Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Elimination Chamber 2018
Date: February 25, 2018
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Paradise, Nevada
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman
We’re only two stops away from Wrestlemania now because it just wouldn’t be right to not squeeze in a pair of pay per views between the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania. Tonight is a show of pretty predictable endings but at least the Elimination Chamber matches themselves should be a lot of fun. Let’s get to it.
Kickoff Show: Anderson and Gallows vs. Miztourage
Axel headlocks Anderson to start but gets kicked in the face as the announcers talk about Sasha Banks. A clothesline takes Axel down again and there’s the HI-YAH kick in the corner. Back from a break with Axel slowly stomping Anderson down as the announcers talk about the stars being out in Vegas tonight. Anderson gets in a clothesline and rolls over for the hot tag to Gallows. A high kick to Axel has the Miztourage in trouble but the referee says there was no tag. Not that it matters as Anderson grabs the spinning spinebuster to set up the real hot tag. The Magic Killer puts Dallas away at 8:49.
Rating: D+. Total Raw level tag match here and that’s not the best thing in the world. The Revival needs to be in this picture a lot sooner, hopefully getting the titles somewhere around Wrestlemania (the night after would be a good place). Odds are this sets up a six man or Miz vs. Balor and that’s all it should be doing.
The opening video is standard fare: tonight is the last way to get to Wrestlemania and it involves the most dangerous structure.
We hit a long package on the Women’s Elimination Chamber. It’s a big part of the Women’s Revolution (take a shot every time you hear that in the video) as we’ve never had one before. The winner goes on to face someone, possibly Asuka, at Wrestlemania.
Women’s Title: Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville vs. Mickie James
Bliss is defending, the entrance intervals are five minutes and it’s Mickie vs. Bayley to start things off. Feeling out process to start with Bayley taking over and hitting an early bulldog. Sonya sends her over the top and onto the cage floor but Bayley jumps onto the wall to avoid some pain. Sonya gets send hard into the Chamber wall for two and Bayley goes up. That sends Sonya back to the floor so Bayley drops the elbow there for two (inside the ring of course) instead. We hit the chinlock until Mandy is in third.
A quick Stunner over the ropes cuts Mandy off and the fans are behind Bayley in the glorified handicap match. Bayley gets taken outside and driven hard onto the floor as the numbers game starts taking over. The double teaming continues with Mandy hitting a middle rope knee to the chest for two. Bayley gets her arms hung up in the wall so Absolution can fire in strikes to the ribs but the clock starts ticking down. Mandy and Sonya actually realize it and are waiting in Sasha, who comes in fourth.
House is cleaned in a hurry and the running double knees get two on Sonya. With Mandy down, Sasha and Bayley double team Sonya into the Chamber. Mandy gets back up and hits a German suplex faceplant (Fan: “THAT WAS DOPE!”) on Sasha, only to get caught in the Bank Statement for the tap at 13:50. Mickie James (in Wonder Woman gear) is in fifth and cleans house, as is the custom for someone joining the match. A hurricanrana from the Chamber wall drops Deville and it’s only Mickie standing. James heads to the top of a pod and it’s a huge Thesz press to get rid of Deville at 17:40.
Not that it matters as the Backstabber into the Bayley to Belly eliminates Mickie at 18:03 (so much for the last few weeks of Bliss and Mickie being friends), leaving us with Bayley and Banks in the ring as we wait on Bliss. Alexa finally comes in and climbs the wall but is surrounded in a hurry. She tries to crawl from side to side and winds up on a pod….but Banks turns on Bayley by kicking her down.
Bliss sends Banks into the buckles though and slaps the heck out of Bayley for two. Bayley is back up and ties Banks in the Tree of Woe for a stomping but Bliss catches her on top in a superplex. Banks’ frog splash gets two on Bayley but she’s back up with a super Bayley to Belly. A rollup gets rid of Bayley at 25:39 and we’re down to two. Twisted Bliss hits Banks’ knees so she fires off knees against the Chamber.
