Ever since Vince McMahon joined the list of 2022 WWE departures when he announced that he was stepping down as CEO and Chairman, the sports entertainment company has undergone some drastic changes. From former superstars returning to subtle changes in the way programming is produced, the product looks and feels like something entirely different than it was at the start of the summer.
One of the biggest changes to date was the announcement that Survivor Series, which happens to be one of the “Big Four” WWE events (it dates back to Thanksgiving night in 1987), was undergoing a major facelift this November. Instead of having the traditional Survivor Series matches (elimination tag), the event will instead be headlined by two WarGames matches. And, truth be told, I couldn’t be more excited for this major shakeup. Honestly, Survivor Series WarGames is something I’ve been waiting to happen for a very long time…
WarGames Was One Of My Favorite WCW Match Premises
Words can’t express how much I love the WarGames match. One of my most vivid wrestling memories growing up was watching the history of the match on WCW Monday Nitro and seeing a clip of Bobby Eaton getting hit with the ring post (his partner, Larry Zbyszko meant to hit Sting) from WrestleWar ’92. Ever since then, I’ve been obsessed with the match, its history, and those incredibly convoluted rules that somehow don’t detract from the contest. Speaking of the rules…
For the uninitiated, the WarGames match has two teams of four or five compete in two rings placed side-by-side that are surrounded by a steel cage (the WWE version doesn’t have a roof). Before the match there is a coin toss that determines which team will briefly have an advantage after the first two competitors enter the structure. After all members of both teams have entered the ring, the contest enters what is called “The Match Beyond.” Traditionally, only a submission or knockout could end the match, but WWE added a pinfall stipulation when it brought the match back for NXT a few years ago.
Basically, the match always ends up leading to chaos, and some of professional wrestling’s most iconic moments from the latter part of the 20th Century took place during WarGames.
The Format Change Is A Breath Of Fresh Air For Survivor Series
In the past I’ve described Survivor Series as being one of my favorite nights each year, and that doesn’t change with addition of WarGames; in fact, I’m even more excited. There have been some tremendous moments from the past few Survivor Series events, but with fewer and fewer traditional elimination matches on each card, the name of the event has kind of lost its meaning. Adding WarGames to the mix adds a breath of fresh air and new life to the final “Big Four” WWE event of the year.
Only time will tell if the format sticks and WarGames becomes an annual tradition. History does show that Triple H is a big fan of WarGames, especially when you consider the match has had its own NXT event since 2017 (more on those later). Overall, I think this is a move in the right direction for the show, even if it doesn’t replace the Survivor Series matches.
The Change Shows Triple H’s Impact On WWE Creative
There have already been a lot of changes made in terms of the creative since Triple H took over creative following Vince McMahon’s departure, and the addition of the WarGames matches to the upcoming Survivor Series is just the latest example. For the longest time, it felt like McMahon would cut the nose to spite the face when it came to using matches and concepts first created by Jim Crockett Promotions and WCW, even though he literally owned it all for 20-plus years. WarGames showed up on NXT starting in 2017, but it never made its way to the main roster despite being an incredibly popular matchtype.
Triple H, who Drew McIntyre described as a “wrestling historian” during an August 2022 Sky Sports interview, has long been a proponent of highlighting the sport's past as opposed to acting like everything not created by WWE doesn’t exist. In the past, it was Triple H’s NXT that brought back the WCW October event, Halloween Havoc, in addition to the WarGames setup.
The WarGames Matches Can Put WWE’s Stables To Good Use
Wrestling has always been at its best when there are numerous stables in any given promotion, and WWE’s current collection is looking great. With Roman Reigns’ The Bloodline, Judgment Day (despite its major shakeups), Damage CTRL, The Brawling Brutes, Imperium, Hit Row, and quite possibly a new version of the Wyatt Family on the way, there are plenty of factions that could take part in WarGames come November. And, this doesn’t even include individual tag teams that come from coalitions like Sting’s Squadron or the Dangerous Alliance way back when.
Upon first breaking the news that WarGames was finally coming to the WWE’s main roster, The Ringer reported that there will be two matches: one male and one female. This could be the perfect way to see The Bloodline all wrestling together to take on another faction. Plus, it would be great to see Paul Heyman strategizing decades after assisting the Dangerous Alliance at WrestleWar ’92. There’s just so much potential here.
Some Of The Best NXT Matches Used The WarGames Setup
Between 2017 and 2021, there were a total of eight WarGames matches in NXT, and pretty much all of them were, to quote Jim Ross, barnburners. The first match, which was held at 2017’s TakeOver: WarGames, was a near-perfect bout between The Undisputed Era, Sanity, and The Authors of Pain, and Roderick Strong, was an instant classic, and showed that the new and improved spin on the classic matchtype was more than just some nostalgia trip.
Since then, male and female WarGames matches have shown what NXT superstars (most of which have since been called up to the main roster) could do in the limelight and put their bodies on the line to give it their all. A lot of these matches have included The Undisputed Era, who are all gone besides Roderick Strong, were a part of most of these matches, but someone else can step up and take their spot in November.
These are just a few of the reasons I’m beyond stoked to watch Survivor Series WarGames when it air live Saturday, November 26, 2022 on Peacock Premium. But, there are even more upcoming WWE events that have me excited.
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Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or chatting about professional wrestling to his wife. Writing gigs with school newspapers, multiple daily newspapers, and other varied job experiences led him to this point where he actually gets to write about movies, shows, wrestling, and documentaries (which is a huge win in his eyes). If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.