The WWE Survivor Series matchup Saturday night from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts felt like one of the best pro wrestling events of the year.
A big part of that credit goes to Sami Zayn’s storyline in Bloodline Drama and the way he completely revived the Roman Reigns unification title story that was stuck in the purge.
The Honorable Us were largely the centerpiece of the night’s main event as Bloodline (Reigns, Solo Sequoia, Zayn and The Asos) took on the Braying Bruts (Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch), Drew McIntyre, and Kevin the Hodgepodge. went forward Owens.
It was, without exaggeration, one of the best modern bouts of wrestling storytelling ever.
The biggest distraction from the game? you go to injure If and when the bloodline turns to the saddle.
Saturday night’s events will play a big role in that. And that’s probably the point. If WWE wants to capture the lighting in a bottle that was Daniel Bryan’s “yes move” all those years ago, it’s clearly with Zayn.
But even as a stand-alone thing, the fighting game was a delight of great storytelling. Zayn had his own tension-filled dust-up with Jay Aso. After a close conversation with Reigns throughout the night, the unified champion always had a closer look at things.
And there was a long, long callback to the friendship between Zayn and Owens that was strong enough to make even the smartest fans second-guess whether the adopted Uso might just betray his new family.
And while fans understand this big vision, there’s something to be said for the sheer entertainment value of the match.
Now the question is where things are going from and at what speed. Zane would eventually find out that the bloodline might not intend to keep him around for long. While they seem to have made things complicated, Ji-Sami’s relationship remains unstable.
There’s also a real chance that Saturday night’s event will eventually lead to Zayn starring in the main event of WrestleMania 39. Maybe even a Mania season out of Rock.
It is worth noting that the WarGames game itself played an important role here, because no other survival series would have had the same weight. This meant no silly “wrestler around” stuff so more story breaks would happen. Some guys were still not allowed in the ring, as a prime example.
The new man who took over the creative reins about six months ago, Triple H, gave new prominence to the War Games stakes, among a host of other changes in WWE’s direction.
The first WarGames match of the night also took advantage of the match type. In the first, Team Bellaire (Bianca Bellaire, Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Mia, and Becky Lynch) battled Team Bayley (CTRL’s Bayley, Dakota Kai, and Ivy Skye, plus Nikki Cross and Rhea Ripley).
The game was a thriller with remarkable storytelling. Of course, the big thing is the return of Lynch as the fifth member of the team and working with her, not against Bellaire. But the little things in this match like planting the seeds for Lynch vs. Bayley and just Asuka’s mistake being able to slow down Ripley really showed respect for wrestlers and spectators alike.
Was the game an all-time classic that moved the needle dramatically? Not quite, but it was a fun episode that felt more than the usual put together Survivor Series matches. It had meaning and will have consequences.
This is a step forward in WWE’s pay-per-view schedule. None of them work in a major role without talent like Zayn, but the creative matchup kind of really allows his story to spread its wings in refreshing ways.
Perhaps it’s underselling the now 38-year-old, the clear MVP of the WWE main event scene (one can even see that acknowledgment in Reigns’ face). Few superstars can come in and do what they are doing now. He is the man who has recently destroyed a great deal of seriousness. Reigns and The Usos crack up During the live segment.
Paul Heyman himself has died down a bit in this segment thanks to Zayn, actually attacking these notes about the accepted Uso in the post-event press conference.
“Sami has brought a dynamic that none of us were ready for and we’re ready for anything,” he told reporters. “What Sami also brings is a connection with the audience that none of us can because we are too busy being the best actor in the entire industry for two years.”
That character and the range of storytelling—from silly War Games matches to serious events—make Zayn must-see TV, and he’s got Reigns and company with him. He invested, the fans invested, and Survivor Series 2022 will be remembered mostly for its moments.
This is an incredible move for a new sensation WWE that hasn’t looked this great in a long time. On Saturday night, Zayn simply proved once again that he’s the one in control of the ship, even if the man next to him is the gold-clad captain.