The John Report: WWE Survivor Series 2023 Review

wwe survivor series wargames review 2023

It’s WWE Survivor Series featuring Men’s & Women’s WarGames matches, two title matches, and more.

The 37th annual WWE Survivor Series Premium Live Event is here. I have reviewed them all and I’m a big fan of the Survivor Series event historically. It was last year when WWE decided to scrap the traditional Survivor Series matches and replace them with two WarGames matches.

Prior to 2022, WarGames matches were in NXT from 2017 to 2021. It was a big change made by Triple H since he took over the WWE creative team in July 2022. I think it has made Survivor Series better. The negative thing is that there are only five matches and only two title matches, but there is plenty of star power on the show.

There’s a lot of excitement about this show especially compared to the last three PLEs. The reason for the excitement is because of the WarGames matches, the return of Randy Orton after 18 months away and rumors of people outside of WWE showing up at the show.

There were no matches on the Kickoff Show. Without further Apu, let’s get to it.

WWE Survivor Series
From Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois
November 25, 2023

It was the usual excellent video package to start the show. It built up the two WarGames matches coming up on the show.

The Chicago crowd was on fire to start the show. They were very loud. No pyro to start the show. Michael Cole announced the attendance at 17,138 people. They opened up more seats in the building and don’t have much of an entrance area because of it. That’s fine with me because it gets more fans in the building.

Michael Cole and Corey Graves were on commentary with Ruffles chips displayed in front of them.

The 15-foot-high WarGames cage was lowered over the two rings as sirens went off in the building. It was the Women’s WarGames match up first.

Bianca Belair was up first for her team with Cole saying she was the team captain. Shotzi was next. They had the two shark cages by the entrance area with referees standing by to keep wrestlers in there until it was their time to enter the match. Charlotte Flair was the third woman to be introduced for her team followed by Becky Lynch up last. Lynch touched fists with Belair & Shotzi while simply nodding at Flair. Lynch started the match while the other three women went into the shark cage.

Damage CTRL entered together while wearing Asuka masks to show their solidarity as a team. Bayley started the match for her team.

Women’s WarGames Match: Damage CTRL – IYO SKY, Bayley, Asuka & Kairi Sane vs. Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, Shotzi & Becky Lynch

The Belair team got the advantage due to fan vote. The babyface team is always going to win a fan vote.

Becky Lynch and Bayley started the first five-minute period of the match. Lynch was in control early on sending Bayley into the turnbuckle a few times. Bayley came back with punches, but Lynch hit a flying forearm. Lynch went up top, Bayley went after her and it turned into a slugfest as they exchanged punches. Lynch hit a running clothesline. Lynch hit a Bexploder Suplex. Bayley tossed Lynch into the cage two times in a row. They were fighting in the near ring, so Bayley gave Lynch a suplex on the steel in between the two rings. They went into the far ring where Lynch sent Bayley into the cage. Lynch dropkicked Bayley into the cage repeatedly. Lynch went for the Disarm-her submission, so Dakota Kai arrived at ringside and hit Lynch with a kendo stick. Bayley hit Lynch with the kendo stick a few times.

It was Shotzi up next for the Belair team. Shotzi slammed the door onto Bayley. Shotzi brought several chairs and a trash can into the ring. The fans chanted for a “table” and Shotzi didn’t bring one in, so the fans booed that. It was three minutes until the next entrant. Shotzi hit a flipping slam on Bayley. Shotzi jumped off a chair with a senton splash onto Bayley’s back. Shotzi went for a suicide dive from one ring to the other, but Bayley caught her with a neckbreaker. Lynch went after Bayley with kendo stick shots to the back. Bayley tried to climb up the cage to get away, but Lynch and Shotzi went after her. The three women battled on the top rope where Lynch sent Bayley into the cage and Bayley was knocked down. Lynch and Shotzi hit a double team forearm on Bayley.

