Skip to main content

Roman Reigns Adds Another Accolade in Surprisingly Smooth ‘Survivor Series’

Survivor Series was bookended by a pair of stellar WarGames matches, which added a new dimension to one of WWE’s signature events.

BOSTON, MA — For more than 800 days, Roman Reigns has been the focal point of WWE programming. There have been numerous accolades during this record-setting stretch, but one that eluded him was a WarGames match. That is no longer the case, as Reigns led The Bloodline to victory in the main event of Saturday’s Survivor Series.

This was a textbook Levesque-booked card. There was a story attached to every match, as well as a wide array of options from singles bouts to a triple threat to the two WarGames matches. It moved WWE one step closer to its ongoing build to WrestleMania, strengthening Kevin Owens as a contender for Reigns—and adding new layers to the friction amid Sami Zayn and The Bloodline. Becky Lynch also returned, bringing a level of stardom that is rarely matched in today’s landscape.

A tight, intense five-match card allowed Survivor Series to have a smooth flow, never dragging or overextending its welcome. The night opened and closed with the famed WarGames matches, a creation the late Dusty Rhodes first used over three decades ago in Jim Crockett Promotions. It is out of the ordinary for WWE to highlight anything that wasn’t devised within its realm, but there has been a slight evolution from that modus operandi ever since Paul “Triple H” Levesque seized controls of the company’s creative department.

Here are the results:

  • Bianca Belair, Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Mia Yim, and Asuka defeated Bayley, Iyo Sky, Dakota Kai, Rhea Ripley, and Nikki Cross in a WarGames match
  • AJ Styles defeated Finn Balor
  • Ronda Rousey defeated Shotzi Blackheart to retain the SmackDown women’s championship
  • Austin Theory defeated Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley to become the new United States champion
  • Roman Reigns, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Solo Sikoa, and Sami Zayn defeated Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch
Roman Reigns leads The Bloodline in WWE’s Survivor Series

Roman Reigns leads The Bloodline, left, in Saturday’s headliner.

The show opened with the women’s WarGames match. This was over 50 minutes of action, with highlights from all involved, especially Bianca Belair and Iyo Sky. The high spot was a leg drop from Becky Lynch off the top of the cage onto a table on Dakota Kai, which led to the pin fall. It was a perfect continuation of the storyline from this past summer, when Bayley returned at SummerSlam and introduced CTRL-Damage to attack Belair and Lynch. This was a chance for some redemption, and a perfect way to bring back Lynch.

Following a WarGames match is an extremely unenviable task, yet it was performed in a masterful manner by AJ Styles and Finn Balor. These are two of the absolute best in the world, and they were allowed to work a snug, physical bout—complete with Balor selling a body part by with a storyline injury to his lower left leg. The match intensified when The Good Brothers and Judgment Day brawled their way through the crowd, allowing the entire focus to remain on the magnificence unfolding in the ring. This was pure, old-school wrestling. It was a beauty to watch, and it ended with Styles hitting the Phenomenal Forearm for the win.

Ronda Rousey and Shotzi Blackheart struggled to connect with the crowd in their SmackDown women’s title match. There were a couple of high-risk spots, and it certainly wasn’t due to a lack of effort, but this never hit the next level. It never appeared Blackheart was going to win, and it was another lackluster showing from Rousey. It’s hard to know the exact purpose this match served; it would have been more memorable had Rousey just steamrolled Blackheart, which could have started with interference from Shayna Baszler. This was the one miss of the night.

Seth Rollins continued his 2022 Wrestler of the Year candidacy, putting forth a remarkable showing against Bobby Lashley and Austin Theory in a United States title match. Lashley, at the age of 46, is delivering some of the most impressive work of his career. He has completely mastered his presentation, and outside of Brock Lesnar, stands as WWE’s most fearsome figure. Creativity was a key part of this match, like Lashley attempting a double Hurt Lock. Theory pulled off the surprise win, the only upset of the night.

Lashley doesn’t need the U.S. title. He is headed toward another showdown with Lesnar, which is his primary focus. The only belt Rollins needs is the world title. With the crowd fully behind him, the door is open to have him win the Royal Rumble match—perhaps finally getting the better of a returning Cody Rhodes (who has beat him three times) to close out the victory—before challenging Reigns at WrestleMania.

WarGames was a fantastic touch to Survivor Series. The brand wars had long run their course, and this added a new coat of paint to one of WWE’s signature events. The show was greatly enhanced by backstage segments featuring Reigns, Zayn, and Heyman (hardly even saying a word, Heyman’s facial expressions added so much to every segment in which he appeared). Zayn is evolving into WWE’s next major babyface, and their angle has been brilliantly executed. His hug and long-awaited embrace with Jey Uso was a genuine moment, one that will long endure in the memory of this story.

The main event featured incredible character work from Zayn and Owens. Zayn hitting a low blow on Owens led to the finish, and the next step in the Zayn story arc was a perfect way to close out the show. To WWE’s credit, this was a must-see event, which has rarely been the case over the past decade at Survivor Series.

Justin Barrasso can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.