The Rope Break #32: WWE Elimination Chamber 2018 Review!!

Hey-OOOOOO! I am back in action and flu free! That’s right, a few days ago I was all whiney and gripey while typing up my predictions here because I was all sickly like. I checked it, had a fever of 103….c’mon baby, do you do more than dance? I’m hot blooded, hot blooded. Now for all of you not old enough to instantly recognize the greatness of Foreigner and their glorious words of wisdom, do yourself a favor and illegally download it. But, we’re not here for that. We are here to talk and complain about what turned out to be a surprisingly decent PPV. So, let’s do this.

Credit: WWE.com

WWE Elimination Chamber 2018 Review

Credit: WWE.com

The Miztourage VS. The ClubNow in nearly every single one of these, I cover the Kick-Off show match (matches) and complain about how pointless or meaningless they are. How they are, almost always, simply RAW-caliber filler that are often forced to suffer the indignity having a commercial break interrupt them even though this isn’t being aired on network television where advertisements are unavoidable. So, will this be the first time that I admit to being wrong?

Credit: WWE.com

No! The Club (Kings of the Pre-Show) took on Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas in what was a decent match, with no real build up, underlying storyline or consequences. All men involved did a good job and put on an adequate performance. The Club got the win, not that it will probably translate into anything down the line. And then, just to rub salt in the wound, we get to cut to the back, where the Revival are watching the match and in the middle of them answering a question posed to them about what they just witnessed; they get cut off as we cut back to the Countdown Panel, so we can hear what THEY have to say. Which is usually, nothing of any substance. Unless it’s Booker. Shucky-Ducky Quack Quack, indeed!

Credit: WWE.com

Winners: The Club

Credit: WWE.com

Alexa Bliss VS. Sasha Banks VS. Mickie James VS. Mandy Rose VS. Sonya Deville VS. Bayley (Women’s Elimination Chamber Match for the RAW Women’s Championship)This match was honestly pretty good and I don’t just say that in an attempt to jump onto the Women’s Revolution bandwagon. It was really pretty good. Every woman played their parts pretty well and there were plenty of good little moments sprinkled throughout.

Credit: WWE.com

Deville and Rose from Absolution did a good job, with Deville starting the match against Bayley and going toe-to-toe with her until Mandy entered the match for the double beatdown. The two of them worked Bayley over nicely, right up until Sasha Banks entered the match and evened the odds. Sasha would go on to eliminate Mandy Rose with a Banks Statement.

Credit: WWE.com

Mickie would then enter the match, like a ball of fire, which would lead to her leaping from the top of one of the pods and end with Sonya Deville getting eliminated. Mickie would then get the axe, leaving Alexa to face off with Bayley and Banks, the two bestest of friends. But, this is an “every woman for themselves”-situation and it was only a matter of time before Sasha would turn on Bayley, with a swift kick to her friend’s face. Now, I, and about every other smark on the interwebs and beyond, have been predicting this heel turn for quite a while now. It’s been teased, but never fully executed plenty of times. So, was that the case here as well? Would Bayley just shrug it off, like, “Ah well, I get it. She did what she had to do”? Apparently not, because Bayley went after Sasha with some savagery and Banks gave it right back.

Credit: WWE.com

Anyway, Bayley would be eliminated next, leaving Bliss and Sasha. Alexa leapt off of the top of one the pods with her little Twisted Bliss thingie. Which was pretty spectacular, quite frankly. Anyway, Sasha would gain the upper hand, but after some heelish quick thinking, Bliss would get the pin and retain. The real magic came after the match, as Alexa was doing a post-match interview, tearing up as the crowd chanted “You Deserve It”, she would go on to tell everyone that they should never stop dreaming. Only to instantly sober up and inform everyone that they suck. Oh, Alexa! You are fantastic.

Credit: WWE.com

Winner: Alexa Bliss

Credit: WWE.com

Titus Worldwide VS. The Bar (RAW Tag Team Championships): Here’s where things slowed down, a bit. This was an okay match…had this been Monday Night RAW. But this is a big event, dammit! Let’s put more effort into every single match, man. Nothing that any of the four men did in this match was bad. It was, again, just that this match was predictable. Predictable because both members of Titus Worldwide have scored wins over both members of The Bar, separately, and that usually translates to the other team ( the one with more recent losses) winning in the match that counts, i.e. a title match.

