WWE SmackDown Review: Final build towards Survivor Series: WarGames

WWE SmackDown 

November 24, 2023 | Allstate Arena, Chicago, Illinois 

The show opened with Becky Lynch joining the Women’s WarGames match last week on SmackDown. Michael Cole and Kevin Patrick were on commentary. They welcomed Corey Graves back to the commentary team. 

Women’s WarGames Promo

Becky Lynch came out with Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair and Shotzi to a great reaction. Becky welcomed to everyone to SmackDown. She wondered why she was going to team with Charlotte Flair? She wasn’t going to pass up an offer to face Damage CTRL. There were huge chants of EST. Belair spoke about Damage CTRL going low. Belair noted they can go lower than them. Shotzi spoke not being able to control herself thinking about the carnage. She thought Damage CTRL would’ve broke her when they held her down and cut her hair. Shotzi mentioned it made her stronger, less predictable and unbreakable. Shotzi laughed maniacally. Charlotte spoke about WarGames being a new beginning for all of them. She said it will be the end of Damage CTRL. 

Bayley came out alone. Bayley spoke about never seeing the day that Becky and Charlotte were standing together. Bayley spoke knowing Becky and Charlotte for over 10 years. She questioned why Belair would have Becky and Charlotte on the team. She claimed being The Man has made Bayley soft. Bayley spoke about Damage CTRL being a real team. Charlotte wondered where Damage CTRL were? Becky noted she came to Chicago looking for a fight. Becky challenged two members of Damage CTRL to a tag team match. Bayley accepted the match. 

Amin’s Thoughts: Bayley did a great job in her promo as she added some doubt to the babyface team bringing up past history with Becky and Charlotte. Glad to see Shotzi is getting a big spot on the Survivor Series show. Shotzi’s promo just didn’t click with me. Shotzi just seems out of place compared to all the star power in the Women’s WarGames match.

They showed highlights of Cody Rhodes announcing Randy Orton will return for the Men’s WarGames match at Survivor Series. 

Damage CTRL were backstage. Bayley appeared asked them what she did? They all gave Bayley a look. Bayley said Becky and Charlotte won’t be able to co-exit in the match. Bayley asked who wanted to be in the tag team match. Iyo Sky spoke in Japanese. Dakota Kai said they appreciated what Bayley did tonight. Kai said Bayley should team with Asuka in the match. Asuka smiled at Bayley. She said nobody is ready for Asuka. Bayley looked hesitant.  

Amin’s Thoughts: I really liked the difference to how Bayley reacted when she was in-front of the crowd and then with her own group. You could see how the rest of Damage CTRL were just playing along and weren’t pleased with Bayley. They are planting the seeds and turn on Bayley is like going to come sooner rather than later. 

Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Judgment Day (Finn Bálor & Damian Priest) [c] (w/Rhea Ripley) vs. The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford)
Priest shined early rocking Dawkins with a leaping elbow. Ford tagged in catching Balor with a dropkick. Dawkins and Ford planted Balor with a double flapjack for a near fall. Bobby Lashley and B-Fab were watching backstage. Ford went for a dive but Balor stopped him. Ford connected with a Slingshot Plancha to the floor. Priest delivered a pounce sending Ford flying over the announcers table. Priest rocked Ford with a Hook Kick as they returned from break. Ford moved as Priest charged into the ring post. Dawkins ran wild rocking Balor and Priest with strikes. Dawkins planted Priest with a Twisting Neck Breaker. Dawkins and Ford delivered a Doomsday Blockbuster to Balor for a close two count. Ford went for a dive but Balor moved. Balor caught Ford with a Slingblade. Priest connected with a slicing leg drop to Ford but Dawkins made the save. Dakwins and Ford caught Priest with the Revelation but Balor made the save. Ford rocked Priest with a Superkick. Ford went to climb the ropes. Ripley distracted the referee. Priest planted Ford with a Tombstone Piledriver. Balor followed with a Coup De Grace for the win. 

WINNERS: Finn Bálor & Damian Priest retained the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles 
Amin’s Thoughts: This was a pretty solid tag team match. This was a pretty interesting match to make. You have the Judgment Day who the dominant heel act on Raw. You have the Street Profits who the fans loved as babyface but are still trying to find their grooves as heels. I thought a possible title change here with Lashley helping could’ve heated up the Street Profits as well. Balor and Priest winning was fine because you want to keep Judgment Day strong heading into the Men’s WarGames match. 

