The WWE Elimination Chamber event took place Sunday night in Las Vegas and was just an average show. The highlights included the men’s Elimination Chamber match in the main event, the first-ever women’s Elimination Chamber match that opened the show and Ronda Rousey officially signing her WWE contract that will lead to a WrestleMania match.
This was one of the most predictable WWE events you’re ever going to see. The one prediction I got wrong was thinking Bray Wyatt might beat Matt Hardy because he’s the younger guy who could have used the win more. But Hardy won a boring match that the crowd didn’t care about. Roman Reigns winning the men’s Chamber match and Alexa Bliss winning the women’s Chamber match were obvious outcomes most of us expected for several weeks.
Here are 10 thoughts I had on the show and where things might be headed in some cases.
10. Women’s Elimination Chamber provided some memorable moments
— WWE Network (@WWENetwork) February 26, 2018
The women’s Elimination Chamber (first-ever, as WWE reminded us about 20 times) was an enjoyable match with a predictable ending as Alexa Bliss found a way to win Bliss was the sixth and final woman to enter the Chamber match, so that gave her a big advantage over her opponents that were already tired out.
Some of the better moments included Mickie James jumping off one of the pods onto Sonya Deville with a Thesz Press and then pinning her. However, I hated that James fell victim to Banks and Bayley hitting big moves to eliminate her right after that. It’s the first-ever Chamber, Mickie’s been in the business for nearly 20 years and you book her to lose in less than five minutes? Come on, man. She should have had a bigger role.
The final three were Bayley, Sasha Banks and Bliss. Bayley hit the Bayley to Belly on Banks off the middle rope, but was too hurt to cover right away and Bliss snuck in with a rollup on Bayley to beat her. It made Bayley look bad, although WWE loves those surprising pin spots in these types of matches.
— WWE (@WWE) February 26, 2018
Most of the Bliss vs. Banks part was interesting although I hated how Bliss did a Twisted Bliss dive onto Banks off the pod, yet Banks didn’t even sell it. Banks got right back up and slapped on the Bank Statement submission as if the move didn’t affect her at all. If Bliss is going to go up top and jump off an object 10 feet high, then you have to sell it when she lands the move.
The finish was good in the sense that the heel Bliss outsmarted Banks. It looks like Banks was going to climb a pod to do a move, but Bliss tripped her up and hit a draping DDT with Banks hanging off the top rope and that was enough to beat Banks. It was an emphatic way to end it for Bliss.
Overall, I thought the match was good, but not a classic and not one of the best Chamber matches ever. If I had to compare this to the women’s Royal Rumble match, I’d put the Rumble match way ahead in terms of being better.
9. Alexa Bliss delivered a clever promo after her victory
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) February 26, 2018
I loved the Alexa Bliss interview after her win. Bliss was in the ring looking all teary-eyed about winning the match while the fans chanted “you deserve it” at her. She said this isn’t about her, it’s about every woman and little girl at home that dreamed big. Bliss added that you can be whatever you want to be and you should dream big. The fans were totally behind her and it looked like it was her face turn… until she turned on them. Bliss said that none of us are going to accomplish our dreams, while the odds were against her and she still won.
It was a brilliant promo. Fans want to cheer her and WWE knows that, so having her turn on the fans when they bought into what she was saying was a clever way of turning it around.
As a final thought on that promo, I just want heels in WWE to act like jerks even more. They don’t have enough of them. Bad guys or girls make us care about the good guys or girls more. More promos like this one are welcome. Good job Alexa.
8. The Raw Tag Team Division is lacking depth
— Sheamus (@WWESheamus) February 26, 2018
Sheamus and Cesaro successfully defended their Raw Tag Team Titles over Titus O’Neil and Apollo. If that surprised you, then you are one of the few fans out there who care a lot about Titus and Apollo. Based on the crowd reaction in Vegas, the fans sure didn’t care about the challengers in this match. Sheamus and Cesaro are a very good team. The problem is a lack of challengers.
There are two other teams on Raw that should get in the title picture: Gallows and Anderson (who beat Axel and Dallas on the Kickoff Show) and The Revival. I assume it’s going to lead to some three- or four-team match at WrestleMania like WWE seems to do every year.
The only face team in that group are Gallows and Anderson, who recently turned mostly because they are associated with Finn Balor. There hasn’t been enough done to establish Gallows and Anderson as good guys, other than calling people “nerds” when they get a chance to do a promo. I don’t see the fans hating them by any means, but I doubt Gallows and Anderson will catch fire as a face team.
The Smackdown tag team division is clearly better and deeper than Raw right now. I hope Raw can find a way to improve the depth of the division. It might be after WrestleMania when that happens and they’ll just stay in a holding pattern until then.
7. Asuka defeated Nia Jax and paid a hefty price after the match
— WWE (@WWE) February 26, 2018
Asuka vs. Nia Jax went exactly as I expected. Jax was dominant for about 80 percent of the match, Asuka tried fighting back with submission moves like an armbar and came close to winning a few times. After about 10 minutes, Jax went for a power move, Asuka countered into a sloppy-looking cradle (I don’t think Jax was flexible enough in that situation) and that was enough to give Asuka the win.
