JZ Says: WWE Elimination Chamber 2018 (Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman)

T-Mobile Arena – Las Vegas, NV – Sunday, February 25, 2018

Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Jonathan Coachman are on commentary.

~MATCH #1~
RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss defeats Bayley, Mandy Rose, Mickie James, Sasha Banks, and Sonya Deville at 29:35 in an Elimination Chamber Match to retain the title. Bliss has been the Champion since 8.28.17, and this is her fourth defense. It’s her first defense since the end of October, which is pretty inexcusable. She has an uneasy alliance with Mickie, since Bayley and Sasha are friends and Mandy and Sonya are in Absolution. Bayley and Sonya start it off. They battle back and forth for the first five minutes, and the third entrant is Mandy, which is bad news for Bayley. The Absolution duo goes after Bayley and use their numbers advantage to take control. Luckily for Bayley, Sasha is the next one in and she tears into Sonya and Mandy. The battle rages on, and Sasha traps Mandy in the Bank Statement and forces a tap-out for the first elimination at 13:50. Mickie is the fifth entrant, and she’s by far the most experienced competitor in this match. She hits Sonya with a Thesz Press from the top of a pod to eliminate her at 17:35. Moments later, Sasha hits Mickie with the Backstabber and Bayley follows with the Bayley-to-Belly to eliminate Mickie at 18:00. That leaves Sasha and Bayley alone until Alexa enters. The future Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection simply waits for Alexa’s pod to open, but the Champ tries to run away from her opponents. They all fight on top of a pod, and Sasha feigns helping Bayley but then turns on her! Graves knew it. Bayley makes her way back into the fight and has no problem attacking her friend Sasha now. They fight up on the second rope and Bayley delivers a Bayley-to-Belly, but Bliss sneaks up behind her and rolls her up for the pin at 25:30. Now we’re down to two. Sasha and Alexa fight in and outside the ring, using the Chamber to their advantage when they can. In the end, Bliss connects on a DDT (with Sasha hanging from the top rope) to get the pin. This felt long and they didn’t really do anything interesting with it. Sasha turned on Bayley with no real benefit, and the angle never went anywhere anyway. Bummer for a first effort here.
Rating: **¾

~MATCH #2~
RAW Tag Team Champions The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) defeat Titus Worldwide (Titus O’Neil & Apollo) (w/ Dana Brooke) to retain the titles at 10:05. Apparently, Titus and Apollo have three recent victories over the current Champions. Sheamus and Cesaro attack right away and they’re in control early on, keeping Apollo in their half of the ring. Coachman talks about how many great teams there are on RAW, but he doesn’t name any. Yeah, that’s what I thought. This goes on forever, and then Apollo makes the tag. Titus cleans house and the referee loses control. In the scrum, Cesaro and Sheamus hit a double-team White Noise on Apollo to get the win. Why not pin Titus? This was a typical RAW match, with a few flashes of brilliance from Apollo.
Rating: **

~MATCH #3~
Asuka defeats Nia Jax at 8:15. I feel like these two had solid matches in NXT, so let’s see how they can compare here. If Nia wins this match, she gets added to the Women’s Title match at WrestleMania that Asuka earned by winning the Women’s Royal Rumble match. With that as motivation, Nia controls the early parts of the match, using her size and power to subdue the Empress of Tomorrow. Asuka is fighting for her undefeated streak so she’s motivated too, so she makes various comeback attempts. Nia has the advantage for most of the match though and looks ready to put Asuka away with a powerbomb, but Asuka counters with a rana and cradles the legs to get the pin. That was just the right length and they laid it out very well so as not to expose Nia’s limitations. After the match, Nia attacks Asuka and puts her through the ringside barricade, which makes no sense since Asuka would go on to challenge Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania and Nia would eventually earn a RAW Women’s Title match with Alexa Bliss. It just took the shine off Asuka for no real reason.
Rating: ***