The WWE Women’s Champion IYO SKY was next for Damage CTRL with Sky bring a steel chain into the ring. Cole noted it was Sky’s fifth WarGames match. Sky got some offense with the chain followed by Sky moving from ring to ring with a missile dropkick. Sky hit double knee attacks on both opponents. Bayley and Sky hit a double superplex on Lynch off the top rope.

Bianca Belair was up third for her team. Belair used her hair to whip Sky and Bayley repeatedly. Belair sent Sky face first into a garbage can that was wedged against the turnbuckle. Belair hit a spinebuster on Bayley. Belair punched Sky in the head repeatedly, but then Sky and Bayley held onto Belair hair braid. Belair managed to do a flip followed by a double suplex. Shotzi hit a top rope splash and Lynch hit a leg drop off the top as the babyface team stood tall with a 3-on-2 advantage.

It was Kairi Sane as the third entrant for the Damage CTRL team. Sane brought in a trash can lid to hit Shotzi in the head and dropkick Lynch. Sane went after Belair in the far ring with a headscissors and a dropkick. Sane hit a sliding forearm on Belair, who was against the cage. Shotzi was placed under three chairs leading to Sky launching Sane into the air and Sane hit an elbow drop on the chairs onto Shotzi. That was a cool move. Belair got a hold of Sane and launched her from one ring into another as Sane went crashing on her two teammates. The heel trio got back up and took control briefly.

The final member of the Belair team was Charlotte Flair in her first WarGames match. Flair hit a backbreaker followed by a fallaway slam. Flair chopped Sky repeatedly. Flair gave Sane a fallaway slam into the ropes. Sky went for a hurricanrana, but Flair caught her and Flair launched Sky into the steel cage. Flair hit a shoulder tackle along with a kick to the head. Flair jumped off the top with a double blockbuster or maybe a Natural Selection on two opponents. Lynch and Flair had a staredown, so Sky & Sane shoved them into eachother. Flair climbed to the top rope with Sky on her shoulders, but Sky knocked Flair down. Sky dropped the chain down to Dakota Kai, who hooked it up to a garbage can. Sky pulled the garbage can up while Sky was on the top of the cage. Sky stood on top of the cage with a trash can jumped off with the trash can on her upper budy. Sky jumped off the top of cage with the trash can on and went crashing on everybody in the ring! That was crazy. Good job Iyo Sky. The fans chanted “holy shit” for it.

Asuka was the last woman to enter the match to make it 4-on-4. That meant that the match could end at any point moving forward since all eight woman were in the match. Asuka brought multiple kendo sticks into the ring along with a table and a fire extinguisher. The bell rang as ring announcer Samantha Irvin announced: “And now let the WarGames begin!”

The Damage CTRL team was in full control with kendo sticks being used against their babyface opponents. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Lynch and Belair were chained together as the four Damage CTRL women all hit running dropkicks on their rivals. Shotzi went after Asuka on the top rope, but Asuka sprayed blue mist in Shotzi’s face. Asuka jumped off the top rope with a missile dropkick on Lynch with Lynch having a trash can on her head. Asuka covered Lynch for a two count. There was a referee in each ring to count pinfalls or see the submissions. Asuka, Sane and Bayley set up a table in the near ring.

Bayley and Sky went after Flair on the top rope, but Lynch and Belair hit Powerbombs on both heels. Flair went up top on the corner of the steel cage. The fans were rising as Flair went up top and hit a moonsault off the top of the cage! That was crazy and it looked like her knee hit Sky in the top of the head. That’s painful for Sky, who was holding her head on the mat. Flair covered Bayley for a two count. Flair and Lynch hit a double suplex along with a double Powerbomb. Flair and Lynch hugged eachother in the ring with the fans cheering it. Asuka and Sky went for pin attempts. Flair applied a Figure Eight submission on Sky while Lynch did an armbar on Asuka. Bayley broke up Flair’s submission with an elbow drop. Sane jumped off the top with an elbow, but Lynch got the knees up to stop. Lynch with a Disarm-her submission on Sane but Bayley hit a running knee on Lynch. Shotzi hit a top rope cross body block on Asuka for a two count leading to Bayley making another save for her team.

