By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Elimination Chamber 2018
Aired February 25, 2018 live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Las Vegas, Nevada at T-Mobile Arena
A video package opened the show and focussed on the Elimination Chamber matches and the stakes involved for WrestleMania… The broadcast team was Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Jonathan Coachman. They set up a video package on the women’s Elimination Chamber match…
Powell’s POV: A friend in the building informed me that the turnout is disappointing. He noted that the hard camera side is nearly empty and the upper deck is curtained off. Ouch. In case you missed it, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson beat Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas on the Kickoff Show.
1. Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley vs. Mandy Rose vs. Mickie James vs. Sonya Deville vs. Sasha Banks in an Elimination Chamber match for the Raw Women’s Championship. JoJo was the ring announcer. The exterior of the pods has lighting on the long vertical beams. Paige accompanied Rose and Deville to ringside. Bayley and Deville started the match while Bliss, Banks, James, and Rose were in the pods.
Cole noted that No. 1 entrants in the Chamber matches have actually won four times. Deville tried to catapult Bayley into the steel links, but Bayley caught herself on the mesh and ended up shoving Deville into the steel instead at 3:15. Bayley followed up a short time later with a top rope elbow onto Deville, who was on the padded area between the ring and the steel. Bayley dragged her back into the ring and got a two count.
The third entrant in the match was Rose to give the Absolution members a two-on-one advantage. Bayley worked over both women to start. Deville speared Bayley on the padded area and then the Absolution duo played to the crowd. They picked up Bayley and ran her back first into the steel a few times. Rose and Deville worked over Bayley and taunted her.
Powell’s POV: The padded area between the ring and the steel mesh was introduced last year. The steel grated area was always a tough spot for the talent to bump, so the padding was and is a welcome addition.
The fourth entrant in the match was Banks. “Now Bayley has an ally!” Cole said. Graves said Banks only cares about Banks. Sasha worked over Rose until Deville pulled her off and ran her into the steel, but Banks came right back with punches and then performed a double knee press against the mesh. Bliss was shown looking concerned as the four women in the ring continued to battle. Banks hit a Backstabber on Rose and then applied the Bank Statement. Bayley cut off a charging Deville. Rose was eliminated by Banks in 13:50.
The fifth entrant was James, meaning Bliss would be the final entrant. James fought her way to the top of a pod and performed a Thesz Press onto Deville and pinned her. Deville was eliminated by James in 17:35. Banks hit a Backstabber on James, who then took a Bayley to Belly. James was pinned and eliminated by Bayley in 18:00.
Bayley and Banks stared at Bliss’s pod an waited for it to open. Bliss tried to keep her pod door closed. She climbed to the second level wall of the Chamber structure. Banks and Bliss did the same and then climbed down with her. They dropped down and she climbed back up.
At 21:00, Banks caught Bliss on top of one of pods. Bayley tried to climb up to join them. Banks offered Bayley a hand, then kicked her in the face to knock her down. Bayley recovered and ran Banks into a turnbuckle, then Bliss took advantage of the distraction and hit Bayley, which led to a two count.
At 24:00, Banks performed a top rope splash on Bayley for a two count. Banks slammed her fist on the mat repeatedly to show frustration. Bayley performed her finisher on Banks from the top rope. Bliss took advantage of the situation and pinned Bayley. Bayley was eliminated by Bliss at 25:30.
Bliss covered Banks quickly, but Banks kicked out. A short time later, Banks went for a kick on Bliss, who moved, causing Banks to get her leg caught between the chains. Bliss followed up a short time later with Twisted Bliss from the top of the pod. Banks countered right into the Bank Statement. Banks rolled Bliss back inside the ring since that’s the only place a finish can occur. Bliss ended up on her feet and backed Banks into the corner to free herself.
Banks looked to the top of a pod. She climbed to the top rope, but Bliss tripped up Banks, who fell first into the top of a pod. Bliss followed up with a draping DDT and scored the pin…
Alexa Bliss beat Sasha Banks, Bayley, Mickie James, Sonya Deville, and Mandy Rose in an Elimination Chamber match in 29:35.