One misses though and Bliss drills her from behind to take over again. Another Twisted Bliss on the floor crushes Sasha but it doesn’t count so Banks reverses into the Bank Statement. They head inside with Bliss driving her into the corner but Banks kicks her down. Sasha looks up to the top of a pod and this isn’t going to go well. Alexa kicks her face first into the pod and an elevated DDT retains the title at 29:42.
Rating: C. It got WAY better once Bliss came in but this didn’t need to be a Chamber match. No one bought anyone but Banks and Bliss (or maybe Bayley) as winning here and Bliss winning was the obvious choice. The Thesz press was a cool spot but the Twisted Bliss should have been the finish. Still though, not terrible and better than some of the men’s matches over the years.
Post match, with Banks crying on the steps, Bliss gives an emotional speech about how this is proof that you can accomplish your dreams. This is for everyone who has ever dreamed big….and none of you will ever accomplish anything. She is the one true goddess of WWE and that is never going to change. Thank goodness, as Bliss is a million times better as a heel.
Braun Strowman is ready to go to Wrestlemania and make Brock Lesnar his little beastie boy.
Tag Team Titles: Titus Worldwide vs. The Bar
The Bar is defending and jump the challengers early on, only to have Apollo hit a big dive to the floor. We settle down to Cesaro uppercutting Apollo for two, followed by Sheamus coming in for an armbar. Cesaro hits a front facelock and brings Sheamus back in for another armbar. It would be nice if they mixed the submissions up but that’s not likely to happen in a cool down match like this.
Cesaro grabs a chinlock and again it’s back to Sheamus for a front facelock. Geez at least pretend to try. Apollo sends Sheamus shoulder first into the post and it’s off to Titus for the power game. Cesaro gets pulled out of the air and Sheamus dives into the Clash of the Titus for two. Apollo’s high crossbody into the standing moonsault gets two but Titus gets sent outside. A chop block into the assisted White Noise retains the titles at 10:03.
Rating: D+. Another standard Raw tag match here, and actually worse than most of their previous matches. The ending was a bit of a surprise but I’d rather a bigger team take the titles from the Bar than a short run team. The problem though is who gets to take those titles from them, as there aren’t exactly a bunch of face teams worth much at the moment.
Trailer for the Andre the Giant documentary. That looks amazing.
Video on Asuka vs. Nia Jax. Nia wants to break the streak and that’s about it.
Asuka by the numbers video.
Nia Jax vs. Asuka
If Nia wins, she’s added to the Women’s Title match at Wrestlemania. Nia wastes no time in throwing Asuka around, including tossing away the jumping armbar. Something like a curb stomp into a running elbow gets two. Asuka strikes away for some effect but gets taken down again in short order. Another armbar is countered into a slam (close to a Jackhammer) but this time Nia isn’t following up as fast.
Asuka’s kicks to the chest are shrugged off for a Samoan drop and another near fall. A big kick to the face gets two and Asuka is looking frustrated. Asuka goes up top but gets slammed down, only to avoid the middle rope splash. The cross armbreaker goes on but Nia rolls over and drives her into the corner for the break. Nia shouts a lot and tries a powerbomb, which is reversed into a hurricanrana to give Asuka the pin at 8:13.
Rating: C. And…well yeah really. I have no idea why this is surprising to anyone as it’s EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS TO NIA EVERY SINGLE TIME. This was the most predictable ending on the show and that’s saying a lot when you have Roman Reigns in a #1 contenders match for Wrestlemania.
Post match Nia is still livid and drives Asuka through the barricade.
Bliss says no one is ready for her.
Roman Reigns isn’t worried about Paul Heyman’s threats on the Kickoff Show because he’s winning the Chamber and the title.
We recap Bray Wyatt vs. Matt Hardy. Matt was sick of losing and finally became awoken, setting up the battle of creepy characters with weird laughs.
Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt
Matt comes out first and Bray does his appear in the ring entrance….but Matt disappears. We get a Matt voiceover with him saying the words Jeff used to use in Impact Wrestling (you’ll fade away and classify yourself as obsolete). Matt says tonight we delete but Bray can’t find him. Finally Matt pops up and jumps Bray in a bit of an anti-climactic moment. The bell rings and Bray isn’t sure what to do, so Matt offers some applause. The Twist of Fate is broken up and Bray hits his running body block.