Credit: WWE.com

Now, this match had a few good things going for it. Titus and Apollo worked pretty well together, though Apollo spent much more time in the actual match. Apollo definitely got a bit more time in the spotlight, which isn’t a bad thing, as the guy is very talented. Given more time, Titus and Crews could tighten things up and present themselves as a competent and entertaining Tag Team, much like Sheamus and Cesaro have done in the last year or so. Speaking of which, Cesaro and Sheamus looked good, as always, they managed to get the win and retain their Championships. There is no lacking in skill or ability on their end. They just need some better characters to riff off of, to make the match mean more. Unfortunately, that’s one of the things that was lacking in this one.

Credit: WWE.com

Winners: The Bar

Credit: WWE.com

Nia Jax VS. Asuka (If Nia Wins, She Becomes a Part of the RAW Women’s Match at WrestleMania): So, we go from a match where I feel that “character development” was sorely lacking to a match where I think that a superstar was born. I have been a fan of Nia since her debut in NXT. I felt that the Women’s Division could be well served with a “monster” competitor in it’s ranks. Though, Nia always seemed to be getting a good push here and there, it always seemed to end with her being defeated in the end and starting all over again. Recently, she has been back on the right path improving with every single match she had and garnering plenty of the spotlight. And, this match may have been a huge step in the right direction for her.

Credit: WWE.com

“But, Curt, I know what happened here, she lost! How can you be saying that” you may be starting to ask? Well, here’s how my logic plays out. Asuka may have gotten the win, but this is one of the first real times where Asuka looked beaten down and seconds from suffering her first loss in WWE. Granted, Nia didn’t managed to put the “Empress of Tomorrow” down for a three count, but she did make her look beatable. Had this been a No DQ or even a Triple Threat match, Nia would have had it in the bag. Look at what Nia did after the match was over, when she slammed Asuka through the barrier. Sure, it happens quite often, but here it felt a little different. Maybe, I’m crazy? But, I think that overall, this match was a fantastic shot in the arm for Nia Jax’s career and should have boosted her up the ladder in the RAW Women’s Division, even after suffering a loss.

Credit: WWE.com

Winner: Asuka (DUH)

Credit: WWE.com

Woken Matt Hardy VS. Bray Wyatt: When I was typing up my predictions a few days ago, all I wanted from this match was “Something”. Something different. Something new. Something that makes me look forward to this feud continuing. Something that would give this whole thing some sense of finality. Unfortunately, none of that happened. Sure, (this may be the most repetitive thing I’ll say on here) this match was okay, but nothing really happened. Fine, Matt got a win. That should count for something, right? Kinda’, but does it look like it going to head to a new chapter for either he or Wyatt? No. Matt played some mind games, which was funny. Matt mocked Bray, by applauding his little Crab Walk-Back Arch thingie and caused Wyatt to look as perplexed as I have ever seen him, which was funny as well. But, that was really it. I was stoked for Woken/Broken Matt to pop up in WWE, but I was also fully convinced that it’d be misused. Glad to see I’m still right more often than not. WONDERFUL!

Credit: WWE.com

Winner: Woken Matt Hardy

Credit: WWE.com

Ronda Rousey Contract Signing: Now, I’m not going to go through this step by step, as I know that this is probably the one highlight being heavily scrutinized from last night. I’ll just say that it was fairly well done. I fully expected some action, like a table getting flipped over, followed by some aggressive finger pointing. But, I honestly didn’t see all of this happening.

Credit: WWE.com

Quick recap (even though I said it didn’t need to be done): Ronda’s in the ring with Kurt Angle, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, about to sign her contract, when Angle decides to tell her that Steph and H are out to screw her. Hunter shuts Angle up and tries to escort him up the ramp, when Kurt, who still had a live microphone (Good Job, Trips!) informs Rousey that Steph bashed her privately. Rousey gets in Stephanie’s face, only to have Triple H try to cool things down and gets suplexed by Ronda through a table. Steph then slaps Rousey, runs away and only comes back after Ronda signs her contract and heads for the exit.