After the match, Young interviewed an emotional Bliss. The fans chanted “you deserve it.” She thanked the fans and then said it’s not just about her, it’s about all of the women and little girls watching who ever dreamed big. Banks was shown with her head down outside the ring. Bliss said this proves you can be whatever you want to be so dare to dream and dream big.
Bliss said looking at all of the fans, it’s obvious that “none of you will ever accomplish any of your dreams.” Bliss said she proved to the world that there’s nobody better than her. Bliss continued to gloat and a shot aired of Banks still sitting on the ring steps with her head down…
Powell’s POV: A strong first Elimination Chamber match for the women. The broadcast team played up Bayley being “stabbed in the heart by her best friend” so look for that to be continued on Raw. It shouldn’t surprise anyone, but they were off with the five minutes times between the entrances. The post match interview was great. Bliss got me. She had crocodile tears, but she came off very genuine before pulling the rug out from under the adoring fans. Great stuff.
After some ads, Kurt Angle was shown knocking on the door and then entering Ronda Rousey’s locker room… A Braun Strowman selfie style promo aired with him talking about winning the Chamber and making Brock Lesnar his Beastie Boy at WrestleMania…
2. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Titus O’Neil and Apollo (w/Dana Brooke) for the Raw Tag Titles. The Spanish and German broadcast teams checked in from ringside during the entrances. Sheamus and Cesaro attacked the challengers before the bell. Titus and Apollo came right back with clotheslines and sent the champions to ringside. Apollo performed a big dive off the top rope onto the tag champions. The ref started the match once teams returned to the ring.
Sheamus and Cesaro isolated Apollo for several minutes to start. Titus eventually took a tag and ended up getting a nice two count on Sheamus. Apollo performed a flip dive onto the tag champions. Apollo followed up with a cross body block on Sheamus and then went for a standing moonsault, but Sheamus put his knees up and got a two count. Cesaro ran Titus into the ring post and then made a blind tag to Sheamus. Cesaro clipped the back of Apollo’s knee, then performed a double team move with Sheamus that led to Cesaro pinning Apollo…
Sheamus and Cesaro beat Titus O’Neil and Apollo in 10:05 to retain the Raw Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: Titus and Apollo have several non-title wins over Sheamus and Cesaro, yet few seem to think they have a chance when the titles are actually on the line. Raw continues to be desperate for babyface tag teams due to the injuries suffered by Jeff Hardy, Dean Ambrose, and Jason Jordan.
A trailer for the Andre the Giant documentary that will air on HBO on April 10…
The broadcast team set up footage of Nia Jax attacking Asuka on Monday’s Raw… An Asuka mask was shown. Suddenly, a foot stomped on the mask and then the camera panned up to show Nia Jax… A video package set up the match…
3. Asuka vs. Nia Jax. If Jax wins then she will be added to the Raw Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania. The international broadcast teams checked in during the entrances. Alexa Bliss was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Jax caught Asuka trying to slam her backside into her and took offensive control. Asuka came back with a kneebar, but Jax powered out and dumped her in the corner.
Cole noted that Fabulous Moolah is the only woman in WWE history to win her first four matches on pay-per-view. He said Asuka could join her with a fin in this match. Jax performed a vertical suplex and fell onto Asuka on the way down. Asuka showed some signs of life, but Jax put her back down with a Samoan drop. Jax tried to follow up with a leg drop, but Asuka avoided it and hit a shining wizard for a two count.
Asuka connected with a series of kicks and got a near fall. Jax caught Asuka on the ropes and set her up for a Samoa Drop, but Asuka slipped away. Jax put her down and went for an Avalanche, but Asuka avoided it. Asuka ran the ropes and was clubbed down by Jax again at 6:45. Moments later, Jax charged Asuka in the corner, but Asuka moved and Jax crashed and burned. Asuka applied an armbar in the middle of the ring. Jax rolled onto Asuka and powered her up before running her into the corner to break the hold at 7:45. Jax picked up Asuka in powerbomb position, but Asuka used her legs to flip her over into a pin for the win…
Asuka defeated Nia Jax in 8:15.