We hit the chinlock and it’s BEACH BALL TIME BECAUSE A WRESTLING SHOW NEEDS A BEACH BALL FOR ENTERTAINMENT! It seems to be taken away as Bray stomps on Matt but charges into a boot to the face. A tornado DDT drops Wyatt and the Side Effect gets two. Matt takes too long loading up the middle rope elbow and it’s a release Rock Bottom to take him down. The middle rope backsplash misses though and Matt reverses Sister Abigail into a Twist of Fate for the pin at 9:50.
Rating: C. And that’s it for the feud being interesting, even though this wasn’t all that much in the first place. Matt has lost all of his steam and Bray didn’t have any steam in the first place. Wyatt needs to either go away for a long time or have a crisis and turn face, because this is making things worse and worse every week.
Long package on Ronda Rousey, the same that has aired on Raw.
It’s time for the Rousey signing, with Kurt Angle, Stephanie McMahon and HHH out with her. HHH gives her a big introduction and here’s Ronda, with Stephanie welcoming her as well. Ronda seems taken aback to be here and talks about how amazing it is to be in the ring with Kurt.
We stop for a Ronda chant but HHH wants to get down to business. They’re ready to sign the contract, which will put Rousey on the Wrestlemania card. Ronda doesn’t want to be given anything special so that’s fine with her. I mean, it puts her in Fandango territory. Rousey is about to sign but Angle has a look on his face. She asks if he has something to say and Kurt praises HHH and Stephanie.
They wanted to manipulate her for what happened at Wrestlemania XXXI (not XXI Kurt). Apparently HHH said “three years in the making and now we own the b….”. HHH: “KURT SHUT UP!” He blames the flu for Kurt’s statements and the men leave. Stephanie starts getting serious and wants to sign the contract but Angle says hang on a second. Apparently Stephanie has been calling Ronda a has been and even she could beat Rousey up. Rousey goes to the angry face and backs Stephanie up to the ropes but HHH makes the save. Ronda shoves his arms away too and slams HHH through the table.
That earns her the big slap from Stephanie….and then reality sets in. Fans: “YOU F***ED UP!” Stephanie bails and Rousey signs the contract. This was EXACTLY how it should have been and far better than the Rumble. It’s a perfectly done story and Angle in the tag match (possibly fighting for his job) is the right way to go. Have Rousey break Stephanie’s arm into 34 pieces in New Orleans and everything is fine.
Long recap of the Men’s Elimination Chamber. Everyone wants to face Lesnar and that’s about it.
Elias vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor vs. Roman Reigns vs. The Miz vs. Braun Strowman vs. John Cena
The winner faces Lesnar at Wrestlemania. Elias has a song for us about how he’s not scared of anyone, including Lesnar, who he’ll beat when he gets his chance. Miz, Balor and Rollins will start things off because quantity means quality. It’s Miz going for the early alliances but his Too Sweet is shot down. Instead it’s Rollins and Balor joining forces, only to roll Balor up for two in short order. Miz’s sunset flip is countered with a basement dropkick for two and it’s time to trade reversals.
Rollins is right back up with the springboard clothesline as Cole mentions Rollins having more pay per view wins in the last five years than anyone else. The Skull Crushing Finale is broken up so Rollins goes with the double Blockbuster for two each instead. It’s Cena in fourth and that means a showdown with Rollins. They talk a lot of trash about how this is to go to Wrestlemania and the shoulder blocks put Rollins down. A ProtoBomb to Miz sets up a double Shuffle. Balor is back in so Cena throws both he and Rollins onto his shoulders. That goes nowhere so Miz gets two on Rollins off the Reality Check.
