The Elimination Chamber 2018 Report Card: No One's Ready for Alexa

The road to WrestleMania comes with many twists and turns, but none bring more drama or violence than the fearsome Elimination Chamber famously does. Tonight, 13 humans enter the structure in a hope to secure their WrestleMania spot, as two Chamber matches take place. Firstly, Alexa Bliss defends her RAW crown against 5 other women and then, 7 top male contenders look to become the number one contender. As you can tell, I’m taking a very formal approach here and plan to maintain this professionalism throughout the whole show.

No silliness, no shenanigans, just a lazy wrestling writer covering a WWE PPV. Let’s get to it!

Fightful Wrestling Weekly 5/17: Lots of WWE News

DISCLAIMER: any wild predictions I make that you disagree with will likely be proven completely wrong in the coming weeks, months and years anyway so don’t worry too much. Basically, take everything you read from this point forward with a grain of salt as its credibility is preposterously low.

ANOTHER DISCLAIMER: I'm a very stern and serious wrestling writer, expect considered takes worth tweeting about.

Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas vs. The G & A Express

The first step of my recently increased competence is here already as for the first time in a long time, I’m covering a pre-show match. It’s tag team action too and Karl Anderson had a brief shine early before bringing Gallows in to call other grown men nerds. Anderson then came back in and hit his big karate kick but was swiftly cut off. The heels were now in control and got the heat on Anderson, who was playing Ricky Morton and making me weep.

A hot tag wasn't far away though and famed 80s wrestler Gallows run wild, hitting tremendous offense in-between delightful antics. He gained his team an advantage but Anderson re-entering got them in trouble as he was illegally double-teamed and floored by a big knee. He kicked out though and fired up, hitting the AA spinebuster and tagging Gallows in again. The big man hit a pair of superkicks and the duo scored hit Magic Killer for the win.

Nice pre-show match here and I’m a fan of Gallows & Anderson’s babyface work thus far.

Grade: C+

That was all for the pre-show (though I continued to take notes throughout as I’m a real professional) other than the return of Booker T’s SHUCKY DUCK QUACK QUACK talk. An emotional moment for sure.

Main Show

Elimination Chamber

RAW Women’s Championship

Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Mickie James vs. Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville vs. Bayley

Well here we go, it’s the first of our two Elimination Chamber matches and before we get to the action, credit to this match’s build-up. It’s been simple but as the pre-match video package showed, quite well-done. Nonetheless, Sonya and Bayley got us started here and after a brief feeling out process, Deville used her grappling advantage to take control. The two then fought on the outside until Bayley eventually threw Sonya into the fence. She then hit an elbow drop from the top rope to the outside but Deville kicked out and Mandy was in next.

Knowing she’s now at a numbers disadvantage, Bayley immediately cut Rose off and rallied on both Absolution members. Deville turned things around though, heavily flooring her on the outside as the heels took over. They then teamed up on Bayley as you’d expect and this was all smart babyface booking, especially having them nastily tie Bayley’s arms in the chamber. Banks was in next though and run wild on both with great fire but couldn't eliminate either just yet. Absolution cut her off before long regardless and Cole credited their staying power…too far pal.

Whilst all these humans “wrestled,” we began to get shots of Alexa Bliss’ face as it moved in ways quite astonishing. In the ring, Sasha and Bayley were working well as a unit and had isolated Deville before Mandy came to her aid. However, Banks quickly countered and tapped Rose out with the Bank Statement, all whilst Bayley obstructed a potential Sonya interference. Deville was now alone and I liked Coach’s commentary about Absolution’s overconfidence hurting their chances. Mickie was in next either way and run wild on all three, hitting signature offense all round.

Alexa’s face was still contorting wonderfully as James now looked to climb up the chamber…for some reason. Bayley followed her up but was kicked off and Mickie now found herself on top of a pod. She then hit her Thesz Press off the top, pinning Deville in a really neat spot. Bliss was happy, Mickie was happy and most importantly, I was happy. However, our joy quickly ended as James turned into a combination of moves that led to Bayley to Belly and tragically, Mickie was now eliminated.

Alexa is suddenly all alone and this is certain to be tremendous pro wrestling. Banks and Bayley decided to wait for Bliss’ pod to open but she closed it herself and escaped from the other side, quickly climbing up the chamber. She continued to move in great fear but was soon cornered and began to climb up and down as the chase continued. Eventually, Alexa was stuck on top of the pod but Banks gave her some reprieve by turning on Bayley and knocking her to the floor. She then went to focus on Bliss but Bayley angrily cut her off which allowed Alexa to then hit her beloved forearm smash.

Bliss then went to work her usual heel stuff but Bayley fired back and was mid-comeback until Sasha cut her off. Those two then went back and forth with great intensity until Alexa re-inserted herself, superplexing Bayley to allow Sasha to hit her frog-splash. The ‘friends’ continued their exchange with Bayley hitting her finish from the middle rope but she couldn't get a pin and was instead rolled up by Bliss. Only two now remained as the shoot fight showdown was stunningly here again. Alexa quickly went up for Twisted Bliss but Sasha got her knees up and flurried big on Bliss outside the ring.

