Man, it is draining when the WWE crams two pay-per-views into a month; I have no idea how we managed back when there were two a month as standard, and honestly long for the days of the original brand split where Raw would have a pay-per-view one month and SmackDown! the next.
We’re on the Road to WrestleMania, though, and that mans artificially heaping more hype and importance on this event than we need; it’s like the WWE have forgotten that WrestleMania, simply by its nature as the “Show of Shows”, is enough of a draw by itself without resurrecting Goldberg or slapping together elimination chamber matches with no real build.
But, whatever, we’re here so let’s see how it went down…
Added to the card on the night, I guess this match is something of a reboot for the former Raw Tag Team Champions (by which I mean the two big, beefy bastards) to get them back on track after unceremoniously losing the belts to Seth Rollins and Murphy almost literally out of nowhere.
Still, I guess this is good news for Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, who very rarely even make appearance son WWE television, much less a pay-per-view. Unfortunately, though, there was a weird spot where Ryder, somehow, accidentally hit Hawkins with the Rough Ryder, and then the former Edgeheads lost, so I can only imagine we’re going to get yet another lacklustre break-up of a Ryder-led tag team somewhere down the line.
Winner: The Viking Raiders pin fall.
My prediction: Drew Gulak by shenanigans (and pin fall).
Actual winner: Daniel Bryan by submission.
I didn’t expect Daniel Bryan to come out on top in this one but, while that result could be said to have sucked away a lot of Gulak’s heat, he is (…I think) a former Cruiserweight Champion and this was, by all accounts, a heavily competitive match that walked the line between a technical showcase and an actual fight.
If I had to guess, I’m going to imagine that Gulak will throw bodies at Bryan going forward to wear him down and goad him into another contest at WrestleMania but I find it difficult to get too invested as, every time the WWE has tried to put cruiserweights in a prominent position since resurrecting the title, they’ve dropped them as soon as a shiny toy has caught their eye.
My prediction: Humberto Carrillo to win; new champion crowned.
Actual winner: Andrade by pin fall, championship retained.
Well, it turns out that violating the WWE’s Wellness Policy means very little to Andrade’s United States Championship reign; rather than using this as the perfect opportunity to get the belt off of him and start rehabilitating his character, the WWE decided the best idea was to have him and Humberto Carrillo get into a roll-up contest that Andrade would win by grabbing the tights.
I guess we’re going to see Andrade walk into WrestleMania(’s kickoff show…) as champion but, if he does manage to not get relegated to the pre-show, maybe this would be a good chance to throw together an insane ladder match for the championship between, at least, Andrade, Humberto, Rey Mysterio, and Ricochet and have Humberto come out of that with a victory and, hopefully, hop on over to Friday Night SmackDown so we can never see this God-damn match again!
My prediction: The Usos by pin fall/elimination, new champions crowned.
Actual winner: John Morrison and the Miz by pinfall/elimination, championship retained.
This was another resulted I honestly didn’t expect to see; rather than have the Usos walk away with the belts to face the New Day one more time at WrestleMania, those two rivals started the match off and were summarily picked off by John Morrison and the Miz as the match wore on. I was quite glad to see this as it heaped heat on to Miz and Morrison for taking out two popular tag teams and it meant that we weren’t hot-shotting the SmackDown Tag Team Championship.
Add in a massive run from Heavy Machinery that saw Otis crash headfirst through his pod and out on to the floor and you end up with a match that should have been a clusterfuck and ended up being a wildly chaotic brawl that furthered a few storylines in one go. Perhaps we’ll see Miz and Morrison go up against the Usos and the New Day at WrestleMania so Heavy Machinery can settle up with Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler in an uninspiring contest.
My prediction: AJ Styles by pin fall, probably thanks to the O.C.
Actual winner: Aleister Black by pin fall.
So, the big question mark over this match was the fact that the O.C. were in AJ Styles’ corner for this match and yet they didn’t actually get involved in the match until right at the end, despite the fact that they could, legally, have triple-teamed Aleister Black without any opposition.
Once they did decide to get involved, Aleister received some unexpected backup from the Undertaker, who took out the O.C. and Chokeslammed Styles, which allowed Aleister to hit the Black Mass and take the win.
I’m glad that Aleister got to, at least, get the win off of his finisher, rather than ‘Taker’s, but, once ‘Taker showed up, the focus veered entirely off of Aleister and onto the burgeoning WrestleMania feud between AJ and Undertaker. However, it now looks more like we’ll see Aleister and ‘Taker team up against the O.C.; perhaps they’ll convince Kane to join them to make it three-on-three.
My prediction: The Street Profits by disqualification, championships retained.
Actual winner: The Street Profits by pin fall, championships retained.
The Authors of Pain were at ringside for this match; it’s as though the WWE wants to rub it in your face that they, the career tag team, didn’t win the Raw Tag Team Championships on Seth Rollins’ behalf.
Anyway, because the Street Profits cannot get the job done without some assistance, Kevin Owens showed up to throw popcorn at Rollins, which was enough to allow Montez Ford to nail the Frog Splash and retain the belts. I’m guess that, at WrestleMania, the AOP will step in to regain the belts in Seth’s honour while he’s busy with Owens.
My prediction: Braun Strowman by pin fall (probably all three at once), championship retained.
Actual winner: Sami Zayn by pin fall, new champion crowned.
Yep, you read that right; Sami Zayn finally captured a main roster championship by pinning Braun Strowman. Truly it is the end of times. And, if you’re wondering how he managed this, even with the odds on his side, it was, of course, thanks to the ringpost of Doooooooooom, which is the downfall of big guys like Braun more often than not.
Luckily, it wasn’t just the ringpost; a good, old-fashioned finisher-fest contributed as well. While it makes sense for guys with the handicap advantage to win, this match should really have just been Strowman tossing fools around and looking like a dominant monster to help solidify his Intercontinental Championship run heading into WrestleMania. Instead, I’m kind of hoping we’ll see Zayn and his minions share the Intercontinental Championship through the Freebird Rule so that Strowman can decimate them at WrestleMania.
My prediction: Shayna Baszler by submission/elimination.
Actual winner: Shayna Baszler by submission/elimination.
Yeah, I think everyone saw this coming but it was the execution that was somewhat unique and surprising in that Shayna Baszler didn’t even enter the match until Ruby Riott, Natalya, and Sarah Logan had worked each other over for a while.
Once she entered, though, it was all academic; she made short work of everyone, spent a lot of time in the ring by herself, and didn’t encounter anything resembling resistance until Asuka came in. The message is clear: the WWE sees Shayna as the female Brock Lesnar, of sorts, an unstoppable, violent individual who makes her opponents crumble to dust.
I’m not exactly against that but it’s almost looking like Shayna will be pushed as a face, given how they’ve been booking Becky Lynch lately, so I fully expect her Raw Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania to be a surreal affair, to say the least, where Shayna will destroy Lynch in mere seconds and, somehow, the WWE’s most popular woman will be showered with boos.
How did you find Elimination Chamber, in the end? Who would you like to see team with Aleister Black and the Undertaker at WrestleMania? Sound off below and come back next time for the Showcase of the Immortals…