Lynch and Sane were fighting in the near ring. Lynch it a reverse DDT. Bayley hit a Roseplant on Lynch. Shotzi hit a reverse bulldog out of the corner. Belair used the fire extinguisher spray on Asuka to prevent Asuka from doing the mist again. A chair to the back knocked Belair down, Shotzi with a suplex and Sane used a garbage can lid to knock down Shotzi. Flair hit a Spear on Bayley because Bayley shoved Sane out of the way. Shotzi hit a top rope senton on Bayley. Belair hit a KOD (Kiss of Death) on Bayley. The four babyfaces were all standing as Lynch gave Bayley a Manhandle Slam through the table. Lynch pinned Bayley for the one…two…and three. It went 33:34.

Winners by pinfall: Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, Shotzi & Becky Lynch

Analysis: ****1/4 I thought it was an excellent match. They got plenty of time to tell a story and it was really fun to watch. Give a lot of credit to Iyo Sky and Charlotte Flair hitting those impressive moves off the top. Those moves are not easy to do, but Sky’s spot with the trash can was very creative while Flair did a great job with her moonsault. That moment with Flair and Lynch hugging was cool because there were questions about if they would be able to work together, so having that spot in the match was a smart thing to do. Bayley kept on making the save for her teammates throughout the match, but in the end it was Bayley getting pinned. That could led to Bayley getting kicked out of the group she created just because of the changes in the group. I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s a possibility. Lynch getting the win for her team is similar to last year when Lynch won for the babyface team a year ago as well. Overall, I really enjoyed it with the weapons being used throughout the match, some highspots that really worked and an ending that made the fans happy.

The foursome of Belair, Flair, Lynch & Shotzi celebrated the win with the crowd cheering the whole time. The four women climbed up to the top of the cage to sit on top of the cage and celebrate the win.

Analysis: The fans really loved this foursome. I’m happy for Shotzi being involved with three of the biggest names in the women’s division. It’s a good thing for all of them, but also for Shotzi looking like a bigger star by being in this match.

There was a backstage scene with Chelsea Green, Piper Niven, Otis, Akira Tozawa & Maxxine Dupri watching on a TV backstage. They were all eating Ruffles. Pretty Deadly showed up calling them “crisps” instead of chips. Pretty Deadly knocked the chips down and R-Truth was there. The fans popped huge for it. R-Truth said they were Ruffles, they are good and you can taste the meat in them. Tozawa did the Ruffle Shuffle, which is the dance that he does.

Analysis: That was just was Ruffles ad. It was good to see R-Truth back. I have missed his comedy since he’s been out of action with a leg injury.

A commercial aired for the WWE Royal Rumble on January 27, 2024.

Sami Zayn was backstage talking with Jey Uso. Zayn said that Randy Orton is still not there. Jey said he knew this would happen. Jey said that he put him on the shelf almost two years ago. There were “CM Punk” chants in the crowd, but I think they got muted. Zayn said there was history here because they went into WarGames together last year and they are doing it together again. Zayn said he has Jey’s back tonight. They hugged. Jey said he was going to holler at Cody.

A video aired about the Intercontinental Championship match coming up between champion GUNTHER and challenger The Miz.

The Miz made his entrance with the fans cheering him since he was in babyface mode. The Miz trails only Chris Jericho (Cole mentioned him) for the most Intercontinental Title reigns in WWE history. The Miz is at eight while Jericho has nine, so if Miz wins he ties Jericho for the record. GUNTHER was up next as the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time. He was not joined by his Imperium buddies.

