Strowman Better Have the Championship by Summerslam – An Elimination Chamber Recap for 2/25/18

The last single-brand PPV comes to us from Paradise, Nevada, aka Las Vegas, from the T-Mobile arena.

The Kickoff

The Club Vs. The Miztourage

Gallows and Anderson get the win here with a Magic Killer to Curtis Axel.  It was a fine match and nice to see Axel and Bo wrestle occasionally.

Let the Eliminations Begin!

Actually, not quite yet.  Although the night started with the Women’s Elimination Chamber match.  Let’s talk about the three matches they used to fill in the gaps.

Titus Worldwide Vs. The Bar

The only thing you need to know is that Cesaro hit a Springboard European Uppercut to retain the tag titles.

“Woken” Matt Hardy Vs. Bray Wyatt

The crowd was all over the place in this one.  I thought they had weird enthusiasm with chants like “We want Nero”.  I couldn’t believe my naiveity when I realized they were actually cheering, “We want beach balls!”  The crowd wasn’t into this at all.  On one hand, Bray and Matt are perfect opponents for each other.  On the other hand, this is what happens when WWE runs a matchup into the ground.

I liked how it started off.  Matt came to the ring with relatively enthusiastic “Delete” chants.  When Bray hit the lights to try to ambush the vessel of Matthew Hardy, the Woken one vanished.  He came over the sound system singing the “Obsolete” song.  After that, they lost the crowd.  Matt eventually hit a Twist of Fate to win the match.

Either they need to start shooting stuff at the compound or Brother Nero needs to manage Matt for a couple of months.  And for the love of god, Bray and Matt need new opponents.

Nia Jax Vs. Asuka

However unlikely Nia winning was, I did think there was a possibility here.  Or maybe Asuka wouldn’t lose by pinfall or submission but there was a possibility that there would be some kind of Dusty finish so Nia got added to the Mania card come April.

Alas, it was not to be.  It’s just one of two cases of building up a Monster heel for several months only to put over someone else before Mania.  I am a little conflicted on this one though, I love Asuka and I do think her loss needs to be really deliberate and on a big show.  Maybe Mania?  I have a feeling it won’t be until she has one of the two Women’s Championships.

The Ronda Rousey Segment

Two things always happens in these contract signing segments: a table gets flipped or someone goes through it.  I’d love for someone to find an example where it was civil and they politely shook each others hands.  By that standard though, this didn’t disappoint.

Tonight marked the return of The Game along with Stephanie and Kurt Angle to get this contract signed.  Triple H sang Ronda’s praises, Rousey cut a lame promo about how much this means to her, all while Kurt is making really weird faces in the corner of the screen.  Something’s up and Kurt knows it.

Turns out, the contract is about keeping Ronda under The Authority’s thumb as revenge for assaulting the COO and Chief Brand Officer at Wrestlemania 31 2 years ago.

As HHH tries to shoo Angle to the back blaming it all on the flu, Ronda knows what’s up.  And this is the Ronda we need in the WWE.  Find her a Heyman (whether the actual man or someone great on the microphone), and just have her be the pissed off lady that put Trips through the table and barely flinched while taking that slap from Steph.  If you manage her right, she’ll be a good presence in the ring.

And here’s the thing, I think they intentionally had Ronda cut a bad promo that people would boo (they did).  She’s not known for being great on the microphone even when it’s scripted.  WWE wanted you to see that switch that happened.

The money is on Kurt as the tag partner for Mania.  It makes sense.  They’ve both insanely talented technically and I can see an Ankle Lock/Arm Bar combo on HHH.

