My Meh-limination Chamber Thoughts:
Regarding Woman’s Chamber Match:
Disappointing for a first ever anticipated match. This failed to live up to other firsts in the last two years such as the Rumble or even Money in the Bank (I know people hated that ending but the match was performed well despite the questionable storytelling). Once again this match showcased how poor the womans division is in a brand split WWE world where each brand only has a few workhorses. The match started slow and while it did get better with time the damage was done to the overall experience. In my case I really didn’t start to care until Bliss entered the match and from there everything was fun.
Great post match heel promo. It’s super easy heel heat but Bliss executes on this stuff with perfection making you glad to see she’s going to Mania.
Regarding Titus Worldwide (TW) vs The Bar:
Another fine match between these two but one that’s been killed through bad storytelling. WWE had a story here with TW winning twice via rollups but then the whole thing with Bar going over and then revisiting the TW rollup win again just makes TW look like a fluke who aren’t on the Bar’s level. Fluke wins are a fine way to send the message that you are now pushing a new team but this many in such a short succession doesn’t make TW look strong. They put on a fine match, nothing great or even PPV quality and based on the poor storytelling the right team won.
I hope TW continues to get a push but this time by getting some proper wins against secondary tag teams building up for another title shot post WM.
Regarding Matt vs Wyatt:
The bathroom break feud of the WWE. Kudos on them trying something with the start of the match…I’m sure that got some peoples attention but these two have NOTHING going for them. Matt’s character is dead. Bray’s character drags down anyone surrounding him. Matt’s in ring work is as boring as Elias’. Bray carried this match in ring but without a story that’s just not enough to make anyone care. I just have nothing good to say about this stuff.
Part of my wants Matt and Wyatt to literally ‘fight forever’ because doing so means neither of them will feud with the rest of the roster and that means no one else gets taken down to their level. Both of these men need a complete character rework. I feel as though WWE could give Matt 100% creative control and he wouldn’t be able to reignite the spark.
Regarding Nia Jax vs Asuka:
Solid match improved by production and build up prior. Well done WWE for building up to your ‘big matches’ even when this one felt very much secondary on the card. I much preferred their Raw match with the Nia leg injury earlier in the year but both matches were well done. If the outcome weren’t 100% set in stone l think this could have been better. It’s just not as fun when you know the plan. Same can be said about nearly all Brock matches over the last year although some of those matches really felt special still.
Nia vs Asuka makes for a decent ‘big man’ feud but they just can’t put on a show like Sasha vs Asuka or even Bayley vs Asuka.
Regarding Ronda Signing:
Wow! This absolutely blew away expectations!
Ronda came out as her Rumble character and when you think of the storytelling going on its wonderful. Here’s a woman, a rookie in WWE, achieving a goal she’s clearly passionate about. Her mic work is completely awkward but in being that way she’s 100% REAL and believable. This FEELS like Ronda…this doesn’t feel like a character being played be Ronda. As someone who likes their wrestling to feel more real I’m all in!
Kurt then does his stumbling GM work and plays a total asshole in a lovable way. I wish Kurt still had it on the mic this late in his career but I’ll take what we got. He was especially funny with the Steph remark as he was leaving, lol!
Anyways this led Ronda from being her fan girl dream job REAL person to fight mode and it was great. Here’s a girl who can’t sell you on her promo’s because she’s just another person on the street but when it comes to FIGHTING she’s legit and your gonna get wrecked. She takes out HHH of all people and its wonderful. Her look to Steph great! I completely agree that Steph and Ronda need to be kept apart until Mania now. This was brilliant and looking back…I prefer this over a revised history where Ronda would come out at Rumble as a badass from moment one.
The question now is how will they handle her mic work going forward. I don’t think Heyman has to be her mouthpiece but I also have very little faith in her talking the talk the way she walks the walk so to speak. I hope they bring ins a GREAT talker whose not Paul and works to build her up in promotions. Paul is with Brock and that pairing should remain exclusive IMO.
Regarding Men’s Chamber Match:
Much like the woman’s match this was a slow build for me. I find the Chamber match underwhelms with too many men in the ring because of the enclosed space. It’s like the Rumble in that you can’t put on much great wrestling but lacks the intrigue. A lot of this match was just wrestlers who can really go just lying in the corners or the outside selling excessively long. Having a 7th person in the match only served to expose the flaws of the match and having to keep everyone in the match until Braun came out was a problem.
Having said all of that this match told a WONDERFUL story!
THIS is how you make Braun lose a match!
One of my ongoing criticisms with Braun over the last year has been his character’s poor transition from out of ring segments to in ring wrestling. Out of the ring, Braun is a man who can flip over massive vehicles, take down sets, and is completely unstoppable by the entire roster to the point where they almost had to bring in the swat team to stop him. In ring the man gets hit by a couple of big spots and the loses matches over and over again. In other words…Braun is being booked like Kane might be booked except for Braun’s monster stuff out of ring dials things up to 12 and so you expect him to be MUCH TOUGHER in ring.
Elimination chamber finally recognized this. Everyone punished Braun repeatedly and he overcame the odds. He felt like a true monster and one that needed a superhero effort to stop. Roman didn’t ‘beat’ Braun he just happened to knock him down for the 3 count after Braun took epic levels of punishment. GREAT!
Does this make Roman feel like the natural challenger to Brock for the title at Mania?
Yes and No.
No because Braun had all the momentum clearly. Roman winning here is akin to a heel stealing a victory and getting a title shot. As well all know Roman isn’t a heel or face so while WWE would prefer he gets cheered at times they certainly haven’t booked him as a babyface over the last year. He’s just booked to get reactions and as long as the fans respond then its a ‘win’. Roman won the match, the fans reacted with plenty of noise, there was certainly no xpac go home heat and they still love Braun so mission accomplished.
We can’t forget the year long story being told here either…Roman has been booked strong as well and he’s putting on great matches throughout the year. Clearly surpassing Cena in terms of skill and arguably better than everyone except maybe AJ Styles. I actually WANT to see a Roman vs Brock rematch given how much Roman’s improved over the years. Roman vs Brock 1 was a great match too! Where as Brock vs Braun was poor and Brock vs Braun vs Kane was at best mediocre.
After Roman wins we have two stellar feuds to look forward too as well…Seth vs Roman is money and Roman vs Braun has been done a lot but its also brought out the best in Braun. Their post mania feud will be the first one where Roman actually has a chance to lose as too! Which means it’ll be more interesting than what we’ve seen before.
A below average PPV with good to great storytelling throughout.
Highly predictable outcomes hurt this experience…you can overcome that with above average wrestling performances but we just didn’t that those tonight.
This PPV makes for some great discussion material and accomplished its job in pushing storylines for WM and beyond but this is certainly not a PPV worth revisiting for its matches.