Credit: WWE.com

This was very well done! This was an excellent start to Rousey’s career and definitely the best build up, so far, for a match at this year’s WrestleMania. Maybe we’ll get Rousey & Angle VS. Triple H & Stephanie McMahon? Though, the little Alex Jones voice in my head (everyone has one of those, right? Alex says I’m not crazy!) tells me that there is something weird afoot here. On the Post-Show, RAWTalk, Stephanie used the phrase “Know Your Role” once or twice, when discussing Rousey. Maybe, The Rock is returning for a little team up? I could live with whatever after this type of hype.

Credit: WWE.com

Elias VS. John Cena VS. Braun Strowman VS. Roman Reigns VS. Seth Rollins VS. Finn Balor VS. The Miz (7-Man Elimination Chamber Match, Winner Becomes #1 Contender to Face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania): Roman Reigns won. No one was shocked. The End.

Credit: WWE.com

Okay, I guess I should do a little more than that? So this match was fairly predictable. Reigns won, which shouldn’t have surprised anyone who has been watching WWE for more than six months or so. It seems to have been written in stone that Reigns will usurp Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship and rightfully take his place at the top of WWE’s roster as “One of the Most Polarizing Superstars in WWE History”, which simply translates as “The Guy That We Will Crown ‘The Guy’ Regardless of How Much He Gets Booed”. It is unavoidable and the sooner you accept it, the sooner you can begin to get over it.

Credit: WWE.com

Now, on to the positives. This match was actually pretty good and each guy did a well. Elias continues to improve and is slowly becoming someone that I pay more attention to. The Miz continued to be the best heel in WWE, as he attempted to scheme and squirm through this match, but ended up being the first to get eliminated. Cena looked decent as well, all cocksure ego. Which seemed to be a thin candy shell over an almost depressing dude who realizes that he is coming to the end of his career and he doesn’t quite stack up anymore with this newer generation. Look to his interview on RAWTalk, following the show, for evidence of this and maybe even a reason to care about what Cena is planning on doing. The guy actually made me feel for him a bit, which is something I never thought I’d be saying about Cena.

Credit: WWE.com

Rollins and Finn both started the match (along with Miz) and lasted until the final four. Finn had plenty of good little moments, but none better, I think, than when he faced of with Strowman and almost held his own. Hopefully this is just a hint of the way things may be going, as Balor deserves a spot at the top and can definitely be showcased as that slightly smaller, underdog who achieves amazing things. Rollins also seems to be getting pushed a bit, probably for a future feud with Reigns, as is evident from the events of just this past week. His prominence in last Monday’s Gauntlet Match and his performance in this one.

Credit: WWE.com

In the end, it came down to Reigns and Braun, which really wasn’t any surprise, and Reigns won, which was less of a shock. If Braun doesn’t get a title by the summer, then I don’t know what’s going on. The guy has gotten so good and I’m not usually a fan of big, lumbering monsters. Braun hasn’t exactly broken the mold, but he has definitely put some cracks in it, as the guy is pretty smooth and agile, for a big man and can maintain a quick pace. WWE has got a gem in him, something I honestly didn’t see when he first debuted. Strowman has even begun to build a bit of a personality, moving past the roaring “I’m Not Through With You!” and morphing into someone who can be kinda’ funny. For example, after eliminating Elias, he shouted out, “Go Home! Go Home! If you have a home.” Little things like that can go a long way and shows just why the fans seem to be solidly behind this guy, as he is easily over.

Credit: WWE.com

Winner: Roman Reigns

 

So there you have it, a pretty decent show. Both Elimination Chamber matches were good, though the outcomes weren’t all that surprising. I really don’t think that any finish to any match was a surprise, really. Heck, as proof, I predicted every single match outcome correctly…except for the Pre-Show match and that doesn’t really count. Nia VS. Asuka was a great match, for Nia, if something comes of it. The Ronda Rousey contract signing was well done and helped build the hype around Rousey and her debut at WrestleMania. The other two matches could have and should have been good, if more attention and care had been given to them, but that wasn’t the case. It is for these reasons and more that WWE Elimination Chamber 2018 gets a 3 out of 5 on the Official Nerd Nation Radio Pocket Protector Scale!

I’ll be back in just two weeks, to offer up my predictions for Smackdown’s Fastlane PPV. So, be sure to check back here or check us out on any of our other platforms. We’re on Facebook (so give us a Like and/or Follow), Instagram…Twitter, I think and Grinder. Coming soon to Myspace!

You can also drop me a line at Curt@nerdnationradio.com

Credit: WWE.com