Women’s Elimination Chamber Match

  • Bayley Vs Sonya Deville start us off with the other four ladies in the pods.
    • Bayley hits a cool elbow drop to the black mat area to Deville.
  • Mandy Rose enters the chamber and Bayley realizes she has a tough 5 minutes ahead her.  She keeps them at bay (no pun intended) for a moment until Absolution runs the numbers game.
    • Deville hits a spear to Bayley on the outside that looked pretty brutal.
  • Predictably, Sasha Banks is the next one in the chamber to even out the numbers.
  • While Bayley recuperates, Banks runs the table.
  • Banks locks Mandy Rose in the Banks Statement while Bayley intercepts Deville on her way to make the save.  Rose taps out to be the first woman to be eliminated from this match type.
  • Mickie James is next in.  She hits a sweet Hurricanrana on Deville.
  • James and Bayley start climbing the chamber for some reason.  James knocks back Bayley, climbs to the top of the pod, hits Deville with some sort of diving crotch-to-face maneuver.  She pins Deville to get the second elimination.
  • The success quickly wears off of Mickie and finds herself on the receiving end of a Back Stabber.  Bayley follows it up with a quick Bayley-to-Belly and get s the pin on James.
  • Alexa now joins the match and immediately tries to avoid Bayley and Banks.  Climbing the walls to avoid her.
  • The match turns as Sasha offers her hand to pull her up on top of the pod and instead kicks her off.  It’s like that scene from Lion King when Scar throws Mufasa to the stampede below.
  • Sasha is a pretty dumb wrestler.  you should wait until you neutralized your opponent before breaking your alliance.  Now I believe Alexa can win with those two losing focus.
  • The former friends go back and forth for a bit until Bayley hits a Avalanche Bayley-to-Belly.  Alexa takes andvantage and rolls Bayley right off Sasha for a pin.  Bayley is eliminated.
  • Alexa tangles Banks’ leg in the chain and uses that opportunity to climb to the top of a pod to hit a Twisted Bliss to the black mat area.
  • Alexa takes advantage of Sasha’s attempt to climb to the top of the pod and hits a massive draping DDT to seal Sasha’s fate.  Alexa Bliss is your first ever Women’s Elimination Chamber winner.
  • Alexa fakes an emotionally reaction that was super believable…until she makes fun of the crowd for never being able to achieve their dreams like she can.

Overall, this was the better match of the night.  It was a good showcase for everyone.  Bayley had the crowd behind her.  Mickie took advantage of every moment she was in the chamber.  Both members of Absolution looked great.  My only problem is that Sasha has terrible heel-turn timing.  Maybe that’s the point?  Most of the heels are idiots.

Men’s Elimination Chamber Match

  • Elias starts off with a rousing performance in the Chamber before he enters his pod.  I kind of wish he kept playing for the whole match.
  • Rollins, Finn, and The Miz start off in the chamber.
  • Miz tries to form alliances but no one else is having it.  Too Sweet to Bálor?  No.  Shield fist to Seth?  Nope.  Finn and Seth take on Miz and try to neutralize him before working on each other.
  • Cena enters the match and stares down Rollins for taking him out the other night.  He knocks down both Seth and Miz for a 10 knuckle shuffle.
  • A lot of back and forth between all four guys with no one with a clear advantage.
    • Rollins and Cena hit double superplexes on Miz and Bálor respectively.
  • Roman is up next in the match and runs the table on the stunned competitors in the ring, battered from the Superplexes.
  • Rollins and Reigns stare each other down.
  • Rollins hits a series of 4-way It kicks until Roman dodges one and takes Miz down.
  • Braun Strowman enters and runs the table.  He hits a double-suplex on Cena and Rollins.  He catches a cross body from Finn and uses him as a weapon against Reigns.  Miz tries to escape by climbing a pod but Braun catches him, slams his head against the plexiglass repeatedly and throws him onto the four other competitors below.
  • Braun hits a Running Powerslam on Miz for the first elimination.
  • Elias finally enters the chamber.  Well, not really.  He just stays there until Braun is distracted.
  • Finally Cena, Bálor, Reigns and Rollins Quad-Powerbowb Strowman.  When that doesn’t work, each of the four hit their finishers.  Strowman is not amused.  Finally Elias enters and tries to take advantage of the downed four opponents.  After a failed attempted lift on Strowman for a Electric Chair position, he found himself leaving the chamber after a Running Powerslam and pin from Strowman.
  • The remaining four try to team up again, but it didn’t go so well from Cena.  He got caught attempting a diving crossbody on Strowman and ended up on the end of another Running Powerslam.  Cena is eliminated.
  • Finn almost puts out Reigns with a Coup de Grace.  Before he can make a pin, Strowman capitilizes and hits yet another Running Powerslam to take it down to 3.
  • Reigns and Rollins can’t just be smart and just go after Strowman.
  • Rollins knocks Strowman down to his knees, hits a couple superkicks, goes for the Curb Stomp, and that’s where the bottom drops out.  Yes, another Powerslam and now Rollins is gone.
  • The crowd starts booing.  The inevitable is happening.  Roman is going over.  Sure, Strowman hit a couple big moves on Reigns, but Roman drives him through one of the pods, hits two spears, and it’s over.
  • WWE tries to win us back by immediately attacking Roman, putting him through two Powerslams and throwing him through a pod himself.  I hate that it works so well and I immediately forget what happened just a few moments ago.

The WWE had an opportunity to do something interesting here but they’re going to stick to the plan.  I get it.  Let’s just get closure with Roman winning clean at Mania so we can move on.  I feel like if they don’t do it and Brock leaves the company, Vince will be heartbroken.  His health will decline rapidly and that will be it.

On the other hand, I hate that there never seems to be any real surprises between Royal Rumble and Mania.  WWE needs to be a bit more flexible.