Oh my God! It’s Johnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn CEEEEEEEEEEEENA! Mr. WrestleMania opens the show to brag about how important the event is to him and to vow to win at Elimination Chamber and every match and event until the Showcase of the Immortals. Turn back time a bit as the Miz (with Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas) pop out to dispute all these claims and drop some bombs, then they jump Cena ahead of their actual match. Standard Big Match John stuff here; Cena gets worked over, his Five Moves of Doom are cut off, he lands the Attitude Adjustment and the Miz kicks out, then he kicks out of the Skull-Crushing Finale to bring some false tension to the match. Things take an interesting turn at the end, though, as Miz goes for a Top-Rope Skull-Crushing Finale, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen him attempt, but Cena counters it into the Avalanche Attitude Adjustment to put Miz away and guarantee that Miz has to start the Elimination Chamber match. I actually really liked that it took Cena’s super move to put Miz down; it really helps sell the Miz as a legitimate threat and more than a chickenshit heel.
The mini little feud between the Revival and the Club continued, with the Revival getting another win and seemingly putting the lid on their issues. This was way too short for both of these teams, who really deserve to be doing more and having big-time matches. There are only three semi-legitimate teams on Raw these days (the Revival, the Club, and Cesaro and Sheamus) so they should really fight against the lesser/jobber teams to help extend and spice up their matches.
Kurt Angle announces that Ronda Rousey will sign her Raw contract at Elimination Chamber; maybe that means she’ll actually have a match and earn her way into WrestleMania rather than just getting opportunities handed to her. Oh, he also announced that Jason Jordan is officially out with a long-term neck injury (massive cheers from the crowd for that!). Seth Rollins pops out to give Angle a piece of his mind and talk his way into the second-chance match for the Elimination Chamber later in the night.
Bayley and Sasha Banks try to settle the score in what was actually a pretty good match; Bayley brought the fire and the aggression while Sasha worked her arm over and looked for the submission. In the end, though, Bayley caught a break and landed the Bayley-to-Belly off the top-rope and got the win! Potentially Bayley’s biggest main roster with since her short-lived title reign what seems like decades ago! Afterwards, Bayley offered a handshake and shoved Sasha out of the way right before Nia Jax barged into the ring and attacked them both! Finally! Nia is finally looking like a dominant threat and making an impact and all it took was the idea of getting a sniff at the Raw Women’s Championship. Mandy Rose and Sonja Deville then went on to beat Alexa Bliss and Mickie James to help build some hype for the women’s Elimination Chamber match and sell the idea that anyone could win.
Next up, Raw’s newest main event star, Elias, pops out for a sing-song only for Braun Strowman to interrupt carrying a giant fucking bass and sings a little song of his own about his intentions towards Elias, which was hilarious! Elias tried to attack with the acoustic equalizer so Strowman straight-up murdered him by smashing the bass to pieces on his ass. Strowman is the greatest thing ever!
Oh, Lord, it’s Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus! These two, for whatever reason, just don’t seem to click; be it Sheamus’ lack of charisma, Reigns’ limited move set, or the fact that the crowd doesn’t seem to care about seeing either man fight, their matches aren’t much more than simple slug-fests. The finish was also stupidly predictable; Sheamus went up to the top rope, completely telegraphing the mid-air Spear that felled him. When has Sheamus ever gone to the top-rope?
Raw finished up with another second chance match for the Elimination Chamber, pitting Finn Balor, Matt Hardy, Bray Wyatt, Apollo Crews, and Seth Rollins against each other. For a five-man clusterfuck, this was actually pretty good. Although I don’t get exactly how Crews got thrown into the chance at the belt, he seems to shine a bit brighter against actual competition rather than unceremoniously beating jobbers or endlessly feuding with mid-card talent. Indeed, the finish came when he caught Balor off the top with his spinning powerbomb thing and stole the win!
Hah, obviously not!