~MATCH #4~
Matt Hardy defeats Bray Wyatt at 9:55. The crowd is moderately into Hardy’s shtick here, which starts off as him disappearing and reappearing. Thrilling stuff here guys. They diddle around for a while and Hardy gets the crowd to chant “Delete” and stuff like that. The commentary team loses interest in the match when Bray goes on offense, which I get. The crowd is distracted by something too, probably a fight or a beach ball. The crowd starts chanting “we want beach ball,” so yes it was a beach ball that distracted them. Is it obvious I don’t care about this match? Now the crowd chants “Rusev Day,” and Coachman tries to explain that the crowd is trying to be crazy like Bray and Hardy are crazy. Ugh, no, dude. Hardy hits the Twist of Fate to get the pin. That was really a bad match with a crowd that was begging for anything else.
Rating: *½

~Ronda Rousey Contract Signing
Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and Kurt Angle come out for the Ronda Rousey contract signing. Formalities go on for a bit, then Angle says a bit too much about how Stephanie and HHH want Ronda around because they want to get revenge on her for humiliating them back at WrestleMania 31. This leads to Ronda slamming HHH through a table! Stephanie slaps Ronda in response, and the crowd chants “You Fucked Up!” That’s a great time to use that cant, frankly. Stephanie wisely bails before Ronda can throttle her. Ronda then signs her contract. Fun segment that set up a fun match for WrestleMania. Seemed more like a RAW segment, but whatever.

~MATCH #5~
Roman Reigns defeats Braun Strowman, Elias, Finn Balor, John Cena, Seth Rollins, and Intercontinental Champion The Miz in an Elimination Chamber Match at 40:15. Elias cuts an amazing promo before the match, duh. He, along with Braun, Reigns, Balor, and Rollins are entering for the first time. Cena is entering for the seventh time (with three wins and five eliminations), and Miz for the third time (with one elimination). Miz, Balor, and Rollins will start the match. They preview what would end up being the opening match at WrestleMania, and the commentators are dogging their pace for some reason. Cena is the fourth man in the match, and he has history with both Rollins and Miz. So far this is just a match, but it’s not boring or anything. The fifth man in the match is Reigns. Everybody does more stuff, and we finally get Braun as the sixth entrant. Braun destroys everybody, and even chases Miz up the Chamber to slam him repeatedly off the wall, and then hurl him down on top of everybody else. This is fun. Braun crushes Miz with a Powerslam for the first elimination at 20:20. Elias is the last man in and he’s in no hurry to face The Monster Among Men so he stays in his pod. Cena, Balor, Rollins, and Reigns execute a quadruple powerbomb on Braun and all four cover him, but Braun kicks out! A finisher parade starts, and he crowd is getting hyped. Braun hits Elias with a Powerslam for his second elimination at 25:55. Cena goes next at 26:25 via another Braun powerslam. More finishers are used to try and eliminate Braun, but Balor gets caught in a powerslam and eliminated at 30:45. Rollins and Reigns join forces to try to take Braun out, which is smart strategy regardless of whether you were an elite unit together at one point. That doesn’t last long, as Rollins foolishly turns on Reigns before they can get rid of the Monster. That proves to be Rollins’ undoing, as Braun catches him with a powerslam and the pin at 36:40. Braun has eliminated five men, which any other year would be enough to win, but this year is “The Biggest Elimination Chamber Match in WWE History.” Seriously, JoJo even had to announce it that way in the beginning. We’re down to Reigns and Strowman, and the crowd chants “Get These Hands” as they go face-to-face. It ends when Reigns hits a succession of Superman Punches and Spears to finally put Strowman down. This was a bit long but mostly entertaining, though it was very clear everyone was just killing time until Braun Strowman came out.
Rating: ***¾

JZ Says
Woof, this is a show that makes a strong case for dual-branded pay-per-views. The main event is enjoyable enough, but the four matches leading up to it were pretty tough to get through (excluding Nia v Asuka, which did its job). All this show did was make Roman Reigns v Brock Lesnar official, and everyone already knew that anyway.

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