Becky was backstage with Belair and Shotzi. Charlotte appeared mentioning she spoke to both Adam Pearce and Nick Aldis and it was okay for her to compete tonight. Becky noted she could’ve spoken to them. Charlotte noted Becky might have not been thinking about it. Charlotte said she just wanted to be prepared. Belair tried to calm everyone down. Charlotte noted Bayley had a plan. Charlotte said she wanted to be a step ahead and have her own plan. Becky wondered if Charlotte didn’t trust her then why did she call her? Belair told Becky she told Charlotte to make the save. Becky said she came here to fight everybody. Becky said she’s going to get ready to fight. Charlotte told Belair she warned her this might happen. Charlotte left. 

They aired a Dragon Lee highlight package speaking about failure never being an option. He spoke about being the evolution of Lucha Libre. 

Grayson Waller Effect with Kevin Owens 

Grayson Waller welcomed everyone to the Grayson Waller Effect. He spoke about tonight being the start of a beautiful friendship. He called out Kevin Owens. Austin Theory came out wearing a KO Shirt. Waller was laughing hysterically inside the ring. The music played again. This time Kevin Owens to a great reaction. Owens wondered what Theory and Waller were doing? Owens said Waller introduced him on the show. Waller said Owens was suspended. Owens said his suspended ended on this SmackDown show. Owens thought he and Waller would talk their differences out. Owens wondered what was going on? Waller said Theory was suppose to come out to make fun of Owens. Owens said he’s never looked better in that shirt. Owens called Theory a creep wondering if he went through his bags to get his shorts. The crowd cheered as Owens said he should punch Waller and Theory at the same time. Waller blamed Owens for losing to LA Knight. Owens wondered if he’s the only one who knows how things work here? Owens brought up Waller bringing up Knight’s name. 

This music played as LA Knight came out to a huge reaction. Huge chants of LA Knight from the crowd. Let Me Talk To Ya! YEAH! Knight noted Owens tried to warn them. Knight was about to let things go but noted Waller brought his name up as well. Knight mentioned they didn’t know that Owens would be on the show. Knight noted he would’ve just let Owens punch them. Knight brought up how they started speaking about him. Knight noted he can beat Waller. Owens noted he agrees with Knight. Theory and Waller said they should punch Knight and Owens first. Owens and Knight agreed they should punch Waller and Theory first. A brawl broke out as Knight and Owens cleared the ring.

Amin’s Thoughts: This was pretty fun to watch just how the crowd reacted to both Owens and especially Knight who still feels like a really hot babyface. I gotta give Theory and Waller credit who are both great at playing obnoxious heels. A fun talking segment to lead into a tag team match. 

Kevin Owens & LA Knight vs. Grayson Waller & Austin Theory
Owens rocked Waller with strikes as they returned from break. The crowd cheered as Knight rocked Waller with a running clothesline, Waller distracted the referee. Theory pulled the ropes down but couldn’t send Knight out of the ring. The crowd chanted “YEAH” as Knight slammed both Theory and Waller onto the announcers table. Theory grabbed hold onto Knight’s leg. Waller took advantage rocking Knight with a clothesline on the floor. Theory worked over Knight as they returned from break. Knight got Owens the hot tag. Owens ran wild stomping away at Waller. Owens rocked Theory and Waller with a pair of Superkicks. Owens connected with a Flying Cannonball to Theory on the floor. Owens delivered a Swanton Bomb to Theory for a two count. Owens went for a Stunner but Waller blocked. Waller pulled Knight off the ring apron. Theory caught Waller with a rolling dropkick. Waller connected with a Springboard Elbow Drop to Owens for a two count. Theory planted Owens with a Rolling Blockbuster for a two count. Waller went for a Springboard Elbow but Owens moved. Knight ran wild rocking Theory with punches. Knight planted Theory with a DDT. Knight planted Waller with an inverted powerslam. Knight planted Theory with a Powerslam. Knight connected with an LA Elbow but Theory made the save. Owens caught Theory with a Stone Cold Stunner. Knight delivered the Blunt Force Trauma to Theory for the win. 