Intercontinental Championship: GUNTHER vs. The Miz

They wrestled in the far ring for this match. The Miz got some strikes in early, but Gunther stopped that with a hard chop to the chest. Miz went after Gunther with chops and punches. Miz delivered a hard lefty slap to the face. Miz tripped up Gunther by the ropes and Miz rammed Gunther’s right leg into the apron. Miz rammed Gunther’s left leg against the ring post. Miz applied the ringpost Figure Four Leglock around the ringpost like Bret Hart used to do. Miz tried a springboard attack, but Gunther stopped that with a boot to the face. Gunther worked over Miz with chops along with a boot to the head. Miz came back with kicks to the body along with chops, but Gunther chopped Miz down again. Gunther hit a body slam. Gunther slipped behind Miz leading to a German Suplex. Gunther kicked Miz to keep him down as the Chicago crowd booed the champion. Gunther went for a Powerbomb, Miz fought back with punches and hit a hurricanrana. Miz kicked Gunther’s left knee a few times. Miz hit a knee drop to the back of Gunther’s left leg which was against the ropes. Miz kicked Gunther in the body and left leg a few times. Miz connected with kicks to the upper body. Gunther came back with a chop to the chest. Gunther with a lift, but Miz floated around leading to a spinning DDT looking like Rey Mysterio for a two count. Gunther tossed Miz down leading to a dropkick. Gunther hit a Powerbomb for a two count. Gunther has beaten many people with that move, so Gunther sold it like he was shocked by it. Gunther applied a sleeper hold, Miz went to the turnbuckle and Miz pulled the turnbuckle pad off. The referee was looking at the exposed turnbuckle, Miz hit a back kick to the knee and a more direct low blow kick to the groin! Miz hit a Skull Crushing Finale for one…two…no! Gunther got his shoulder up. The fans thought that was it.

Gunther went for a sleeper, Miz drove Gunther into the turnbuckle and Gunther’s shoulder hit the turnbuckle. Miz countered into a pin attempt for a two count. They exchanged kicks followed by Gunther hitting a big clothesline. Gunther went up top and hit a splash to The Miz’s back. Graves made a great point saying Gunther was protecting his knee. Gunther applied a Boston Crab/Liontamer submission with the knee into the back and Miz tapped out to give Gunther the win. It went 12:20.

Winner by pinfall: GUNTHER

Analysis: ***3/4 That was very good for a match that didn’t go long like a 20-minute match, but it was fast-paced and full of action from the moment it began. Those nearfalls for The Miz were really well done with Miz hitting his finisher for one of them and then Miz countering the sleeper for another nearfall. I thought Miz was really impressive with some of the moves that he did. That counter move he did to a DDT isn’t something Miz usually does, but he pulled it off well. Gunther always has awesome matches, so that’s not a surprise at all.

Gunther celebrated his win as his IC Title reign continues at 533 days and counting.

Analysis: In a month from now I’ll be writing my 2023 WWE Johnny Awards. I think Gunther will be a contender for a lot of those awards, especially Wrestler of the Year. Gunther is awesome.

There were some commercials promoting WWE Shop, Credit One Bank and other things.

The Judgment Day’s Damian Priest, Finn Balor, JD McDonagh & Dominik Mysterio were in their locker room talking about how Randy Orton might not be there. Finn Balor laughed about it saying that Orton is going to poison them from the inside. Damian Priest left saying he’ll go talk to Drew McIntyre about it.

A video package aired for the Santos Escobar-Dragon Lee match. Escobar took out Rey Mysterio and Carlito, so Dragon Lee is in the match.

Santos Escobar was up first with the fans booing him. Cole trashed Escobar for his actions. Escobar had kinesio tape on his left shoulder. Dragon Lee was up next making his main roster WWE PLE singles match debut.

