Elimination Chamber (2018) – Slow Road To Mania

Elimination Chamber 2018Lots of wrestling on the site lately… what can I say, it’s WrestleMania season and I’m keeping up with my promise to myself to stay more on top of things (and to write more). It sort of shocked me when I looked back and saw just how far behind I am when it comes to PPV recaps. This is the first one I’ve done since Battleground in August and only the second since last year’s WrestleMania.  All right… enough complaining. Here we go.

Elimination Chamber (2018) took place on February 25, 2018, at T-Mobile Arena in the Las Vegas Valley, in Paradise, Nevada. It was the eighth event under the Elimination Chamber chronology and the final Raw-exclusive PPV as after WrestleMania 34, we’re going back to cobranded shows. Looking at the upcoming schedule it also looks like we’re going back to a once per month schedule as opposed to twice monthly which is tremendous. Mark came over and we watched this one live on the WWE Network. We didn’t watch the pre show it but a quick look at Wikipedia tells me that Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson defeated The Miztourage (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel) in just under 9 minutes. Stuff like this further cements my stance of not watching the pre shows.

Let’s get into it. (All photos courtesy WWE.com) 

Elimination Chamber 2018 - Ladies ChamberAlexa Bliss  Defeated Bayley, Mandy Rose, Mickie James, Sasha Banks, and Sonya Deville to Retain the WWE Raw Women’s Championship – Elimination Chamber Match

This was an outstanding way to kick off the show. I can’t overstate how awesome I think the current state of women’s wrestling is today. That fact that we’re getting an all female version of the chamber on the heels of a ladies Royal Rumble last month (that closed the show nonetheless!) is quite simply tremendous. I was also thrilled to see Alexa Bliss hold on to her title here. Generally speaking I’m not a huge fan of matches where the champion doesn’t have some advantage and I’m really not a fan of these types of matches where the champion is often at a DISadvantge. In addition to a great showing from the hell champ Bliss, we finally (FINALLY) got some movement forward of the whole Bailey vs Banks program which we’ve all seen coming forever and a day now. The pairing of Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville worked really well here even though they weren’t in for too terribly long but they proved themselves to deserving of the hype around them and certainly of their spot in this match. Nearly 30 minutes for this one and it was pretty action packed throughout. Kudos to all the women. Great way to start off the show. The guys have quite a bit of what ahead of them later on the card to set up what the ladies managed.

Elimination Chamber 2018 - The Bar vs Titus WorldwideCesaro and Sheamus Defeated Titus Worldwide (Apollo and Titus O’Neil) To Retain the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship

I continue to struggle about the tag team divisions in WWE. Cesaro and Sheamus looked good here as did Apollo and Titus though it was tough to imagine a scenario where Titus Worldwide would walk out with the titles here. It’s been quite some time since the tag division on Raw has been compelling for me. Hoping post Mania when we’ve got both brands represented on every PPV we’ll be able to make some better matchups. As for this match it was just over 10 minutes and was a decent match but something I’d typically fast forward through if it was on Raw.

Elimination Chamber 2018 - Asuka vs Nia JaxAsuka Defeated Nia Jax

The stipulation here was that if Nia Jax wins she’s added to the WWE Raw Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania 34. Even though Asuka got the victory I have a feeling that’s still where we’re headed. Nia was built as a wrecking machine and looks REALLY good in that role. Asuka is clearly a very talented wrestler by any standard but I’ve got a hard time caring about her. Not sure if that’s cause I haven’t followed her career or what. This was a rather short match at just over eight minutes but it did what I believe it was intended to do: made Nia Jax into a legit contender and continued to build Asuka’s streak while adding some legitimacy to it. I’ll go ahead and say it right now. They’re CLEARLY making it out so that Asuka is going to with the title at WrestleMania from Alexa Bliss. I’ll be rooting for Bliss.

Elimination Chamber 2018 - Matt Hardy vs Bray Wyatt“Woken” Matt Hardy Defeated Bray Wyatt

Nine minutes and 55 second of solid “meh” here. I realize that to many wrestling fans these days Woken (or Broken) Matt Hardy is the best thing going. I haven’t watched TNA for several years now so while I know about the character I just couldn’t care less than I do. Throw in the babbling of Bray Wyatt which I used to love but now I’m totally over and this is not much more than dueling promos that I don’t care about. While this wasn’t a gimmick match it was the gimmick match, if that makes any sense. Matt Hardy disappears, he’s under the ring, he’s singing, Bray Wyatt does his little crab walk, etc. Not sure if I’m showing my age as a wrestling fan but even though we got a pretty solid wrestling match it was just underwhelming for me. I do have to say that I laughed out loud when Wyatt did the crab walk and Hardy said something to the affect of “I applaud your flexibility!” Other than that I’d be happy to DELETE this match from the card.

Elimination Chamber 2018 - Ronda Rousey ContractRonda Rousey Contract Signing

I don’t normally recap non-wrestling segments but this one took up SO much time on the show I couldn’t write a recap of Elimination Chamber without mentioning it. It’s pretty clear from this segment that we know what we’re getting when it comes to Rousey at Mania. I was happy to see that they brought back up the history between her and Triple H and Stephanie from WrestleMania 31. Rousey was pretty terrible on the mic and I can’t decide if it’s that she’s really uncomfortable or if it was part of the show. I’m leaning toward she being uncomfortable. I can only hope that as she transitions from MMA to pro wrestling she’ll work on her promo. That said, when things got violent and she suplexed HHH through the table and proceeded to stared down Stephanie she looked right at home. I’d be shocked if we don’t a mixed tag match at Mania pitting her and Angle against HHH and Stephanie.

Elimination Chamber 2018 - Mens ChamberRoman Reigns Defeated Braun Strowman, Elias, Finn Bálor, John Cena, Seth Rollins, and The Miz –  Elimination Chamber Match

I didn’t think they’d be able to do it, but the guys managed to measure up favorable to the gals chamber match. 40 minutes of solid wrestling where Braun Strowman was clearly the stand out but where everyone was able to shine for brief moments. I’m not thrilled with the Reigns win here but I’m not nearly as upset as some (most) wrestling fans out there. Reigns is the star they’ve been building for years and it makes sense that they’re going for the rematch between him and Lesnar at the biggest show of the year. You can be pissed about that match but it’s gonna sell a boat load of tickets and that’s all that matters.

Below is a list of eliminations from both chamber matches if you’re interested.

Elimination Chamber 2018 Order

Final Thoughts

Overall this was a good show but it felt REALLY long and slow to me. The Rousey segment went on far longer than it needed to and they Hardy vs Wyatt match just sort of felt like a speed bump. Both of the chamber matches were outstanding and I’m very much looking forward to where they go over the next six weeks with the winners and with Asuka. It’s WrestleMania season so now is the best time of year to be a wrestling fan. We’ve got one more PPV before Mania and I simply can’t wait to see how it all plays out!

Upcoming WWE PPV Schedule

Here’s a look at the PPV schedule through SummerSlam.

  • Fastlane (SmackDown) – 3.11.2018
  • WrestleMania 34 – 4.8.2018
  • Backlash – 5.6.2018
  • Money in the Bank – 6.17.2018
  • Extreme Rules – 7.15.2018
  • SummerSlam – 8.19.2018

Did you watch Elimination Chamber? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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