As wrestling fans, we enjoy guessing what we are going to be seeing at any given big show. We’ve all done it at one point or another and that is turned up to eleven for WrestleMania season. Every year, fans talk about what they want to see on the show and who they want in which matches. It’s something that everyone has done at one point or another and there is nothing wrong with that. Speculating/fantasy booking is fun, but it loses some steam when WWE telegraphs just about everything.
We are about six weeks away from WrestleMania 36 and since WWE is incapable of slowing things down even a little bit, there are two major shows coming up between now and then. That includes Super ShowDown, but more importantly we have Elimination Chamber. That is the show that is going to determine some major matches at WrestleMania 36, but WWE hasn’t exactly made things the most thrilling.
As we come up on Elimination Chamber, there isn’t exactly a great mystery about what we are going to see. Assuming the reports are true for the Fiend’s opponent at WrestleMania 36, Roman Reigns is all but a lock to win the men’s Elimination Chamber. It’s not exactly a secret, even though the match hasn’t been announced yet. Barring a major surprise, Reigns vs. Fiend is taking place in Tampa and that’s all there is to it. Somehow though, this match might have more drama than the women’s version.
This week on Monday Night Raw, WWE announced that Shayna Baszler, Natalya, Sarah Logan, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Asuka will be locked inside the Elimination Chamber with the winner challenging Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Title at WrestleMania 36. The immediate reaction was the only realistic one there could be: is there a point to this? While the Elimination Chamber is supposed to be some dramatic event that can chance WrestleMania, this is one of those matches where there is one option that has any chance of taking place and everyone knows it.
This is where we’re going:
Since back in November of last year, it was pretty clear that Baszler vs. Lynch was going to take place at a major show. They had an awesome showdown segment on Monday Night Raw and it was obvious that we were going to be seeing these two fight at some point in the near future. The two of them fought in the Survivor Series main event with Baszler winning, only to be taken out by Lynch to end the show.
Once Baszler lost the NXT Women’s Title to Rhea Ripley in December, it was clear that we were going to be seeing Baszler on the main roster sooner rather than later. That took place at the Royal Rumble, where Baszler dominated….until Charlotte eliminated her because Charlotte needed that win or something, but you could pencil in Baszler vs. Lynch for WrestleMania anyway.
And now, here we are, with Baszler having to earn the spot at WrestleMania by winning an Elimination Chamber match. As in an Elimination Chamber match against three losers, Natalya (who hasn’t won a big match in….years probably) and Asuka, who has forgotten that she’s a Tag Team Champion (last defense: TLC 2019 on December 15) and has lost to Lynch twice in recent weeks. I mean, you can see the real chance that Baszler isn’t winning right?
Allow me to remind you that Baszler BIT LYNCH’S NECK and had her mouth covered in Lynch’s blood. Let me repeat that: BIT HER NECK AND DREW BLOOD. But we’re supposed to buy that ANYONE but Baszler is going to go on to face Lynch? Normally I would say “ok, fine”, but that’s not the case here. There’s very little fine about this because there’s no need to actually do this match. Instead, there is one major reason that this match is taking place: it’s what the calendar calls for.
That’s why we’ll be doing this and there isn’t any other real reason. We’re doing a women’s Elimination Chamber match because we have to do an Elimination Chamber match in February/March. The men’s match isn’t much better, as there is little reason to believe that it is going to be anyone other than Reigns. There is a strong chance that both matches will be entertaining (they often are), but the lack of drama is going to create a major issue.
It started very well:
So how would you set up Lynch vs. Baszler instead? How about a simple #1 contenders match between Baszler and Asuka, as in the only person who doesn’t draw a laugh when you consider their chances of challenging Lynch? That’s a 20 minute match (at most) and it sets up the title match at WrestleMania as well as any kind of 45 minute Elimination Chamber match could. Everything is set up, in about half the time, and we have the same result without all of the time being wasted. As a bonus, Baszler gets to look better by beating Asuka instead of running through a bunch of nobodies.
It’s another case of the calendar determining what matches we see rather than what storylines make sense. That’s what happens every single year and for some reason that’s all WWE seems to know how to do. There’s nothing wrong with an Elimination Chamber, but this is a case where it doesn’t make sense because there is nowhere near enough depth to fill out such a match.
This is where WWE gets ahead of itself and that rarely makes any kind of sense. We’re stuck watching a match with an obvious ending for a match that is already very, very clear. Baszler vs. Lynch has been all but set up for three months now so why do we need to have them do a big six way match where there is zero drama about who is going to get the title match?
It’s March, end of reasons for this to be taking place. Instead of going with what makes sense or what they should/could be doing, we’re getting what WWE decides we need to have. If you remember the early Elimination Chambers, the point was that different wrestlers could win (ok so it was always going to be Shawn Michaels or Triple H but two possible winners are better than one).
Double the choices:
Now we have to build up to Elimination Chamber, while also building towards Baszler vs. Lynch and also pretending that anyone but Baszler has a chance. It makes the next few weeks feel like a waste of time before we get to the title match that is all but set in stone already. Therefore, what’s the point in getting excited about anything they throw at us here? The title match might as well be set up today given what we have been seeing, but instead, we get to wait around for WWE to catch up with what was obvious to everyone else (at least) weeks ago.
There is nothing wrong with having a match with an obvious ending (Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels springs to mind.). However, there is something wrong with setting up a match to set up another match with an obvious ending and that’s what WWE is doing here. This isn’t an interesting way of going about things and it is making Elimination Chamber feel like a show that doesn’t need to exist. The show can be something interesting, but not by doing it this way. If that’s the best you can do, just eliminate the chamber.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!