After the match, Bliss was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Jax attacked Asuka in the ring. Graves said Asuka escaped the match with a win by the skin of her teeth. Jax ended up charging Asuka and driving her through the barricade and into the timekeeper’s area. Bliss was shown smiling backstage. Jax stormed away as Asuka sold the post match attack.
Backstage, Renee Young told Bliss that it looked like she would be facing Asuka. Bliss said she wasn’t disappointed by what Jax did to Asuka. She said no one is ready for her, not even Asuka. They cut back to the arena where two referees helped Asuka to her feet…
Powell’s POV: A very entertaining match. It looked like Jax may have even kicked out before or right at the three count, so we’ll see if they play that up or if that wasn’t meant to be part of the story. The post match attack gave Jax her heat back. I assumed this match would be all about giving Asuka momentum heading into WrestleMania. Instead, she ended up being helped to the back. She won the match and there’s obviously plenty of time to build up that momentum on Raw.
After some advertisements, Charly Caruso interviewed Roman Reigns in the backstage area. Reigns was overwhelmingly booed. She asked him about Paul Heyman saying Brock Lesnar would leave WrestleMania as champion regardless of who wins. Reigns said he doesn’t care what Heyman thinks. Reigns delivered a spoiler alert. He said he would go to WrestleMania, beat Lesnar, and take the WWE Universal Championship…
Powell’s POV: Is it really a spoiler if everyone knows? By the way, my buddy who is in attendance at the show noted that fans in the building loved Jax and were cheering for her during the match with Asuka. He also added that some of the lower seats on the camera side filled out, though the upper deck is still a wasteland.
The broadcast team set up a video for on the Bray Wyatt vs. Matt Hardy feud…
4. “Woken” Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt. Matt made his entrance. The Wyatt sound effect played and he appeared in the ring, but Matt was gone. Matt could be heard over the house mic singing that Bray would fade away and classify himself as obsolete. Bray looked around for Hardy. He looked under the ring, but Hardy was waiting for him on the ring steps and attacked him. Once they were in the ring, the ref called for the bell to start the match.
Bray did his upside down pose in the corner. Hardy encouraged the crowd to applaud him. Hardy hit a DDT for a two count on Wyatt. Bray avoided a Twist of Fate and hit his running splash. Wyatt got a two count off a DDT. Wyatt applied a chinlock as the crowed humored themselves with a beachball. Wyatt did not look amused.
Wyatt remained on the offensive as the beachball was confiscated. Hardy battled back with forearms and slammed Wyatt’s head into the corner. The crowd appeared to amuse themselves with a wave. Matt hit a Side Effect for a two count. Hardy went to the second rope and dropped an elbow. Wyatt came back with a uranage and a senton for a two count.
A loud “Rusev Day” chant broke out. Wyatt smiled in response. Hardy avoided Wyatt going for a senton from the middle rope. Wyatt came back and set up for his finsiher, but Hardy avoided it. Hardy hit a Twist of Fate and scored the pin…
Matt Hardy pinned Bray Wyatt in 9:55.
Powell’s POV: Hardy seemed to get the crowd going with the Obsolete song before the match, but then they lost the fans once the beachball came into play. Hardy still had some fans chanting delete and they counted along with the three count at the end, but this was a tough night at the office for both men. This feud is in a bad place. Hopefully Matt will be reunited with Brother Nero in the tag division soon.
The broadcast team spoke about Ronda Rousey coming to WWE as graphics of mainstream media pieces on her arrival were shown. A video package recapped Rousey’s appearance at the Royal Rumble…
Raw general manager Kurt Angle made his entrance. Triple H’s entrance theme played and he and Stephanie McMahon made their entrance together. Once in the ring, Hunter and Stephanie shook hands with Angle. A loud “Triple H” chant broke out. Stephanie said we are all part of history as they sign one of the greatest athletes in the world today.