Dragon Lee vs. Santos Escobar

They were wrestling in the near ring. Escobar was in control early on with a double knee attack against the turnbuckle. They left the ring with Escobar sending Lee into the steel steps. Escobar teased a leg attack by the steel steps, but Lee fought back. Lee kicked Escobar to knock him back. Lee jumped over the top rope leading to a hurricanrana off the apron to the floor. Lee hit a somersault dive over the top onto Escobar on the floor. Lee hit a running knee for a two count as the fans chanted “Dragon Lee” for the masked star. Lee sent Escobar into the turnbuckle and Lee kicked Escobar to knock him back. Lee went up top, Escobar kicked Lee off the turnbuckle and Escobar hit a top rope hurricanrana for a two count. Escobar ripped at Lee’s mask to try to take it off, but it didn’t happen. Escobar went up top, Lee tripped him up and Lee hit a double foot stomp off the top for two. Lee did a running charge at Escobar, who hit Lee with a superkick. They exchanged forearms, Lee hit a running knee and Escobar hit a running knee. Lee hit a sitout Powerbomb for a two count to show off his power. The fans chanted “Dragon Lee” for those moves. Escobar hit a Canadian Destroyer followed by a Phantom Driver for the pinfall win at 7:49.

Winner by pinfall: Santos Escobar

Analysis: ***1/4 A decisive win for Escobar as a heel that just turned recently, so it make sense for him to win and continue his momentum. I thought Lee did a nice job with his offense as he got the crowd behind him, but then Escobar put an end to the match with two moves. Going under ten minutes is a bit of a surprise although I’m okay with it because it makes Escobar look better by picking up a win like that. A Destroyer and Phantom Driver were all that Escobar needed to get the win.

A commercial aired for NXT Deadline in two weeks on December 9th. There were a bunch of commercials after that including LA Knight in a Slim Jim commercial.

A car was shown driving up to the arena. It was The New Day’s Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston driving a Slim Jim car. They got out of the car and had some Slim Jim’s with them.

The video package was shown for the Rhea Ripley-Zoey Stark match.

Zoey Stark was up first with some warpaint on her face. This match is presented by Slim Jim. Rhea Ripley was up next as the dominant Women’s World Champion. The fans gave her a loud reaction since she’s a big star. Ripley always has a unique look for her matches.

Women’s World Championship: Rhea Ripley vs. Zoey Stark

They were in the far ring for this match. They are both heels although Ripley is cheered by some fans. Stark hit a dropkick that sent Ripley out of the ring. Stark jumped off the top with a cross body block on Ripley on the floor. Back in the ring, Stark hit a missile dropkick for two. Stark went for a leaping attack, so Ripley hit her with a headbutt. They battled on the apron with Stark hitting a DDT on the apron. Stark hit a corkscrew senton onto Ripley for two. They left the ring with Ripley sending Stark face first into the apron. Ripley sent Stark into the ringpost. Back in the ring, Ripley hit a couple of headbutts. Ripley powered Stark into her arms and hit a suplex for two. Ripley grounded Stark by pulling back on the arms along with a stomp on the back. Ripley hit a running dropkick to keep Stark down. Ripley worked over Stark with strikes. Ripley put Stark up on the top rope, they exchanged strikes again and Ripley tossed Stark off the top rope. Ripley charged leading to Stark hitting a superkick for two. Stark got a rollup for two. Ripley hit an elbow to the head along with a rising kick to the head. Ripley hit a spinning front slam and a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Stark came back with a German Suplex along with a running kick for two. Ripley blocked a Z360 attempt, Ripley hit a headbutt and Ripley hit Riptide for the pinfall win at 9:17. Ripley laid on top of Stark for the pin, which probably makes some fans happy.

Winner by pinfall: Rhea Ripley

Analysis: *** I think doing a match between two heels is tough, but the crowd was into the match for the most part. With that said, I don’t think any of the nearfalls that Stark got were that strong in terms of making the fans think that she had a shot to win. Stark is technically sound and has a lot of moves that look good, but she’s just not at a point where fans would think of her as a threat to Ripley. It was the second title match on the show where it was obvious that the champion was going to retain. That’s not a complaint. It’s just a statement that Ripley is a dominant champion.

Rhea Ripley celebrated with her Women’s World Title. They showed some replays and plugged Slim Jim a lot. Ripley: “This is my championship.”

There was a WWE Shop video with the Alpha Academy shilling merchandise items.

The announcers mentioned that immediately following WarGames, the Survivor Series Press Conference will take place.

