Usually I put out a post reflecting on the latest PPV event the day after it happened, but with Elimination Chamber I wanted to try something different. Since this event was so close to the Royal Rumble, I decided to give this one a week before getting all my thoughts on it down, allowing it to stew in my mind. Even with this past week’s Smackdown occurring, the overarching points about this event ring true.
The biggest takeaway from the Smackdown exclusive Elimination Chamber came in the main event Chamber match, which came as no surprise. The match was booked nearly perfect, giving each wrestler time to shine, allowing all to look great leaving the night. Unsurprisingly, AJ and Cena, in their brief moments of one on one action, stole the show. Getting teased by the two of them made a match at mania highly desirable. That said, since they’ve faced off many times in the past, it seems like a long shot. This situation seems to be so straight forward that it’s A. easy to overthink, and B. liable to potentially grow stale. B seems highly unlikely, as it seems that AJ can do no wrong, but A seems possible if not probable. The idea of going with your best option in the moment tends to be the strongest, and WWE should strongly consider what these two are bringing night in and night out.
Orton winning the Rumble led to heavy rumors of Wyatt winning this match, but that did little to take away from the moment of his victory. In a career where Bray has routinely be underutilized, this was well deserved. Wyatt, even when he could barely get a win, has been one of WWE’s strongest characters, and the idea of him as not only a cult leader guy, but also the champion of a brand, is straight out of some of the strongest Undertaker Attitude Era stories. Also, the story with Orton, a follower of Wyatt now destined to face Wyatt at Wrestlemania, is unique. Even after Orton said he refused to face Wyatt, it’s hard to imagine it not happening in some way, probably involving Luke Harper. Seeing it all play out will give us some interesting material heading into the biggest show of the year, adding intrigue to a card that’s shaping up to be a little weak (in comparison to previous Wrestlemanias). The fear here is that the Rumble winner tends to win at mania, but Wyatt deserves a longer run with the title. That said, it’s not impossible that Wyatt walk out of mania still the champ, so let’s wait and see.
The rest of the card of Elimination Chamber was incredibly forgettable, and it’s hard to really place blame anywhere beyond whoever made the decision to put this event so close to the Rumble. None of these feuds had a proper build in the incredibly short time given (2 weeks), and the show really struggled to hold attention. There were some highlights, namely Orton and Harper pulling out a good match (even though it had a slow start) and Naomi winning the Women’s Championship from Alexa Bliss. The latter was a nice surprise for a wrestler who more than deserved it (as Ashley explained here), and was further proof that Smackdown is handling the Women’s division on their show much stronger than Raw. This point is furthered in that two (out of seven) other matches on the Chamber card were Women’s division matches (which is a bigger chunk than usual).
The show wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. More than anything, it felt unnecessary, as almost every feud seemed to go beyond this show, which makes sense in Wrestlemania being right around the corner. Regardless of that, the future appears to be going to interesting places, and Smackdown will, more likely than not, continue to be the stronger of the two brands through mania.