How about instead of showing off your fancy augmented reality floating graphic with the rules, you just put a graphic up on screen that isn’t f*cking SLANTED AND MOVING, MAKING IT HARDER TO READ?
ELIMINATION CHAMBER MATCH FOR A SHOT AT THE WWE UNIVERSAL TITLE MATCH LATER TONIGHT:
Sami Zayn vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Baron Corbin vs. Cesaro vs. Jey Uso vs. Kevin Owens - 8/10
They did the entrances for the four people in the pods, then played a long hype package for the match, then they did the entrances for the two people starting the match (Dragon and Cesaro). Ceasro’ trunks looked like chainmail, and looked bad on TV.
Bryan’s knee was the only thing resembling a real story. Otherwise, it was just a typical Elimination Chamber match, with the typical spots. It’s not good that we’ve reached the point where I can use the word “typical” to describe anything about the Elimination Chamber, but that’s what WWE has brought us to. All of the babyfaces were given a chance to shine (and Jey Uso, too), but the idea seemed to be to particularly shine up Bryan and Cesaro.
I’m happy Bryan won, but if we’re not getting the big, full, Bryan vs. Roman program with the guy the fans got behind beating Vince’s handpicked guy who Vince wanted them to get behind, then I don’t think it’s worth wasting the match. It would have been better to give Cesaro the win, as he could be elevated with this win and then a strong loss to Roman.
WWE UNIVERSAL TITLE MATCH:
Roman Reigns(c) (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Daniel Bryan - no rating, meh segment
Graves insisted that Roman was being generous by defending his title here and that he “did not have to defend his title tonight,” which directly contradicts what was said on TV in the segment that set this match up.
Bryan got a surprise Yes Lock off right away, but Roman broke it and beat the sh*t out of Bryan before winning with a triangle choke. This wasn’t fun to watch because the odds were stacked against the babyface, and the babyfaces lost without getting to put up much of a fight because those odds were so stacked against him. I’m supposed to be angry at Roman for that, but I’m not. I’m more angry at WWE and Adam Pearce for having no spine and/or brain and allowing Roman to push them around like this. As I said in my review of Smackdown a few weeks ago, there was no reason for there to be an Elimination Chamber. Based on what we were told the contract said, Pearce could have just signed a singles match title defense for one challenger, but instead he gave in to Roman like an idiot.
EDGE COMES OUT AND SPEARS ROMAN - Then he points to the WrestleMania sign. So either we’re not giving Bryan a rematch, or we’re giving one of our most popular babyfaces a rematch when everyone knows he won’t win. That’s WWE for you.
BAD BUNNY SLAPS THE MIZ, THEN DAMIAN PRIEST STEPS IN TO DEFEND BUNNY WHEN MIZ TRIES TO RETALIATE - Isn’t a weaker person slapping a stronger person for no good reason and then hiding behind a larger person a heel thing to do?
WWE UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH:
Bobby Lashley(c) (w/MVP) vs. Matt Riddle vs. John Morrison - 6.75/10
Morrison is replacing Keith Lee, who was injured by Lashley on Raw thirteen days ago. He won a qualifier on the pre-show. The story of the match is that Lashely is a super-dominant badass who can only be defeated with the use of a weapon. Riddle wound up using said weapon (MVP’s crutch, which Morrison had tried to introduce) to take Lashley out, but didn’t even pin Lashley. He pinned Morrison, and all of the focus after the match was on the angry Lashley. Are they trying to make me feel like Lashley is a babyface on purpose? Because it really feels like the rightful champion got screwed out of his title.
WWE WOMEN’S TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler(c) vs. Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair - 5.75/10
They’ve added this atrocious squeaking noise to the beginning of Shayna’s music. WHY?!
The match was mostly fine (Jax’s face coming nowhere near the mat on that bulldog by Sasha early on being a notable miscue), but otherwise uninteresting. They shined Bianca up very nicely, but the finish took away any goodwill this built up. Sasha had things well in hand, but Reginald showed up offer her a champagne bottle to use as a weapon. She refused to use it and yelled at him which allowed Jax to recover, hit her finisher, and win. Whatever this dumb angle is with Sasha and Reginald, knowing the way that WWE books, I don’t trust that they’re going to have time play it out without interfering with Sasha vs. Bianca at WrestleMania. At best, they wrap it up at Fastlane and we’re getting yet another f*ck finish in a title match when Nia gets the title shot at the next PPV, and if you’re planning to do a storyline that results in AT BEST two f*ck finishes in title matches on PPV and at worst more than that, plus a popular babyface being saddled with a useless not-over good as a romantic interest and valet, then you need to rethink your plans.