Hunter spoke about scouring the globe for athletes who can take the company to the next level. He said there may be no better signing than the one tonight. Hunter compared it to Kurt Angle signing with WWE. Hunter ran through Rousey’s credentials and got the What? treatment. Hunter said Rousey has earned the right to be called the baddest woman on the planet. Triple H introduced “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey.
Rousey made her entrance to the same song and video wall used at the Royal Rumble. She came out with Roddy Piper’s leather jacket and a black version of her Piper inspired t-shirt. Rousey was all smiles and slapped hands on her way to the ring.
Stephanie asked Rousey to allow her to be the first to welcome her to WWE. Stephanie turned it over to Rousey, who started by saying, “Hey, guys.” The crowd wasn’t kind, though there were some fans who chanted her name. Rousey put her hand on her chest and looked emotional. Rousey said she wouldn’t be there without her hero Roddy Piper. She said she wanted to make him and his family proud. She also said she wants to earn the respect of fans in the ring.
Hunter said he wanted to get down to business. He said he wanted to emphasize that Rousey didn’t ask for any special perks such as special travel or private cars. He said the only thing she asked for was an invite to WrestleMania. Hunter said that she would be competing at WrestleMania once she signed. He pointed out that it would not be a championship match, but she would get a WrestleMania match. Rousey said she didn’t want any special favors.
Stephanie gave Rousey the contract and a pen. Rousey noticed Hunter pointing his finger at Angle and asked him what was happening. Angle said they couldn’t wait to have her in WWE so they could manipulate her. Angle recalled how she nearly broke Stephanie’s arm at WrestleMania 31. “Hunter, didn’t you say earlier that it was three years in the making and now we own the bit…”
Hunter told Angle to shut up. He said Angle was hospitalized recently with the flu and obviously wasn’t feeling well. Hunter said he was going to get Angle to the doctor and asked Stephanie to finalize the deal. Stephanie said it’s true that they’ve all been talking about her since WrestleMania 31. She said Rousey embarrassed them, but more so impressed them. Stephanie asked Rousey to make it official and make her a WWE Superstar.
Angle called out from the mic to ask Stephanie if she called Rousey a has-been in his office and even claimed that he could take her. Rousey made her mean face and backed Stephanie into the ropes. Hunter returned and put his hands on Rousey’s shoulders and walked her back until she threw his hands off of her. Hunter took Stephanie by the arm and escorted her to the ring apron. Hunter approached Rousey, who picked him up and slammed him through the contract signing table.
Stephanie slapped Rousey and asked who she thinks she is. Stephanie rolled out of the ring. Rousey picked up the contract that was lying next to Hunter and signed it to cheers from the crowd. Rousey dropped the contact on Hunter and then left the ring to her entrance music. Cole said Rousey is officially a member of WWE. He said he hopes she knows what she just did by putting the COO through a table…
Powell’s POV: Say what you will about Hunter and Stephanie being in the middle of this high profile segment, but it turned out to be the best approach they could have taken. The crowd was restless and didn’t seem to be pro-Rousey aside from a few who started the chant of her name early on, but the fans were applauding her by the end of the segment. There’s no way of knowing for sure, but I have a feeling that the majority of fans would have cheered one of the top female heel wrestlers had they approached Rousey instead. It’s odd that Angle’s character suddenly developed a set out of nowhere, but I’m happy that finally happened. So will Angle end up teaming with Rousey for the mixed tag match or will they go with someone else in that role? Will this segment be enough for Rousey to realize that she needs to speak up and address the crowd with more authority? She was so quiet that the crowd was making it difficult to hear her early on.
