Liam Hoofe reviews WWE Elimination Chamber 2018…
WWE Raw took their final stop on the road to Wrestlemania this past Sunday night at the Elimination Chamber. The event was significant for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it would decide the number 1 contender for Brock Lesnar’s Universal Title at Wrestlemania, and secondly, it would feature the first ever Women’s Elimination Chamber match.
One complaint many fans had in the lead-up to the event was that it seemed far too predictable. So, did the WWE decide to give us some surprises on the Road to Wrestlemania? Or did they stick to the predicted script and leave fans disappointed? Let’s take a look at each match and decide.
Note: This review is being written from an airport, the same airport where I have just watched the event. Following the Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt match, my earphones died and as a result, I couldn’t watch the Ronda Rousey segment and had no sound for the main event. I imagine it’s safe to assume, however, that Roman Reigns got booed out of the building.
Alexa Bliss Defeated Sasha Banks, Bayley, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville and Mickie James
Following the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match, I had high hopes for the first ever all-female Chamber bout, and for the most part, the match delivered. While lacking in any truly memorable moments, the women put on a solid display here and I really enjoyed the storytelling. The entrance order and the elimination order were both well thought out and the company gave us the right result in the end. Alexa is a great champion, and she is the perfect heel for either Asuka or Nia to take on at Wrestlemania.
The Bayley and Sasha stuff was great and I hope we finally get to see these two square off at Wrestlemania. Sasha’s character work has been some of her best in recent memory since the Rumble, and the WWE needs to fully pull the trigger on her heel turn soon.
Match Rating: *** 3/4
The Bar Defeated Titus Worldwide
If ever there was an example of why Raw’s tag division needs a serious injection of talent, this was it. The match wasn’t bad, and both teams played their parts well, especially the champions, but the match lacked any drama, with no-one really buying Titus Worldwide as legitimate challengers to The Bar.
This, like a lot of the show’s mid-card, felt like it could have taken place on an edition of Raw, and no-one would have batted an eyelid.
Match Rating: ** 1/4
Asuka Defeated Nia Jax
Despite being one of the most predictable matches on the card (and that is seriously saying something) Nia and Asuka managed to deliver a reasonable mid-card match this Sunday night. Nia dominating the majority of the in-ring action, and looked strong, despite her defeat. Asuka managed to survive Nia’s onslaught and win with a roll-up, but Nia decimated her after the match to allow this feud room to continue after Mania.
This was the shortest match on the card, and it was exactly as it needed to be. Intense from the get-go, with Nia dominating and Asuka picking up the victory. This was a perfectly fine match overall.
Match Rating: ***
Matt Hardy Defeated Bray Wyatt
I’m sorry, but the Woken/Broken gimmick simply isn’t working in the WWE. Bray Wyatt is the kiss of death in the WWE at the moment, and he struck once again on Sunday night. The company should have had Wyatt win, only for Matt to go fully broken in-time for Mania, now they are left with very few options going forward.
Wyatt picking up yet another PPV defeat is no surprise, and the WWE needs to make some serious changes to his character if he is going to survive in 2018. The match itself was fairly drab, and honestly, felt as though it could have taken place on any edition of Raw. This whole thing just hasn’t worked.
Match Rating: * 1/2
Roman Reigns Defeated Braun Strowman, John Cena, The Miz, Elias, Seth Rollins and Finn Balor
So, as expected, the WWE is going with Roman Reigns Vs Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 34. How do I feel about that? Not half as bad as many people. I do, however, believe that the WWE has missed a trick with Braun Strowman. As I mentioned at the start, I had no volume for this match, it was incredibly apparent, however, just how over Braun Strowman was here. The crowd looked as if they were going wild and if I can realise that with no volume, surely Vince has to realise what a talent he has on his hands.
I’m also a fan of Roman, however, and believe he will deliver a great match with Brock at Wrestlemania. Even if everyone decides to shit all over it before the bell rings.
The match itself, while not being as strong as last year’s Chamber was still a fun ride and an entertaining way to close a fairly average show. While the other superstars had solid runs in the match, the whole thing felt like a vehicle for Reigns and Strowman, though, the latter looking strong in defeat is not a bad thing. I expected them to set up more for Mania here, and a lot of these guys paths to the events still remains unclear. I must say that I am really enjoying Elias at the moment, and I hope he gets used well at the event.
Is it possible the company could buckle under fan pressure and add Braun to the main event at Mania? It has happened before, but I don’t see it here. Roman is Vince’s golden boy and no fan pressure is likely to change that. Overall, this was a fun main event that was hindered by a predictable outcome and an inability to use all of the stars to their full potential.
Match Rating: *** 1/2
Verdict: Despite being predictable, Elimination Chamber was bookended by two solid chamber matches. The rest of the show was so-so, but it was far from a painful watch, just a fairly forgettable one in the long-run.