WINNERS: Kevin Owens & LA Knight 
Amin’s Thoughts: This was a really fun action packed tag team match. Another really nice win for LA Knight to just keep his momentum going after losing to Roman Reigns at Crown Jewel. It’s a bummer that Knight doesn’t have a match on the Survivor Series card. There’s really no point of throwing another match onto an already loaded card. Knight’s next big program will come post-Survivor Series. I would also hope Owens can also move on from Waller and Theory after getting this with Knight. Owens should be placed in a bigger program and right how he hasn’t got that since moving over to SmackDown. 

Becky Lynch was pacing backstage. Belair said Charlotte was right. Belair noted she wasn’t there when Becky and Charlotte had their falling out. She spoke about Becky answering the call to help in the WarGames match. Belair spoke about her and Belair now getting along. Belair wanted Becky and Charlotte to get together on the same page. Becky told Belair she’s Irish and a fighter and now wants her to be something else. Becky said she’s cool. 

Carlito & Santos Escobar Promo 

Carlito came out to a solid reaction. He said it’s been a while since he spoke to the fans in Chicago. He said Survivor Series will be first PPV in almost 13 years. He’s said that’s cool. He spoke about thinking about his friend Rey Mysterio. He wanted to get revenge for what Santos Escobar said and did to Mysterio. He wanted to speak in Spanish so Escobar would clearly understand his message. He said Escobar made a mistake. 

The crowd booed as Escobar came out. Escobar also spoke in Spanish. Escobar noted Carlito isn’t even wearing the LWO colours and wonders where his family is now. Escobar spoke about Rey and LWO being his family. He blamed Carlito for them not being together. He claimed Rey’s career is over and said he isn’t coming back. Carlito heard enough as a brawl broke out. WWE officials ran down and pulled Carlito away. Escobar appeared from the crowd rocking Carlito with a flying knee strike. Carlito was down selling his arm in pain. 

Amin’s Thoughts: I liked the change of tone that Carlito showed in his promo. Carlito spoke at first in a cool tone speaking about competing on a WWE PLE. He turned up the seriousness when addressing Escobar for hurting Rey and why he wanted the match. We got more great stuff from Santos Escobar here showing so much intensity with his promos and brawls. Escobar’s heel turn is off to a very strong start. 

WWE officials were checking on Carlito as they returned from break. Escobar appeared attacking Carlito from behind. Escobar pulled on Carlito’s injured shoulder. Dragon Lee appeared attacking Escobar. Dragon Lee delivered a Flying Hurricanrana sending Escobar into crates. 

Amin’s Thoughts: This was clearly shot like an injury angle to write Carlito off the Survivor Series match. Dragon Lee getting involved in the LWO storyline makes perfect sense with his previous interactions with Rey Mysterio. 

Brawling Brutus (Butch & Ridge Holland) vs. Pretty Deadly (Elton Price & Kit Wilson)
Holland walked past Butch as they made their entrance. Holland sent Wilson flying with a T-Bone Suplex. Butch and Holland went for 10 Beats of the Beldrum but was stopped. Holland left the ring in frustration. Butch went for a tag but Holland wasn’t standing on the ring apron. This led to Price rocking Butch with a running uppercut. Prince and Wilson delivered a Double Gut Buster but Butch kicked out at two. Butch made his own comeback rocking Prince and Wilson with Snap German Suplex. Butch rocked Prince with a Brogue Kick for a two count. Butch delivered the Bitter End to Prince. Wilson appeared catching Butch with a Crucifix Pin for the win.  

WINNERS: Elton Prince & Kit Wilson
Amin’s Thoughts: A fine tag team match. The match was mostly a backdrop continuing to build the split within the Brawling Brutes. This will be interesting to keep an eye on once Sheamus returns to see who he sides in the Brawling Brutes. This potential split could help Butch getting to see him go on a single’s run. This was also a nice win for Prince & Wilson who are a nice a shining spot in the tag team division.

Shotzi approached Charlotte backstage. Charlotte asked Shotzi if she’s mad at her too? Shotzi said no. Shotzi spoke about being changed after Damage CTRL bullied her to shave her head. Shotzi spoke about people looking at her like a complete weirdo. Charlotte spoke about calling Shotzi beautiful when she saw her with the bald head. They shared a hug. Shotzi said it meant the world to her what Charlotte said when she was at her lowest. She told Charlotte to not forget everything between her and Becky. She thought Becky would be just as hurt about the past. Shotzi told Charlotte a few worlds could possibly change things. Shotzi left. Charlotte thought about what Shotzi said. 