Cena superplexes Balor and Rollins does the same to Miz, putting all four down until Reigns is in fifth. Miz DDTs Balor and winds up being the only person on his feet, meaning it’s a big circle of YES Kicks. Seth gets sent hard over the top for a crash onto the floor but Roman is back up with a sitout powerbomb for two on Miz. The clock begins and since Elias is left, Strowman is in sixth. Everyone goes after Braun so he suplexes Cena and Rollins (who has a great in pain face) at the same time. Balor is thrown into Reigns and it’s Braun staring Miz down. Miz tries to climb a pod….and STROWMAN GETS UP THERE FIRST!
Braun slams him head first into the Plexiglas and then tosses Miz onto the pile. With everyone else down, Braun stares at Elias, stops to throw Rollins over the top, and then stares at him again. The running powerslam eliminates Miz at 20:00 and we have five people in the Chamber. Elias comes in to complete the field….or at least he’s allowed to but stays in the pod, leaving the other four to pound Braun down.
A QuadrupleBomb with Cena helping Reigns gets two, even with everyone covering. The AA only gets one, the spear gets two, the Curb Stomp sends Strowman to the floor and Balor adds the Coup de Grace. Instead of covering though it’s an AA to Reigns but Rollins jumps Cena. Rollins and Balor crossbody each other so now Elias comes in for some near falls. Elias takes his shot at a few people but an electric chair into a sitout powerbomb only gets two on Reigns. Braun is back up though and Elias tries the electric chair on him. That means a running powerslam and Elias is gone at 26:35.
Rollins saves Reigns from a similar fate and it’s time to go after Strowman again. Cena dives into another powerslam though and we’re down to four at 27:05. Strowman is on his feet while Cena looks scared because HE MIGHT NOT GO TO WRESTLEMANIA! I’M SURE! Balor slips out of the powerslam and hits a pair of shotgun dropkicks to stagger Balor. A Coup de Grace to the back gets two but Rollins hits an enziguri on Balor. Finn is right back with the Pele and 1916 gets two on Seth. Another dropkick puts Reigns in the corner and the Coup de Grace connects but the powerslam gets rid of Balor at 30:24.
Rollins low bridges Braun to the Chamber floor and stomps away with Reigns helping things out. Strowman shrugs them off so Reigns hits a Samoan drop as Rollins goes to the top of the pod. With a look to the Wrestlemania sign, Rollins hits the frog splash for two and everyone is down. Back to back superkicks look to set up the Curb Stomp but instead it’s a fifth powerslam for a fifth elimination at 36:26.
Strowman takes the shirt off and waits on Roman as we hit the GET THESE HANDS chant. Reigns comes at him and sidesteps a charge to send Strowman through a pod (I’ve been waiting for that.). Braun is up so there’s the Superman Punch and the booing commences. Another one puts Strowman on a knee but the spear is blocked. Instead it’s a third Superman Punch and two spears to send Reigns to Wrestlemania at 39:57 to near silence.
Rating: B+. It’s been the same problem for the last year: there is no reason for this to be Reigns other than the script says so. Strowman has been built up for a year now and the fans want to see him. For whatever reason though, WWE would rather try Reigns AGAIN instead of pulling the trigger on what seems to be a big layup. I know Reigns probably has more potential long term, but right now it should be Strowman. We’ve tried Reigns before and it hasn’t quite worked (though it hasn’t failed), but now it should be the logical play.
The match itself was entertaining and I was getting behind Strowman more and more, even if the ending wasn’t exactly a secret. No one else really mattered in the match with Strowman eliminating everyone but Reigns. He looked like a star and should get a huge Wrestlemania match (Cena would be interesting) but the ending took away a lot of the momentum.
Post match Reigns celebrates but Strowman gives him two powerslams.
Overall Rating: C+. Certainly not a bad show but the completely worthless midcard didn’t help things, much like the show, with five matches, SOMEHOW HAVING ANOTHER OVERRUN. Like seriously, it’s 11:20 on a Sunday night. Cut something down or out (four minute intervals would have been a fine idea) but find a way to get these things under control. And in May we go to half an hour longer than this every month? Or will those have an overrun too? Overall though, good show with the main event and Rousey segments being the high points.
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.
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