WWE Elimination Chamber 2018 Review
A By the Numbers PPV
If WWE intended just to tick the boxes going into Wrestlemania, then Elimination Chamber this year did the job. With Wrestlemania 34’s lineup being more than spoiled online at this point, WWE kept its Raw champions looking strong going into the road to Wrestlemania. On a night the Women debut in the Elimination Chamber, will WWE be able to brew some intrigue into the night?
Women’s Elimination Chamber (WWE Raw Women’s Championship)
The match started off with Sonya Deville in the ring against Bayley. The two started off with some back and forth mat work that came off awkward at first, but the two got more into a rhythm outside the ring. Mandy Rose soon joins the two, and the double teaming ensued. Rose and Deville showed some great coordination together against Bayley; the two have gelled well as a unit.
With no eliminations happening, despite Absolution having a numbers advantage, the next person out of their pod was Sasha Banks who quickly evened up the odds for her friend. Sasha was then able to throw the Bank Statement on Rose who tapped out for the first elimination of the night as Bayley kept Deville from making the save. Sasha and Bayley worked Deville for a while until Mickie James was the next entrant into the match. Mickie came in and was instantly the highlight of the match for me. Her execution of moves compared to most of the women in this match showed just how polished in the ring Mickie is. Mickie highlighted her run in the match by coming off the top of a pod for a Thesz press onto Deville for a pinfall elimination. Soon after, Mickie is hit with a Bank Statement, and a Bayley to Belly and Mickie is eliminated. Sasha and Bayley then take a break while waiting for Alexa Bliss to come out her pod.
Bliss attempts to keep Bayley and Sasha away by holding her pod door closed. She then escapes through the other side, and a chase on the side wall of the chamber starts. Bayley and Sasha eventually close in and bring Bliss down to the ring. The match then proceeds much like many of their three-way matches have gone. Bayley and Sasha have Bliss on top of a pod on the ropes, when Sasha betrays Bayley with a kick that sends her to the floor. The team them go at each other. Bayley hits a Bayley to Belly off the top ropes on Sasha, but as she goes for the pin, Bliss rolls her up for the elimination.
It’s down to Sasha and Bliss in the end. Bliss and Sasha are getting better chemistry in the ring, and this showed it. Sadly a sequence of a Twisted Bliss of the top of a pod into a Bank Statement was stumbled and ruined the flow towards the end of the match. After the failed Bank Statement, Sasha tries to go up top, but Bliss catches her for a top rope DDT and the pinfall victory.
The women’s chamber was by far the best match of the night. I can’t wait to see all the top women talent in the chamber at the same time once the brand split PPV’s are over. Had the match had the same pace as when Mickie came in, it would’ve been incredible
Winner: Alexa Bliss (c)
The Bar vs. Titus World Wide (Raw Tag Team Championship)
WWE attempted to build some intrigue into this match by having Titus World Wide score some victories over the bar leading into this match, but we knew this outcome was imminent. This match may have been WWE’s chance to have a legitimate surprise winner on the card, but it didn’t happen.
For most of the match, it was The Bar working over Apollo in the ring. Eventually, Apollo got the hot tag into Titus, who got a few big boots in, but it wasn’t that impactful. Titus hit a Clash of the Titus on Sheamus for a near fall. Apollo hits a splash on him for another near fall. Apollo then attempts to go for a slam on Sheamus when Cesaro chump blocks him. The Bar hit a White Noise on Apollo for the win.
Winner: The Bar (c)
Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt
This match started off with Matt playing mind games by disappearing on Bray Wyatt in the middle of the ring. Matt’s then starts speaking about deleting Bray and whatever else he said. Look this feud doesn’t mean anything, and we all know it. If this feud were leading up to the Wyatt Family against The Broken Universe then maybe it would have been cool. However, we just got a flat match that even the crowd was not into at all.
Matt hit a Twist of Fate on Bray Wyatt for the win. Reminder, this is the same PPV last year that Wyatt won the WWE Championship. What a difference a year can make.
Winner: Matt Hardy
Ronda Rousey Contract Signing
Ms. MMA herself Ronda Rousey’s official contract signing was held. Interesting that her contract is just her name in size 36 font, but I’m not WWE’s lawyer, so I don’t know better. We got to hear Ronda speak for the first time, and begrudgingly she wasn’t that great. The signing was pretty awkward until Kurt Angle got involved, revealing this was plan hatched by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon ever since Wrestlemania 31 “to control the bit-.” Sadly Triple HHH escorted Angle before he could cut PG-13, but the seeds of distrust are sewn.
Ronda then became hesitant to sign the contract, and Angle fed fuel to the fire by saying Stephanie said Ronda was washed up. This caused Ronda to corner Stephanie, and HHH interfered. After some posturing, Ronda put HHH through the table in the ring. Stephanie then slapped Ronda but backed off before Ronda could retaliate. Ronda then signs her contract and tosses it on the massacred HHH.
The segment did a good job of setting up the future match at Mania between the four of them. They made sure to emphasize Ronda’s lack of special treatment and non-title opportunity at Mania. Hopefully, everything gels nicely in the coming weeks.
Men’s Elimination Chamber (#1 Contender for Universal Title)
For a match built on a premise of unpredictability, we already know who would be first in the chamber, The Miz, who would be last, Elias, and who was going to win, Roman Reigns. So with that in mind, let’s see how WWE could keep this enthralling.
The match starts off with The Miz, Finn Balor, and Seth Rollins in a triple threat. And man it starts slow. With three high work rate superstars, it starts off with tepid ring work and a string of roll-ups. No one looks strong at the start of this match at all. Eventually, the next pod opens up, and it’s John Cena in at #4, who immediately starts talking back and forth with Rollins for about thirty seconds. Boring. Eventually, the four start brawling. A pair of superplexes take out all four competitors when #5, Roman Reigns, is released from his pod. Roman takes control of the match, but Miz gets the upper hand during an exchange between Roman and Rollins and gets a near fall. A couple of near falls are exchanged between superstars until #6, Braun Strowman is released. The match takes a drastic turn after this.
One by one Braun just eliminates everyone with a power slam. Braun is quickly hit with a flurry of finishers and is taken out initially, but no one can capitalize by pinning him. Elias is released and attempts to pick some scraps, but only gets near falls. Braun then recovers and can power slam Balor after he hits a coup de grace on Reigns. Braun then continues to more or less whip everyone’s ass culminating in a power slam and elimination for everyone but Reigns. In typical Reigns fashion, he outmaneuvers Braun for a pair of spears and the victory. Braun then destroys Reigns after the match.
With such a star-studded lineup, you would think this would have been one of the better chambers. Last year’s chamber saw Wyatt take home a surprise championship victory, and this year was the antithesis. Having Braun mow through everyone and then lose to Reigns is a cliche at this point. The match may as well have just been Braun versus Roman. Maybe they could’ve had a Men’s elimination chamber for the Intercontinental Title? They’ve done it before, and without Roman or Braun the match probably would’ve been less predictable. The quality of this match is a sad downturn from last year’s classic. Roman vs. Brock Lesnar is now officially set for Wrestlemania 34.
Winner: Roman Reigns (New #1 Contender)
Overall the PPV wasn’t that good. The Women’s chamber match was the highlight of an otherwise underwhelming night. Some intrigue definitely would’ve elevated this card, but with such predictable matches set for the night, there was none to be had.
Match of the Night: Women’s Elimination Chamber
Wrestler of the Night: Mickie James
Senior Editor/Heels of Wrestling
@MXMurden and @TheHowPod