Last week, I bemoaned the fact that most of the outcomes of Sunday’s Elimination Chamber event were too predictable. It was pretty clear who would win the major matches, and how the Ronda Rousey contract signing would go.
I learned something Sunday. Even if something is predictable, it can still be good. While the outcomes from Sunday’s show were about as expected, the event was still fun to watch, and WWE did some good booking to set the Raw superstars up for WrestleMania 34.
The Professor’s WWE Elimination Chamber Review
Ronda Got Rowdy at Contract Signing – As predicted, Ronda Rousey’s contract signing ended up with a conflict between Rousey and the McMahon/Helmsley authority figures. There were good and bad parts about this segment. Rousey struggled on the mic in her first big WWE promo. The dialogue between Stephanie, Hunter and Rousey seemed awkward and stilted. On the good side, Kurt Angle was outstanding as he gleefully got even with Stephanie for her past treatment of him by telling Rousey all of the horrible things that HHH and Stephanie had said about her. Ronda was very good with her facial expressions as she stared down Raw’s power couple. Her glare at Stephanie after being slapped was chilling. This neatly sets the table for a Rousey/Angle vs. The Authority mixed tag match at WrestleMania. On a related note, all four of these performers were together again on Raw Monday, and Rousey was much better on the mic than she was Sunday.
Asuka Stayed Undefeated – WWE booked itself into a tight corner by pitting Asuka against Nia Jax. If Jax won, Asuka’s winning streak would be snapped. If Asuka won, she’d have defeated every major player on the Raw women’s roster, leaving no credible contenders left for her to face. Somehow, WWE managed to get both women over, with Asuka winning the match using her athleticism and Jax getting her heat back with a post-match beatdown. Oddly, though Asuka hasn’t announced her choice of champions to face at WM34, WWE seems to be proceeding as if she’ll face Alexa Bliss. Either this is a setup to a huge swerve, or it’s a gigantic hole in the story. So, WWE managed to escape a bad situation of its own making, only to BOOK THE EXACT SAME MATCH FOR NEXT WEEK!! Now, either Asuka loses her streak or Nia loses to Asuka again on a throwaway edition of Raw. It’s baffling, and makes you wonder just what in the actual hell goes on in the booking meetings.
Alexa Bliss Holds On – This was a logical choice, assuming Asuka indeed chooses to fact the Raw champion at WrestleMania. The women’s chamber match was very good. The only downside to this situation is that it extends the glacially slow heel turn of Sasha Banks. Banks appeared to go full heel on Bayley during the chamber match Sunday, only to be paired with her as if nothing happened on Monday. At least Bayley finally showed some common sense, and jumped off the apron, leaving Banks to fend for herself against Jax, Bliss and Mickie James (who seems to have turned heel for no apparent reason). WWE needs to figure out how to work a heel turn. Banks has been turning for what seems like a year, and James turned without anyone knowing.
Roman Still Reigns – As predicted, Reigns won the men’s chamber match. Braun Strowman was kept as strong as possible by having him eliminate the other five men from the match. There was nothing awful here, but nothing too exciting either. Hopefully, once WrestleMania has come and gone, and Brock Lesnar has gone back to Canada to herd goats or whatever he does, the main event scene on Raw will perk up a bit.
In other news, The Bar defended the Raw Tag titles successfully against some other team that wasn’t The Revival and wasn’t The Club. I’m not sure if anyone noticed. (I know, it was Titus Worldwide, but does it really matter?) Also, Giggling Matt Hardy defeated Chortling Bray Wyatt in a match that seems to accomplish precisely nothing of note. I think WWE ought to consider putting the two together and letting them write their own story. If Hardy’s work for Impact is any indication, it would probably be excellent.
– Next time, we’ll switch to the blue brand and see how Fastlane, the latest (and last) SmackDown exclusive PPV is shaping up. Until then….