The babyface team of Cody Rhodes, Sami Zayn Jey Uso and Seth “Freakin” Rollins were in the locker room. Sami, Jey & Seth were freaking out about Randy Orton not being there. Cody said that Orton would be there. Cody told them to trust him. That match is next.

A video package aired to set up the Men’s WarGames Match featuring some of the biggest names on the Raw brand.

Drew McIntyre was up first for The Judgment Day team even though he’s not officially in that group. The Judgment Day foursome of Damian Priest, Finn Balor, Dominik Mysterio & JD McDonagh all walked out together. They all had matching bandanas. Priest and Drew had a long staredown. Balor went to the ring to start the match. While Dom & JD went into the shark cage, Drew & Priest kept staring at eachother.

Cody Rhodes was up first as the captain of his team. The fans were really loud for Cody’s entrance as usual. Jey Uso was next with the fans cheering for him as well. Jey climbed the shark cage and the fans did the arm swinging with him. Drew was very angry in the cage. Sami Zayn was next up for the babyface team with the fans popping for him and singing his song too. Seth “Freakin” Rolins, the World Heavyweight Champion, was next with the fans singing his song just like they do everywhere he goes. Rollins hugged Sami and Jey while also shaking Cody’s hand. Rolins went down to the ring to start the match. The three babyfaces were locked in their cage so there was no Randy Orton yet.

Men’s WarGames Match: Cody Rhodes, Seth “Freakin” Rollins, Jey Uso, Sami Zayn & Randy Orton vs. The Judgment Day (Damian Priest, Finn Balor, Dominik Mysterio, and JD McDonagh) & Drew McIntyre

The Judgment Day has the advantage in this match since Drew McIntyre beat Jey Uso on Raw.

It was Seth Rollins and Finn Balor starting the match for their teams with the clock counting down from the five-minute mark. There were some fans chanting “CM Punk” while other fans were booing that. Rollins dove onto Balor to start the match followed by Rollins sending Balor into the cage. They went into the near ring with Balor hitting a clothesline. Balor whipped Rollins into the steel cage three times. Balor hit a Slingblade as more “CM Punk” chants started. Balor charged, but Rollins hit him with a superkick. Rollins teased a Pedigree on the steel in between the two rings, but Balor hit a back body drop leading to Rollins bumping on the steel. Rollins was able to come back with a Slingblade neckbreaker. Rollins hit a forearm along with a slam onto the knee. Rollins hit a running knee on Balor as the clock counted down.

JD McDonagh was second for The Judgment Day. JD had a kendo stick that he used to hit Rollins. JD brought two kendo sticks into the ring for his buddy Balor and himself. Balor and JD hit Rollins with repeated kendo stick shots to the body and legs. Balor choked Rollins with a kendo stick. Rollins tried to fight back, but was knocked down again. Balor grinded Seth’s face with the kendo stick to the face. Balor and JD hit a double team suplex on Rollins.

The second man in for the babyface team was Jey Uso, who got the pinfall win in last year’s WarGames match. Jey brought in a steel chair with chair shots to the backs of both opponents. The fans were chanting “YEET” for Jey as he delivered punches to his opponents. Jey hit two spinning kicks in a row on JD and Balor. Jey hit the running hip attack on Balor, but JD hit a Spanish Fly slam on Jey. Drew was angry inside the shark cage. Rollins saved Jey from a double team move leading to Seth & Jey hitting a double superkick. Rollins hit a double axhandle on Balor in the far ring. Jey put his foot against JD’s throat as the clock counted down.

Drew McIntyre wanted to go next, but Damian Priest stopped Drew and told Drew they had to stick to the plan. Damian Priest was the next man into the cage. Priest was met by Rollins and Jey, but Balor and JD were back up. Priest pulled out a baton that he had in his tights and he used it to hit Jey and Rollins. Priest hit a running back elbow on both guys. Priest hit a Broken Arrow slam on Jey along with a flatliner on Rollins. JD & Balor held up their opponents as Priest hit a twisting cross body block on both opponents. Balor hit a chair jab to Jey and a chair shot to Jey’s back.