Amin’s Thoughts: I really thought Shotzi was much better in this backstage segment with Charlotte. Shotzi came off as such a likeable babyface who you really want to root for. I would like to see Shotzi maintain a balance of showing her energetic side but also bringing out the calmness which we say here. 

Kayla Braxton spoke about SmackDown GM Nick Aldis backstage. Braxton asked Aldis for an update on Carlito? Aldis noted Carlito is hurt bad. Aldis was about to cancel the match. Dragon Lee appeared and told Aldis to not cancel the match. Aldis announced Dragon Lee will face Escobar at WarGames. 

Amin’s Thoughts: Really cool to see Dragon Lee get a big match at Survivor Series. This is a really great chance for both Dragon Lee and Escobar to have a showcase match. 

Judgment Day were hanging out in their locker room. Rhea Ripley spoke about Judgment Day running all of WWE that’s why they are on SmackDown. Balor spoke having a nice warmup defending the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles before WarGames. Dominik Mysterio laughed that Randy Orton is partners with Jey Uso who he and The Bloodline took out. Priest gave Orton a warning. Priest said if Jey Uso doesn’t take Orton out. Priest said Judgment Day would make sure Orton doesn’t have another comeback. 

Becky and Charlotte told each other they are good. 

Damage CTRL (Bayley & Asuka) (w/Iyo Sky, Kairi Sane & Dakota Kai) vs. Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair (w/Bianca Belair & Shotzi) 
Damage CTRL came out together first getting a strong heel reaction. Charlotte Flair came out to a great reaction with Belair and Shotzi. Becky Lynch’s music played as she received a great reaction. Becky took control early sending Bayley flying with an Exploder Suplex. Becky connected with a flying forearm to Asuka on the floor. Charlotte delivered a beautiful Flying Moonsault onto Asuka and Bayley on the floor. Bayley worked over Becky as they returned from break. Becky responded rocking Asuka with an enzugirii. Charlotte ran wild delivering a flying crossbody to Asuka and Bayley. Charlotte sent Bayley flying with a fallaway slam. Charlotte connected with a Cartwheel Clothesline for a near fall. Charlotte rocked Bayley with a running boot for a two count. Asuka tagged into the match.Asuka caught Charlotte with a Codebreaker for a two count. Asuka and Bayley delivered a Flying Elbow/Reverse DDT combo to Charlotte but Becky made the save. Charlotte got Becky the hot tag. Becky ran wild planting Asuka and Bayley with a Double DDT for a two count. Becky connected with a missile dropkick to Bayley for a two count. Becky went for the Dis-Arm-Her but Asuka made the save. Bayley called for the Rose Plant but Becky broke free. Becky caught Bayley with the Manhandle Slam. Charlotte rocked Asuka with a spear who bumped into Becky. This led to Becky and Charlotte arguing. Bayley shoved Becky into Charlotte. Bayley rolled up Becky for the win. 

WINNERS: Bayley & Asuka 
Amin’s Thoughts: This was a really fun action packed match. The wrestling was great as everyone worked great together. I really liked the finish as the miscommunication between Becky and Charlotte led to Damage CTRL getting the win. Bayley getting the win was nice to see showing she’s still a key player in Damage CTRL. 

Becky and Charlotte argued after the match. Belair and Shotzi tried to calm everything down. Becky left the ring and walked away. The show came to a close. 

Amin’s Thoughts: This was a nice way to close the show. A nice hook teasing more tension between Becky and Charlotte heading into the WarGames match. My guess is the babyface team will win at WarGames. I could see a scenario where Charlotte makes the save for Becky and that leads to them working together.

Overall Thoughts: The goal of the show was to put the final pieces together for the Survivor Series card. The big news was Dragon Lee replacing Carlito to face Santos Escobar. They put the focus on the Men’s WarGames match on Raw. They put the focus on the Women’s WarGames match on SmackDown. There was a nice balance of good wrestling matches on the show. Overall, a fine episode of SmackDown. I’m really looking forward to WWE Survivor Series: WarGames which feels like a really big show.