Zayn, the undoubted hero of the piece, has been at odds with Uso over the last few months as Jey continued his struggle to welcome the Canadian into the family pack.
The end result – The Bloodline turning on Zayn in brutal fashion – seems beyond inevitable at this stage, but that seems a complete irrelevance right now, so captivating is the way WWE are piecing together the nuances of the story.
It’s a tale as old as time in professional wrestling. The Bloodline are, essentially, the bad guys, while Zayn is the fan favourite whose cause fans can’t get behind, despite his alignment with Roman Reigns and the rest his family.
It’s a true wrestling irony, then, that Jey has been suspicious of Zayn motives, especially in recent weeks with Uso’s belief that Zayn would turn on them in favour of long-time friend Kevin Owens, who was among their War Games opponents in Boston.
Owens had teamed with Drew McIntyre and The Brawling Brutes in the main event of this year’s Survivor Series. War Games matches pit two factions against one another in two rings, side by side, collectively encompassed by a giant steel cage.
The two sides traded the ascendancy across a 40-minute battle. Among the highlights were Brits McIntyre and Pete ‘Butch’ Dunne both being driven through tables, and The Bloodline sustaining a visually brilliant Ten Beats of the Bodhran.
It was always building towards a finale, however, and it was hard to see it not being one involving Zayn and Owens. It looked as though Zayn had acted out of instinct in saving Reigns from defeat by Owens’ Stunner, but the decision to deliver a low blow to his compatriot was altogether more calculated. That was followed up by a Helluva Kick, which enabled Jey to nail Owens with a splash the top rope to clinch the win.
Uso and Zayn would then embrace in the ring – Jey perhaps finally accepting Zayn into the fold as WWE’s finest story for many a year took another intriguing twist.
Another of the night’s big twists saw Austin Theory somewhat unexpectedly regain the United States title from Seth Rollins in a triple threat match including Bobby Lashley.
Theory’s character trajectory took a definite turn for the serious in recent weeks as he lost the Money in the Bank briefcase – so it’s perhaps more fascinating than head scratching that WWE have opted to so quickly end Rollins’ US title run in his favour.
The match again established – as if it was needed – Lashley’s dominance. He was on top for the majority of the bout, before steel steps helped Rollins and then Theory to get a leg up. Rollins would then wipe out both foes with suicide dives before Lashley again gained the upper hand.
The finish was one that did neither losing party much harm. Theory won by essentially falling in the right place at the right time, landing on top of Rollins who’d just taken a spear from Lashley, covering for the win.
The night had kicked off with the Women’s War Games clash. The returning Becky Lynch – who’d made a comeback the previous night on SmackDown – aligned with Bianca Belair, Alexa Bliss, Asuka and Mia Yim to tangle with Damage CTRL, Nikki Cross and Rhea Ripley.
This was a match of no less quality than the men’s battle that closed the show, but by contrast, the ongoing battle between Raw Women’s champ Belair and Damage CTRL must surely now be nearing its end. As such, Lynch’s return is ideally timed.
Fans were made to wait for her involvement in the clash. She entered the fray last of all in a contest that featured trash cans and handcuffs among its novelties, Ripley driving Yim through a ladder in one of the more crunching spots of the melee.
Lynch was always likely to be among the action at the finish, and after Belair had wiped out Bayley, Lynch’s picturesque senton sealed the win.
Elsewhere, the meeting of AJ Styles and Finn Balor descended into the inevitable brawl between The Judgement Day and The OC. They traded blows throughout the arena and the Boston crowd before Styles and Balor were finally able to settle things down in the ring.
Styles has been short of major singles wins recently, so his victory is a nice boost for the veteran in that regard. A Phenomenal Forearm did the job for the former WWE Champion, which looks to have neatly brought to a close another longer-running feud as WrestleMania season looms with January’s Royal Rumble.
Shotzi was never likely to snare the SmackDown Women’s title from established champ Ronda Rousey but did get a good showing against the former UFC great, which seems to have been the purpose of a number of Rousey’s most recent feuds.
All the same, WWE will have a tough job of selling many more underdogs as genuine challengers to Rousey’s gold. Fans remain desperate for the return of Sasha Banks to the ring while Charlotte Flair will surely be back in action shortly, too.
It took less than eight minutes for Rousey to turn back Shotzi’s challenge. The challenger did notably manage to take out both Rousey and her long-time friend Shayna Baszler as Baszler attempted to interfere, but Rousey soon managed to reassert herself and gained the win with an armbar submission.
With so many possibilities in both the women’s divisions heading into 2023 and The Bloodline continuing to weave such a captivating narrative, it’s an exciting time to be a WWE fan as we edge towards arguably the most highly anticipated periods of the calendar.