 Alexa cut her off though and hit a dope backbreaker after Banks’ foot got caught in the chamber structure. Now desperate, Bliss climbed up to the top of a pod. She then hit Twisted Bliss on a standing Banks but Sasha strangely countered immediately, turning it around into the Bank Statement. A great false finish followed as Bliss teased tapping before fighting free. Banks then looked to head up top but Alexa pushed her head-first into the pod and hit a top rope DDT (CIEN) for the win.

The Twisted Bliss no-sell was wacky but it made for great drama and this match was generally great. Sublimely laid out, every woman shined and the right talents were spotlighted. Excellent stuff from all involved, major props!

Grade: A

Alexa Bliss Breaks Human Hearts

Renee Young is in the ring for a post-match interview with our winner and goodness gracious, this is all too much for me. Bliss thanks the crowd and to raucous “YOU DESERVE IT CHANTS,” explained that this proves that all dreams can come true. Whilst Sasha sat on the steps crying, Bliss cut the best babyface promo the women’s division has seen since….ever before turning on the people all with an evil grin etched across her face. She insults all of us dumb dumbs and my legs have now well and truly gone.

THAT’S IT, I’M DONE.

Look guys, I began this all with good intentions but it’s over, my professionalism has vanished in an instant and my heart is beating wildly. The greatest professional wrestler of all time is still women’s champion and man am I thankful for it.

Grade: A*

RAW Tag Team Championship

Titus…WORLDWIDE vs. The Bar (C)

Whilst earth recovered from Bliss’ magic, these four men attempted to have a wrestling match. The champs jumped Titus Worldwide immediately but the babyfaces fought back as Apollo hit a big dive on both. He was soon halted though and the heels then got some heat on him. Time for me to repeat my monthly take: The Bar are very good but their work when in control isn’t so fun. This eventually led to Titus’ hot tag of course and he run wild as only he can, gaining control for the challengers.

Sheamus fired back but was then caught by Clash of the Titus which forced Cesaro to break the fall. Apollo came back in and hit another big dive on both his opponents but was soon stopped in his tracks by a chop-block and pinned by some tandem offense I don’t know the name of. This match was seemingly quite good but let’s be honest, this was our time to retweet Alexa Bliss praise, not the time to watch men fake fight.

Grade: C+

Nia Jax vs. Asuka

Our 2nd women’s match is up next and these two quickly met in the middle with great intensity until Jax’s power earned her an advantage. Asuka rallied briefly but Nia again got the better of things as we saw Alexa watching on from backstage. Jax is now in control and violently stomped Asuka’s face into the mat before hitting a backbreaker too. Her offense really has improved tremendously in the last year. Asuka was selling immaculate too, which helps of course.

She’d soon catch a kneebar also but Nia powered out again and remained in control with fabulous intensity. She even jackhammer’d her way out of Asuka’s guillotine attempt and quickly cut her off once more with a sharp looking Samoan drop. Asuka continued to fight though and avoided the leg drop before coming back with a shining wizard. An onslaught of kicks then dropped Nia but she turned things around and even went for a banzai drop but once again, Asuka moved.

She continued to evade and then caught the flying armbar but Jax powered out and run her into the corner. Her powerbomb attempt was halted though as Asuka rolled Jax up for the win. Nia then jumped her after the match and run her through the barricade. Cool spot but I’m not sure I like this angle’s potential impact on WrestleMania. Alexa discussed this in a short interview segment and basically celebrated Jax’s post-match antics.

The finish didn't do much for me but the match itself really was very good. Asuka sold magnificently and Jax’s offense and demeanor have never been better. Really good stuff from both women, they gelled perfectly.

Grade: B+

Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt

After Matt’s entrance, Bray appeared out of nowhere but Hardy had somehow already vanished. Then after making us listen to all his broken shtick, Matt returned and these two then ‘wrestled’ for a bit. Hardy applauded Wyatt’s antics but Bray cut him off anyway and got the heat on whilst Beach Ball chants emerged. After what felt like years had transpired, Matt eventually made his comeback and won with the Twist of Fate. I don’t even know what to say about this, I found it to be completely unremarkable in every way, not even bad just completely flat. Then again, I find all this Hardy stuff to be bad so who knows.

Grade: C-

Ronda Rousey Signs Her RAW Contract

Kurt Angle is here and Triple H with Stephanie too. Why? Because Ronda Rousey has to sign her RAW contract. Ronda was received well and then made me laugh outrageously by mumbling through a babyface promo. Things were going very bad (in a great way) when 2000 Kurt Angle emerged to save the day. He exposed the authority’s real thoughts about Rousey and was sent out the ring but Ronda had heard his words and was now very fired up.