The third man in for Cody’s team was Sami Zayn with the fans cheering for him. Zayn slammed the cage door on Balor’s head. Zayn pulled out a table from under the ring, which always draws a big ovation and it did here. Zayn clotheslined Priest over the top onto the steel between the two rings. Zayn was fired up as she shook the cage. Zayn hit a Blue Thunder Bomb on Balor. Zayn teased going to the top of the cage, but JD stopped that briefly and Zayn slammed JD’s head into the side of the cage. Zayn grabbed a steel pipe that just happened to be there. Zayn hit JD and Balor with the pipe. Zayn jumped over Priest and hit Priest with the pipe too. Loud “Sami” chants and “Ole” singing by the crowd. Zayn hit Balor in the back with a kendo stick. Rollins sent Balor into an open chair in the ring.

Drew McIntyre was very angry as he walked down to the ring as the fourth man on The Judgment Day team. Drew slammed Rollins down and suplexed Zayn across the ring. Drew hit a reverse Alabama Slam on Rollins onto Zayn in the near ring. Drew went after Jey Uso in the far ring. They exchanged strikes, the fans chanted “YEET” for Jey’s punches and Drew hit a neckbreaker into a kip-up back to his feet. Drew whipped Jey into the steel cage repeatedly. Drew launched Jey face first into the steel. Drew charged at Jey, but Jey was back up with a superkick. Jey and Sami hit a 1D on Drew like The Usos used to do.

It was Cody Rhodes as the fourth man in for his team with Cole mentioning that Cody’s dad Dusty Rhodes invented WarGames. Cody went after Priest and sent him into the cage. Cody hit a clothesline on JD followed by a back body drop. Cody suplexed Balor onto JD. Cody reached down beside the ring/cage and Cody pulled out a bullrope that had a bell on it. Cody and Seth worked together to attack the heels with the bullrope including the bell. Rollins was yelling at Cody wondering to know if he was coming. The faces were in control.

Dominik Mysterio was the fifth and final man into the match for The Judgment Day as the fans chanted “Dom you suck” at him. Dominik hit two vertical suplexes on Cody, but then the other babyfaces were on their feet staring at Dominik. The four faces all teamed together to stomp on Dominik repeatedly. Cody tossed Dominik into the cage. A table was set up against the turnbuckle, but Dominik’s teammates saved him. Drew and Priest hit Chokeslams on Cody, Seth & Rollins at the same time. JD hit a moonsault off the top, Balor hit a Coup de Grace and Dominik hit a Frog Splash. The Judgment Day was in full control. Priest gave Rollins a Razor’s Edge through the table as the clock ticked down to zero.

Rhea Ripley ran out to ringside with a referee and she had the Money in the Bank briefcase with her. They went down to ringside. That’s when Randy Orton’s music hit to a huge ovation and Randy Orton was officially in the match! There was no Money in the Bank cash-in officially. Orton was looked more muscular than ever and he was always in good shape.

Randy Orton is back in action as the WarGames match officially began. Dominik charged at Orton, who hit a clothesline. Orton with a powerslam on Dominik and a powerslam on JD. Orton sent both guys into the cage. Orton hit the draping DDT on Balor. Drew faced off against Orton in the near ring while Priest attacked Orton from behind with forearms to the back. The five heels were in the middle part of the ring and the five babyfaces got a hold of them so they all hit draping DDTs. Cole called it “Vintage WarGames” instead of “Vintage Orton.” That was well played by Cole. Orton teased going after Jey Uso, then Orton talked to Jey and Jey superkicked Priest. Orton hit the RKO on Dominik. Rollins hit The Stomp on Priest on the steel in between the rings. Cody Cutter by Cody and a Helluva Kick by Zayn. Jey hit an Uso Splash off the top onto Drew. JD climbed up to the top of the cage, so Zayn and Rollins went after him. Orton was waiting in the ring. Rollins and Zayn launched JD off the top leading to Orton hitting an RKO on JD. Orton told Cody to put them away as Cody hit Cross Rhodes on Priest for the pinfall win at 34:50.