ELIMINATION CHAMBER MATCH FOR THE WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE:
Drew McIntyre(c) vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus vs. AJ Styles (w/Omos) - 8.25/10
Kofi saved us all and eliminated Randy Orton with a roll-up before any Fiend bullsh*t happened. Orton RKOed people before leaving. AJ styles had Omos open the outside plexiglass of his pod and ran outside of the Chamber and then in through the door and started beating people up and trying to pin them… and the referee’s counted the pins even though he wasn’t legally in the match yet. Adam Pearce came out and ejected Omos from ringside for enabling this… and Omos left. WHY? If there are no DQs in an Elimination Chamber match then what repercussions for AJ could there be if Omos doesn’t leave?
Other than that one dumb spot, this was really awesome, especially the final three. There was definitely an issue where the storyline going in (and especially the lack of storyline with everyone else) made we want to focus on the Drew vs. Sheamus parts and any time we were looking at one of those two it felt like I was missing something important, but when Sheamus and Drew did go at it, there was a real energy to it that had me believing that this really could have worked as a big WrestleMania match (although, with the way WWE does things, I’m sure that will peter out well before Mania comes around). The booking of the finish- Sheamus hit Drew with the Brogue Kick but then got hit with a Phenomenal Forearm by AJ and eliminated, and then Drew eliminated AJ- keeps us thinking that Sheamus can beat Drew one on one to keep that program alive.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Frustrating and hateful. Lashley beat up Drew, then Miz cashed in MITB and won.
Okay, just to get this out of the way quickly:
1. They basically did the same segment twice tonight. Once with each world title. “Creative” my ass.
2. They spoiled this one by showing us Miz and MVP consulting backstage before the match.
3. I don’t understand why Lashley would do this. The best I can figure is that Miz promised him a title shot, but it’s the f*cking Miz we’re talking about. He lies constantly and is completely untrustworthy. And MVP knows that, so why would he do this if he knows there is nothing stopping Miz from not giving Lashley a title shot?
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move on to the real issue here:
Why did you do this to us, Vince? Can you not let us have anything?
Where is this going to go? Are you going to have The Miz defend the title at WrestleMania against Bad Bunny? Why? Even if that would bring more attention, it wouldn’t increase profits because there is no gate, no one is buy the PPVs because of the Network, and people probably drop the Network once everything is on Peacock.
Or are you going to have Drew win it back from Miz with help from Bad Bunny? That has the same problem as above, plus it makes Drew look bad. Or even if Bad Bunny isn’t involved, it doesn’t help Drew because it’s f*cking Miz. Drew has already won the title by beating Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton. Winning the title by beating The Miz isn’t going to do anything for him. All this title change (and the eventual change back) does is cheapen the idea of a title change.
In January of 2016, I wrote a listicle entitled “The Top 10 Soul-Crushing Moments of 2015,” looking at moments from the past year where the air was let out of the balloon and our hopes that things could actually get better were dashed. Of I was to write one of those for this year, this title change would be on it. For all of the many flaws in WWE’s booking, Drew McIntyre as the badass babyface champion taking on all comers was something they had been doing right. And now that has been replaced with The f*cking MIZ, who has been involved in terrible, obnoxious “change the channel heat” segment after terrible, obnoxious “change the channel heat” segment for what feels like YEARS at this point. Seeing Miz win the title from Drew doing the same angle we already saw earlier in the night makes me ask myself why I keep watching the main roster. Wouldn’t my time be better spent catching up NXT UK and ROH or continuing my foray into early EVOLVE, or making a dent in the many FIP, PWG, and CHIKARA DVDs sitting on my shelves that I’ve never watched, watching some famous 90s All Japan, or re-watching some golden age ROH, or watching some old territorial TV on YouTube or the WWE Network? Tomorrow night, that’s what I’m going to do. If Raw is worth watching, I’ll find out from the news reports on Tuesday and maybe watch it then.
Basically, the Elimination Chamber matches were good and everything else was bad. Especially the booking. No matter how great those Elimination Chamber matches were, what came after them (and especially what came after the main event) is a big black cloud for me that will forever hover over the memory of this show.