The WrestleMania video aired. We are 42 days away… A Mixed Match Challenge ad aired… The broadcast team spoke about the Rousey angle and then shifted the focus to hyping WWE Fastlane as the final stop on the road to WrestleMania… Footage aired of John Cena stating on Raw that he needs to win the Elimination Chamber match to have a road to WrestleMania… Cole set up a video package that focussed heavily on the Chamber match being the road to WrestleMania for the winner…
JoJo announced that it was the biggest Elimination Chamber match in WWE history. She ran through the rules of the match and then turned it over to Elias, who was seated on a stool in the middle of the ring with a guitar in hand. Elias played his guitar and did his usual heel mic work on the host city and then dedicated his song to himself. Elias acted annoyed by the fan reaction and then restarted his song. The last line was about not being afraid of the Monster Among Men, which led to Braun Strowman’s music interrupting him. Elias quickly headed to his pod before Strowman got to the ring. Strowman walked over and pointed on the glass and smiled. The remainder of the ring entrances took place…
5. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns vs. John Cena vs. The Miz vs. Elias vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor in an Elimination Chamber match to earn a WWE Universal Title shot at WrestleMania. The Miz, Finn Balor, and Seth Rollins started the match, while Elias, Braun Strowman, John Cena, and Roman Reigns were in pods. Cole hyped that Stephanie McMahon and the winner of the Chamber match would appear on Raw Talk on WWE Network after the show.
Miz wanted a temporary alliance with either Rollins or Balor. He even offered a too sweet to Balor. Both men rejected him. Rollins pointed at Miz and then he and Balor both attacked him to start the match. Rollins rolled up Balor for a two count just moments later. Rollins performed his falcon arrow spot on Miz. It was a bit clunky and Miz landed on his shoulder, but he seemed to be fine. Rollins performed a double Blockbuster and got a two count on Miz.
The fourth entrant in the match was John Cena, who entered at 5:45. Cena looked at Rollins and smirked. Cena got the better of an exchange with Rollins. Miz went after Cena and was slammed next to Rollins, then Cena hit a double five knuckle shuffle. Balor took Cena down and stomped his chest before covering him for two. A short time later, Cena hoisted up Rollins and Balor on his shoulders. Balor slipped off, but Cena swung the legs of Rollins at his face. Cena went for an AA on Rollins who landed on his feet. Cena superplexed Balor, then Rollins did the same to Miz.
The fifth entrant in the match was Roman Reigns at 11:00. That means Braun Strowman will be the sixth entrant since Elias earned the right to be the seventh entrant. Miz ended up being the only man standing while Rollins, Cena, Reigns, and Balor while on their knees. He polled the crowd and then ended up delivering Daniel Bryan style kicks to all of them. He hit Reigns with a series and once again failed to deliver the big finale kick because Reigns cut him off. A short time later, Reigns performed a sit-out powerbomb on Miz for a good near fall. Reigns set up for a move in the corner and then stopped when the countdown clock started.
The sixth entrant in the match was Braun Strowman, who whipped Rollins into the structure and hit Reigns and Cena. Miz acted horrified and hid from Strowman. Cena and Rollins teamed up on Strowman and tried to suplex him, but he ended up suplexing them both at the same time at 16:55. Strowman ended up flinging Balor into Reigns and then turned his focus to Miz, who tried to climb the Chamber. Strowman caught Miz on top of the pod and ended up tossing him onto the other wrestlers. Strowman destroyed his opponents and glared at Elias. Rollins hit him from behind, but Strowman tossed him over the top rope and onto the area between the ring and fence. Strowman performed a running powerslam on Miz and pinned him. The Miz was eliminated by Strowman at 20:20.
The seventh and final entrant was Elias at 20:45. He remained in the pod. Reigns, Cena, Rollins, and Balor all attacked Strowman and punched him to his knees. They all looked at one another. Reigns called the spot, which turned out to be a four-man powerbomb. All four men covered Strowman, who kicked out at two. Cena performed an AA and went for a cover, but Strowman kicked out at one. Reigns speared Strowman for two. Rollins performed a Stomp on Strowman. Balor went up top and performed a Coup de Grace outside the ring. Moments later, all six men were down so Elias left his pod for the first time at 23:25 and tried unsuccessfully to pin each man other than Strowman.