The match was just okay. I thought it might be better, but Jax is still limited in what she can do. They had better matches in their NXT days a couple of years ago.
After the match was over, Jax destroyed Asuka, which made Asuka look like a loser and not the undefeated “Empress of Tomorrow” that WWE likes to market her as. It’s not something I would have done because it makes the win meaningless to see Asuka manhandled like that. The visual of Jax tackling Asuka through the barricade looked and sounded great. I just don’t know why they have this need to always have losers get their heat back right after a loss. They did it with Strowman in the main event too. If it happens occasionally, that’s fine. When it happens twice in the same show, it is too much.
6. Matt Hardy beat Bray Wyatt in a match that likely ended their feud
The winner of the award for “match that the crowd didn’t care about” is Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt. The fans were so bored with this match that they were playing with a beach ball, even chanted for the beach ball, and booed when it was taken away. Some of them chanted “Rusev Day” because of how bored they were.
Hardy ended up getting the win over Wyatt after about 10 minutes with a Twist of Fate. Like I noted above, I thought Wyatt winning would have made sense because he has lost all credibility he had.
I’m not sure what’s next for either guy, although I hope WWE comes up with some more creative stuff for Matt’s “Woken” gimmick because right now, he’s not doing enough to stand out.
5. Ronda Rousey’s contract signing set up a WrestleMania match as expected
Here’s what I wrote in my predictions article on Friday:
“The way I think this segment may go is that Raw GM Kurt Angle and Stephanie will be in the ring with a contract. They’ll introduce Rousey. Stephanie can say something about how she didn’t like that Angle signed Rousey without consulting her first. Angle can put over Rousey saying she’s a huge star who wants to be a part of the women’s division. Triple H can come out, stand up for his wife and say something critical of Rousey. Angle can step up for Rousey, get in Triple H’s face and the fans will likely get into it.”
I didn’t get it exactly right, but got the gist of it. Stephanie was in the ring with Angle, as well as Triple H. It started with Stephanie and Triple H being really nice to Rousey until Angle revealed that Hunter and Stephanie only wanted Rousey in WWE so they could manipulate her. Rousey didn’t like that. Triple H tried to get Angle to shut up, but Angle kept on pushing buttons.
Rousey got in Stephanie’s face, which set up the big moment of the segment where Triple H walked towards Rousey and Rousey picked up Triple H with a belly-to-belly suplex into a slam that sent Hunter through a table. Triple H, who is about 260 pounds, sold that move from a 120-pound woman as if he was slammed by Braun Strowman. Triple H was down for several minutes as Rousey signed her contract and threw it onto Hunter. Give Triple H credit for making Rousey look like such a badass.
It should set up a big tag match at WrestleMania: Triple H and Stephanie McMahon vs. Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey. There’s a chance that it could be another guy teaming with Rousey because WWE wants The Rock, but he may not be available to do it. Angle fits as a guy who was a former rival with Triple H. Another name could be Seth Rollins or even Braun Strowman would fit.
I thought Rousey handled herself well. It was a little shaky at first with Rousey sounding nervous as she spoke, but then she mentioned her wrestling idol “Rowdy” Roddy Piper influencing her and she got more comfortable. The fans weren’t completely behind Rousey at the start of the promo either. As it got going, they cared more about her and had a good reaction by the end of it.
Rousey should fit in just fine with WWE. It takes some time to get used to WWE style, but she will be a natural fit. I have no doubt.
4. The most predictable Elimination Chamber match ever
The men’s Elimination Chamber was the best match of the night and also the longest at around 40 minutes. That’s no surprise considering they had seven of Raw’s biggest superstars in the match and six of them needed to be eliminated. I’ve watched and written about every Elimination Chamber match, so I feel confident in saying that of the 22 Elimination Chamber matches that have taken place, this was the most predictable of them all with Roman Reigns emerging as the victor.
It’s tough to put over the performances of any of the guys because they all got their asses kicked by Braun Strowman, who eliminated five guys and then Reigns eliminated Strowman. Rollins had a few highlights showing off his skills and so did Balor, but largely it was a slow-paced match until Strowman got in there and dominated everybody. After the first couple of eliminations by Strowman, I figured it would just continue until it got down to him and Reigns. It was really predictable. Was it good? Sure, but not that memorable either.
— WWE WrestleMania (@WrestleMania) February 26, 2018
Up next for Reigns is a Universal Championship match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. It’s the same thing that WWE did in 2015, although that was for the WWE Championship and this is the Universal Championship. Since the Universal Championship is essentially the same thing since the roster split in 2016, it is considered a huge match — even though a lot of fans don’t want to see it.
I’ll be picking Reigns to beat Lesnar at WrestleMania. I know I did it the last time and got it wrong (thanks, Seth Rollins), but this time seems like more of a lock.