Winners by pinfall: Cody Rhodes, Seth “Freakin” Rollins, Jey Uso, Sami Zayn & Randy Orton

Analysis: **** I liked the match a lot, but it was also a different kind of WarGames match since Orton was so dominant when he got in there. They really didn’t have Orton sell much at all, so there wasn’t that much drama in the WarGames match. It was just the babyfaces kicking ass and dominating the match as soon as Orton got in there. Randy looked great and it was fun seeing him in the ring again. I just think the heel side looked a bit weak in terms of how they were dominated as soon as Randy got in there. With that said, I’m sure The Judgment Day will be fine and I really don’t mind seeing Orton look as dominant as he was.

The babyface team all went up to Orton and hugged him to welcome him back. They all raised their hands. Replays were shown after that.

The Cody Rhodes team had their hands raised as the winners of the match.

There was a graphic on the screen signifying the end of the show, but Cult of Personality hit! It’s CM Punk! The fans were going crazy shouting “CM Punk” repeatedly as CM Punk appeared in the entrance area wearing a white t-shirt and jeans. CM Punk looked at the watch and shouted “It’s Clobbering Time” with the fans shouting it too. CM Punk hugged some fans while the crowd was chanting for him and shouting CM Punk’s name. The announcers didn’t say anything while Punk walked out there. CM Punk let out a yell and that was it.

Analysis: Welcome back! After nearly ten years away, CM Punk is back in WWE and Chicago was absolutely the right place to do it. I certainly hope it goes well for him. I think it’s a great thing for him, for the company and most of all for the fans. It’s awesome seeing CM Punk back in WWE. This will get fans talking for sure just to see what happens next with him.

A video aired recapping the show.

This event had a runtime of 2:54:37 on WWE Network.


Five Stars of the Show

  1. Women’s WarGames
  2. Men’s WarGames
  3. GUNTHER/The Miz
  4. Rhea Ripley
  5. CM Punk – Welcome back.

That’s way more than five people.


Final Thoughts

I’m going with an 8.25 out of 10 for this show.

I thought it was an excellent show. It was a five match card that went under three hours with a super hot crowd in Chicago. There wasn’t a bad match on the show either, so to me it was one of the better WWE PLE’s this year.

I think the Women’s WarGames Match was slightly better than the men’s match. There was a nice mix of highspots, fun moments like Becky & Charlotte hugging and more of an evenly built match. In the men’s match, once Randy Orton got in there the babyface side completely dominated the action and it wasn’t a back and forth situation that might be considered exciting. I did like seeing Orton back looking as strong as he’s ever looked.

The non-WarGames matches were solid with predictable outcomes as GUNTHER, Rhea Ripley and Santos Escobar picked up wins. That GUNTHER/Miz match was better than some people probably expected, but GUNTHER matches always deliver. I was impressed by The Miz’s performance. It was a fun show overall. I think maybe a stronger card in terms of the non-WarGames match could have helped, but that’s just a small complaint.

The return of CM Punk was a huge moment to end the night. Whether everybody is happy about it, I don’t know. Chicago certainly loves the guy. I’m interested to see what happens next. As a viewer, that’s how you want to feel after a major show.

My WWE PLE/PPV rankings for 2023 look like this.

WrestleMania 39 – 8.75 (out of 10)

Elimination Chamber – 8.25

Survivor Series – 8.25

Backlash – 8

SummerSlam – 8

Money in the Bank – 8

Night of Champions – 7.75

Royal Rumble – 7.5

Crown Jewel – 7.5

Fastlane – 7.25

Payback – 7.25


As a reminder, I have a listing of every WWE PPV that I reviewed in order by year. Thank you for supporting us at TJRWrestling. We appreciate you.

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Twitter/X: @johnreport