Instead, Wyatt went for a Superlex on Crews but Balor and Rollins got under Wyatt and landed the Tower of Doom spot, then both Rollins and Balor pinned Wyatt for a no contest finish. But it’s okay because the WWE announced the next day, or at some point after the show, that rather than have a barn burner of a match between Rollins and Balor next week to decide who gets the final spot, both men are going into the Elimination Chamber for the first ever seven man Elimination Chamber match. I’m glad that Balor is actually in the damn match, considering he never should have not been in it, but Rollins feels like he’s been shoe-horned in there after all of his tag partners got injured. I heard he might be facing Angle and WrestleMania but, again, I’d rather they course corrected and got Rollins into a kick-ass feud with Balor leading up to WrestleMania.
Whatever Baron Corbin was going to say to kick the show off never happened as he was being beaten up backstage by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. They then bring the fight to Ziggler and they all end up in a big, exciting brawl.
Charlotte Flair then weathered Sarah Logan’s storm to get a solid win and continue to establish herself as a dominant champion. Apparently, she’s going to take on Ruby Riott next week, like the Riott Squad isn’t completely devoid of whatever credibility they may have once had.
Anyway, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan cry about Owens and Zayn and book them into matches against Ziggler and Corbin where, if Owens and Zayn win, they’ll be added to the Fastlane main event but, if they interfere in each other’s matches, they’re not. To that end, Baron Corbin, awkwardly cast as a default face, took on Kevin Owens in what was, honestly, a really good match. Owens brought a decent amount out of Corbin and reminded me of why he shouldn’t have had his push cut off so abruptly. Corbin proved it further by slamming Owens with the End of Days and earning himself a title shot; let’s hope that Cena doesn’t decide to torpedo his opportunity again.
Bobby Roode came out to talk about how he’s trying to emulate Cena and bring some competition and prestige back to the United States Championship, only to get interrupted by Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton. Roode runs down Orton, complaining about his random attacks, so Orton randomly attacked one of Jinder’s little buddies and ended up pissing Mahal off enough to lay them both out with the Khallas. I still don’t really get what’s happening with Orton; he seems so directionless, floating from one thing to another with little to no explanation. I like the Roode is setting up some opponents and feuds but Mahal is so bland and Orton so lethargic half the time that the idea of them all fighting doesn’t exactly excite me. I would’ve taken Roode vs. Rusev over this.
The New Day get into a disagreement with Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable over pancakes so, of course, we get a match that Benjamin and Gable won. This should have been a big moment as they got to pin and beat one of the WWE’s premier tag teams but, instead, it came off as really flat and meaningless because Benjamin and Gable had all of their momentum sucked out of them after losing to the Usos. Again I find myself wishing that the WWE had just had one set of tag belts; at least then it wouldn’t have two under-teamed divisions just treading water.
Dolph Ziggler is back in the main event, apparently back to being a face, and back to being motivated for his match against Sami Zayn. So…exactly what has Ziggler done to deserve this shot? He lost constantly, threw a tantrum, randomly won the United States Championship, walked out, came back and now he gets a shot for a shot? Don’t get me wrong, Ziggler absolutely should be a main event player but it has to be consistent and sensible. Anyway, these two worked some fast-paced magic and really complimented each other really well. In the end, though, Ziggler landed the Superkick and earned himself a spot in the Fastlane main event. I thought that Sami and Owens were going to fall out and start feuding again? I guess this is a long winded way of doing that as I don’t know where these losses leave those guys; they really should have been in the main event but I’m glad to see Corbin and Ziggler get the shot too. As I’ve said before, it can’t be everyone’s time all the time and, given that the WWE is massively obsessed with multi-man matches at the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sami and Owens added to the match anyway.
Also…where the hell was Shinsuke Nakamura this week? I guess his WrestleMania build up will begin properly after Fastlane but surely he could have done something this week? Like, say, have Rusev challenge Roode and have Nakamura and Orton begin a mini feud to work out their recent issues?