3. It’s hard to feel sorry for John Cena
— WWE (@WWE) February 26, 2018
The current WWE storyline for John Cena is that he really needed to win the Royal Rumble. He didn’t do it. Over the last month on Raw, he lost a triple threat match to Elias and Braun Strowman (Elias pinned him) and then last week, he lost clean to Seth Rollins after Rollins already beat Roman Reigns. Going into Elimination Chamber, WWE tried to tell the story that if Cena lost, he had “no clear path” to WrestleMania. It’s laughable, really.
Here’s the reality: John Cena is a 40-year-old multi-millionaire who has probably made over $50 million in the wrestling business, if not more. He owns a mansion in Tampa as well as houses in Boston, San Diego and possibly other cities. Watch Total Bellas or Total Divas because they have no problem showing them off.
Cena also has a ridiculous car collection that includes names like Ferrari, Bugatti, Corvette, Lamborghini and plenty of others. He posts videos of his cars on the Bellas YouTube channel. Oh, and his fiancée Nikki Bella is really pretty too, so that’s another thing he can smile about.
From a wrestling standpoint, Cena was the top guy in WWE from 2005 until a few years ago where you can say that maybe Roman Reigns surpassed him. Cena has more WWE World Titles than anybody with 16 (Ric Flair has 16 World Titles, but only two in WWE), he main evented four WrestleManias (22, 23, 28, 29) and he still gets loud reactions.
By the way, if Reigns gets to headline this WrestleMania, like most of us expect, then that’s four in a row for him, so he’ll probably pass Cena in WrestleMania events. I don’t really agree with that, but that’s the WWE world we live in.
On Raw Talk after Elimination Chamber (see the clip above), Cena was somber, saying he’s not sure if he’ll be a part of WrestleMania. The story is so lame and such bullshit that anybody in WWE’s creative team would believe fans would buy into this.
The plan for WrestleMania is Cena vs. Undertaker and it could start on Raw tonight. That means Cena’s promos will go from thinking he might go from not even being on the show to being in one of the biggest matches on the card. It’s lame and boring.
2. Braun Strowman is the monster among men… who can’t win the big one
— WWE (@WWE) February 26, 2018
The star of the night in some ways was Braun Strowman because in the men’s Chamber match, he pinned five guys after hitting them with Running Powerslams. It was a bit repetitive after a while, but Strowman is the one who eliminated The Miz, Elias, John Cena, Finn Balor and Seth Rollins, in that order. It looked like he may be able to eliminate Roman Reigns as well, but it didn’t happen because Reigns managed to win.
After Strowman lost, he beat up Reigns with two Running Powerslams and whipped him through the pod. Is that supposed to make Braun fans happy? The guy came up short again. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s also similar to what Nia Jax did. It’s as if WWE’s creative team is programmed to book their “monster” characters the same way by having them lose matches and then take out their frustrations afterward. It just felt like a very anticlimactic ending.
This match is another example of WWE ignoring what the audience wants, which is Strowman as the guy to beat Lesnar for the Universal Championship. Instead, Strowman is the guy who couldn’t beat Roman Reigns again. He also failed at last year’s SummerSlam (a 4-Way for the Universal Title where Lesnar pinned Reigns), No Mercy last September (Lesnar pinned Strowman in a singles match) and at this year’s Royal Rumble where Lesnar predictably pinned Kane.
I’m not saying that fans are going to think of Strowman as a loser. I just think his coronation and biggest moment should be at WrestleMania in the main event. Apparently, that’s not going to happen and that’s a shame.
As for what Strowman might do at WrestleMania, the rumor is he may face The Miz for the Intercontinental Title and beat him for that title. I’m okay with that, but I don’t love it.
1. The show was too long
The WWE Network debuted four years ago and has allowed WWE to basically do whatever they want with their PPV broadcasts. That also means they can run their shows for as long as they want.
There is way too much time wasted on these shows. For example, from the moment Elias was in the ring for the main event match doing his “musical performance” to the time when all seven guys entered for the main event, it took 16 minutes. By the time the match started, I had nearly dozed off due to boredom and I wasn’t even tired.
The PPV started at 8 p.m. ET and ended at 11:24 p.m. ET. Did the show really need to run that long? Of course not. The undercard wasn’t that interesting, yet WWE decided to go past the three-hour mark simply because they can.
It’s funny how Vince McMahon talked about the NFL games running too long when he announced the XFL relaunch last month, yet here he is overdoing it on WWE shows. Keep that in mind also when WWE expects us to watch a five-hour WrestleMania with a two-hour Kickoff Show on April 8. Good luck staying alert for seven hours of that.
I thought Elimination Chamber was an average show with a pretty good main event and the women’s Chamber was fine too. If I had to rank them, I’d put the men’s Chamber match slightly ahead. I liked the Rousey segment because it made her look like a badass while also getting the fans to cheer her.
The problem is the other parts of the show were so boring. It was one of the weakest lineups the Raw brand has had since the brand split. If you missed it, watch the two Chamber matches if you have a free hour and the Rousey segment is worth checking out. The rest of it is skippable. The Royal Rumble was a much better PPV last month.
This week’s Raw should be interesting as they start the build to Lesnar vs. Reigns at WrestleMania, Rousey’s angle will continue and John Cena will talk about his future. That’s all from me. Have a great week.