She then threw Triple H threw the contract signing table to a huge pop. Stephanie slapped her in response before scurrying away. This ended up being highly effective and the obvious direction is a smart first match for Rousey, even if it lacks the mystery a singles match would have. Ronda’s promo was very funny but in her defence, she’s new and it probably achieved what it was supposed to. She came across as humbled and then swiftly became bad-ass, that’s ideal.

I refuse to rate this though as I spent most of it crying of laughter, very sorry….blame Bliss.

Elimination Chamber

Elias vs. Braun Strowman vs. John Cena vs. Braun Strowman vs. The Miz vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor

Main event time now friends and after a wonderful Elias concert, Finn, Seth and Miz got us started. Unsurprisingly, Miz was trying to form alliances early but the babyfaces quickly teamed up on him instead. Those two then squared off before Miz came back in and I must say, I’m not sure my energy ever recovered from Alexa’s promo as frankly, I’m exhausted. For that reason I’m struggling to enjoy much of this match’s early going as it all feels rather uninspired, especially compared to the women’s efforts earlier.

After five fine minutes, Cena was in and he had an awesome stare-down with Rollins before scoring some offense. Finn returned to halt his momentum though and all four traded moves until Cena unsuccessfully attempted a Double AA. Everyone continued to fight in relatively meandering fashion until two superplexes left everyone floored for Roman’s entry. He dropped them all again with big uppercuts and was in mid-ooh-ahh when Braun’s pod opened. Hopefully, business will now pick up….I feel it needs to.

As you’d expect, Braun beat everyone up immediately and at one point even suplexed both Cena and Rollins at the same time. Strowman had cleaned house excluding Miz and he then chased him up on top of a pod before launching him onto everyone else. He then shouted his own name real loud and I was suddenly quite emotional.  Strowman was in complete control and waited for Elias’ pod to open but first, eliminated Miz with a running powerslam. Elias’ pod now opened but he closed it (gimmick infringement) as the rest ganged up on Braun in the meantime.

A 4-man powerbomb floored Strowman but he kicked out of their group pin regardless. He then kicked out of an AA at 1 and a spear at 2 before also taking a Blackout and rolling out of the ring. With everyone down, Elias came in and run wild, even hitting a neat elbow drop on Seth. He briefly continued to control things too, sit-out powerbombing Reigns until Braun returned to destroy, eliminating him with a running powerslam. Another group flurry stunned Strowman until he caught John out the air and pinned him too, all with another powerslam.

Finn rallied on Braun and hit Coup De Grace on his back before going at it with Seth and building some real momentum. However, Braun then powerslammed him for another elimination. You can probably tell already but this match isn’t really working for me. That being said, Balor performed very well and had the fire that in my opinion, has been missing for much of this match. Only 3 now remained and Seth and Roman bumped fists before teaming up on Strowman a little.

Rollins then got Royal Rumble payback on Reigns though and turned on him, hitting a springboard clothesline on his old friend/foe. They then did their…questionable buckle bomb/superman punch spot for a double down. Braun then re-entered the action but was soon dropped by a Samoan Drop and almost pinned by Seth’s frogsplash from the top of the pod. Before long Strowman eliminated Seth too though, with one more powerslam of course. Just two were left and Reigns dodged Braun to send him flying through a pod.

Three superman punches followed and a spear that Strowman stood up from. A 2nd spear sealed the deal though and Reigns is indeed headed to WrestleMania. For some reason, Strowman then attacked after and destroyed Roman, hitting powerslams and sending him through the pod as we went off the air. No clue what that achieved.

Okay, where to start with this. I completely understand protecting Braun but doing it to this length did nothing but hurt Reigns. If he’s worthy of this level of protection, just have him win because as a Roman fan, this did him no favours. I’m all for him pinning Strowman last don’t me wrong, it was just doing it after all those Braun eliminations that hurt things. This match was predictable going in (which is fine) but that layout made it comically direct.  

In the women’s match, Bliss pinning Bayley made a Sasha win feel more likely and giving Reigns some wins here would’ve done the same for Braun. I’m not saying this match was bad because it wasn't but disappointing? For me it was yes and that’s a real shame. Nonetheless, I’m sure Roman and Brock will kill it at Mania.

Grade: B-

Final Thoughts

For me, this event’s best work came from the females as Nia and Asuka performed very well and moreover, the women’s Elimination Chamber stole the show. Add in Bliss’ post-match promo and I’m happy, real happy. As I’ve stated, I had issues with the main event but it was decent and if nothing else, the rest wasn't offensively bad. My real takeaway is that I’m a very bad wrestling writer and Alexa Bliss is the greatest professional wrestler of all time, I really have nothing else to add. Thank you.

Grade: B

Get exclusive combat sports content on Fightful Select, our premium news service! Click here to learn more.
From The Web