR’S TEAM
Becky Lynch, Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair and Shotzi

One of these things is not like the others. Shotzi has a lot of upsides, but one thing no one can deny is that she’s in more powerful company than what she brings to the table.

Lynch, Belair and Flair are all multi-time women’s champions. They’ve won Royal Rumbles, stood tall at WrestleMania in title matches (including even main events) and been the focal points of Raw and SmackDown for years. Each of those three have had phases where they’ve dominated the competition and been the primary woman in WWE.

Shotzi, on the other hand, has only once won the NXT women’s tag titles for a 55 day reign. It’s not a zero-sum accomplishment by any means, but it’s in no way comparable to the others.

Easily, if this team comes up short, it will be because of Shotzi. Granted, WWE could always go with a swerve and know that everyone would expect that, only for something to happen where Flair gets pinned to shock us, but it’s doubtful.

Harder to guess would be the anchor of the team. When those other three have the track records they do, there isn’t a downside to having them on the team—outside of one element: Flair and Lynch potentially not getting along. That story hasn’t been quite at the forefront of this random “call up Becky to go between brands because, why not?” type angle, but it could always rear its ugly head again.

Forced to make a pick, I would say Belair is the default anchor. Not only is she the designated leader of this team in spirit, but she could be the one that gets Lynch and Flair to set aside their differences and work together if any problems do arise.

Team Anchor = Bianca Belair | Weak Link = Shotzi

TEAM JUDGMENT DAY
Damian Priest, Dominik Mysterio, Drew McIntyre, Finn Balor and JD McDonagh

It’s amazing how a year passes by and suddenly, Dominik Mysterio isn’t the weak link of his team. His time as NXT North American champion is a typical weasel heel run and not the unstoppable juggernaut approach, but it’s still a step in a positive direction. On the other hand, JD McDonagh has been the whipping boy of The Judgment Day for long enough that he makes Dom look like he’s way more capable in comparison.

Judgment Day does have an outsider in Drew McIntyre, but the Scottish Warrior is the biggest guy in the match (as tall as Damian Priest, but also bulkier). It’s doubtful he would be creating any problems.

Arguably, he’s the anchor. After all, even Priest calling dibs on the leadership role doesn’t mean that he has been showing many signs that he’s able to do that well. If anything, The Judgment Day hasn’t respected his being in charge and has continued to default to Rhea Ripley, who won’t be directing traffic in this match.

That could lead to even more friction, and with McDonagh on thin ice with Priest after all these months, those two could be a deadly combination for The Judgment Day’s chances, if McIntyre isn’t able to Claymore kick someone’s head off to compensate.

Team Anchor = Drew McIntyre | Weak Link = JD McDonagh

TEAM CODY RHODES
Cody Rhodes, Jey Uso, Randy Orton, Sami Zayn and Seth Rollins

Is there a weak link to this team? That’s a tough call, but there are two names that could be potentials.

First and foremost, oddly enough, is Randy Orton. This is, naturally, not an assessment of his career status as a future first-ballot Hall of Famer, but in how his condition is an unknown. The Apex Predator has been out a very long time with a serious injury that had the potential to put him in retirement. Is he ready to go, especially for such a brutal contest? Or will he fall short of carrying his load, have someone take advantage of his back and be less of the secret weapon and more of the vulnerable point?

Also, can you ever really trust The Viper not to coil up and hit one of his own teammates with an RKO?

Alternatively, there’s Seth Rollins. Again, that sounds strange, particularly given how he’s the current top champion on the brand and a future Hall of Famer in his own right, but he also has been dealing with a back injury. That, at least in storyline logic, should only be worse than what it was when he was feuding with Shinsuke Nakamura, shouldn’t it? The guy hasn’t rested and he’s going to be heading into a WarGames match.

Rollins also has two other things, though, that make him stand out as a potential weak link. Like the idea of Orton turning on his team, Rollins doesn’t get along with Cody Rhodes. Though they’ve seemingly buried the hatchet in a few ways, it was specifically pointed out numerous times how they are not buds like Jey Uso has become with Sami Zayn and Cody. This is a partnership through a mutual dislike of The Judgment Day, rather than a friendship spawned from genuine affinity.

Maybe Rollins gets annoyed at Cody directing traffic and tries to steer the ship himself, leading to some communication problems. Are you going to listen to the team leader, or the champ? That’s a tough call.

On top of that, Rollins being the champion means he should arguably have his priority on that belt, rather than a match that doesn’t ultimately matter. Neither team gets anything whatsoever for winning this. It’s just bragging rights. The Judgment Day aren’t set to disband if they lose and Seth’s title isn’t on the line. Would you risk everything to win this, sacrificing your title reign and leaving you vulnerable to dropping your belt? Or would you, if you found yourself caught in a submission that was especially painful, just tap out and live to fight another day? Rollins can be rah-rah gung-ho for the team up until the moment he has to make the selfish play, and then, put himself first.

Picking a team anchor would rather safely go to Cody Rhodes. He’s had the best overall win-loss record of anyone on this team, is essentially the most over babyface in the company at the moment, has the drive to spearhead this team and is the glue holding it together via friendship with Jey and Sami, as well as bringing Orton on board. If there are any issues with Rollins, it will undoubtedly be because The Visionary steps out of line, rather than Cody being too domineering and failing as a leader. He might not get the win for his team, necessarily, but he’ll certainly do the best job trying to usher that in for this squad compared to how the others would fair in the same position.

Team Anchor = Cody Rhodes | Weak Link = Seth Rollins

What is your assessment of these teams? Drop your thoughts of weak links and anchor teammates in the comments below!

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