Elias performed a top rope elbow drop on Rollins for a near fall. Elias hoisted Reigns onto his shoulders in Electric Chair position, but instead spun him around and performed a sit-out powerbomb for a two count. Strowman recovered and went after Elias, who failed to perform the sit-out powerbomb on Strowman. Braun powerslammed Elias and pinned him. Elias was eliminated by Strowman in 25:55. Cole noted that Strowman was responsible for both eliminations. The fans sang the goodbye song to Elias.
Strowman scooped up Reigns for his finisher, but Rollins broke it up with a knee to the head. The remaining wrestlers took turns hitting moves on Strowman, who caught Cena coming off the top rope and powerslammed and pinned him. Cena was eliminated by Strowman in 26:25. Cole said there was no clear path to WrestleMania for Cena.
Balor hit the Coup de Grace on Strowman for a near fall. Balor also to a near fall on Rollins and then performed a sling blade clothesline and a running dropkick on Reigns. Balor followed up with the Coup de Grace, but Strowman scooped him up and powerslammed him and pinned him. Balor was eliminated by Strowman at 30:45.
Cole said Strowman’s performance might be the greatest performance in Elimination Chamber history. Rollins and Reigns bumped fists and went after Strowman together. Rollins and Reigns ran Strowman into the cage and worked him over. Eventually, Rollins ran Reigns into the cage and performed a springboard clothesline and a kick. Reigns took a Buckle Bomb, but came right back with a Superman Punch. Strowman pulled himself up and went after Strowman. Reigns got underneath Strowman and performed a Samoan drop onto the area outside the ring. Rollins stood on top of the pod and looked at the WrestleMania sign before performing a frogsplash off the pod and onto Strowman for a near fall.
Strowman ended up dropkicking Reigns out of the ring. Rollins hit Strowman with two superkicks and then went for a Stomp. However, Strowman powerslammed Rollins and pinned him. Rollins was eliminated by Strowman in 36:40.
The match came down to Strowman and Reigns. Strowman pushed Reigns by the throat over the top rope and then followed him. Strowman scooped up Reigns, who slipped away and clotheslined him. Reigns performed a running dive over the top rope and onto Strowman. Braun charged at Reigns, who moved, causing Strowman to crash through the side of one of the pods. Reigns threw a Superman Punch and the boos started. Roman performed a second Superman Punch. Reigns went to the corner and let out the war cry. Reigns charged and Strowman stuffed it. However, Reigns came back with another Superman Punch and two spears for the win…
Roman Reigns defeated Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins, John Cena, Finn Balor, Elias, and The Miz in 40:15 to win the Elimination Chamber match and earn a WWE Universal Title shot at WrestleMania.
After the match, Reigns looked at the WrestleMania sign while the broadcast team hyped Reigns challenging Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. Strowman scooped up Reigns and powerslammed him. Strowman looked to the crowd as they chanted “one more time” and obliged. Strowman took Reigns outside the ropes and ran him through one of the Chamber pods. Strowman’s music played and he left the Chamber. Cole hyped Lesnar appearing at Raw to go face to face with Reigns.
Powell’s POV: The outcome should not surprise anyone since it’s been well known for at least a year that Vince McMahon was set on going with the Lesnar vs. Reigns rematch. The live crowd booed when Reigns came to life, but then it sounded like they were either muted or were simply quiet after Reigns got the pin. Lesnar and Reigns had a great match the first time around and I assume this one will be on the same level. Still, you can’t help but wonder how much buzz there would be coming out of this show had they kept Strowman and Lesnar apart all year and then had Strowman go over in this match to set the stage for the ultimate showdown match.
Putting that aside, it was a good Chamber match and they obviously made Strowman look strong in defeat. Overall, the Elimination Chamber matches delivered and the Rousey segment had the fans cheering her at the end. An entertaining night. And if you’re a Reigns hater, take solace in the fact that Vince McMahon didn’t ruin the Royal Rumble to get to his match. I will be by with Jake Barnett for a members’ exclusive audio review later tonight. Join us on the ad-free website and hear ten years of audio content via PWMembership.net.
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The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Brian Fritz of Sporting News and Between The Ropes discussing WrestleMania 36, WWE television from the empty WWE Performance Center, his own travel woes, NFL free agency, and more...