- Presented LIVE on the WWE Network on February 25th, 2018, from the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise (Las Vegas), NV. It's the final stop on the Road to WrestleMania™, with two Elimination Chamber matches (1 for the men, 1 for the women) and the "official" signing of Ronda Rousey to a WWE Raw contract. Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and JONATHON COACHMAN (yes, he's back) are calling the action, unless otherwise noted.
The two unfortunate souls starting the match are Sonya Deville and Bayley (surprised?). Deville with a takedown, fighting for position. Then a lot of nothing. No offense to Daria Berenato (no, I'm not some super-smart-ass using real names, she was on Tough Enough and worked in NXT with her birth name), but she's too inexperienced for such an "important" match, and the first 5-minutes is very uninteresting because of it, with lots of standing around, like the AI on Easy in WWE 2K18 (can you guess what I'm playing lately?). Bayley hits the flying elbow drop onto the platform in the high-spot of the period. Mandy Rose (predictably) comes in next, leaving Bayley in for a world of hurt. Bayley fights them off briefly before a combination right-hook and spear rocks her world. Things continue to move at a lethargic pace, with Rose and Deville doing a slow beat-down, including trapping Bayley in the mesh of the cage in a crucified position. Sasha Banks enters next (that wasn't 5-minutes!) to save the friend she'll turn on mid-match like she does every time. Banks somehow goes 30-seconds without a spot where she awkwardly lands on her head. Bayley comes back to life to help hip throw Deville into the cage. Rose hits Sasha with a sit-out face-buster but takes too long to follow up. Bank Statement to Rose, Bayley prevents Deville from saving, and Rose taps out at 13:50 for our first elimination (my honest prediction for that dubious spot was Bayley).
Mickie James (in Wonder Woman gear) in next, running wild on everyone, which is a good sign she's not long for this match. Mickie with a spinning hurricanrana on Deville, and a Thesz Press FROM THE TOP OF THE POD puts Deville away at 17:33. Banks hits Mickie with the back stabber, and Bayley-to-Belly finishes Mickie at 17:58. Good guys Bayley and Sasha stalk and gang-up on Alexa Bliss, throwing the crowd off that was, at this point, honoring the babyface/heel dynamics. They do a long cat-and-mouse, and then SHOCKER, Sasha cheap-shots Bayley. Bliss takes advantage of Sasha and Bayley going after each other, catching a breather and attacking at opportunistic moments. Sasha with a worse frog splash than Hornswoggle for a near-fall. Bayley hits Sasha with a top-rope Bayley-to-Belly, but Alexa sneaks up and rolls her up for three at 25:31. With how long they kept the shot on Bayley, it almost seemed like the door was open to set something up with Sasha for WrestleMania, but no, it was just a sympathy grab watching her leave disappointed. Sasha no-sells Twisted Bliss FROM THE TOP OF THE POD (you have to do all caps each time because HIGH SPOT!) and turns it into the Bank Statement, but Bliss rolls through and escapes by ramming Sasha into the corner. Sasha tries going high risk, but gets sent face-first into the pod, and Alexa finishes with a draping DDT to retain at 29:36. Post-match, Bliss cuts a heartfelt babyface promo, then decides she's a heel again and goes back in character. What was the point of that? Match started off rather ho-hum, but it really picked up mid-way through and finished on a high note. Weird crowd tonight, getting behind Bayley and Mickie James more than Sasha. I guess Las Vegas is stop #67 in the Bizzaro World Map, or, gasp, maybe treating them as serious threats during the match might've helped. ***
- Kurt Angle, Stephanie McMahon, and Triple H come out for the official contract signing of "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey. They hype her up, and Hunter even says it's the biggest signing since Olympic Gold Medalist, Kurt Angle. The obnoxious crowd continues to earn negative points, trying to "What" him, but he knows how to play off it. Rousey comes out and the smiling, slapping hands crap automatically makes me shake my head. Then she has a live microphone, and it's awkward. I mean, REALLY awkward. If this were anyone else, the crowd would've dumped all over them like a noob in Fortnite (guess what other game I'm currently playing). Then we make a clumsy transition to Angle trying to say Hunter and Stephanie resent her for what happened at WrestleMania 31 and called her washed-up (allegedly). Hunter shoos him off, citing the symptoms of the flu causing hallucinations. Rousey makes mean faces, Hunter saves Stephanie from her, only to get slammed through a table, and Stephanie slaps Rousey because Mike Tyson sold tickets to Mania 14 by getting kicked in the nuts by Vince. Guess which part of that run-on sentence ISN'T true. I don't care how you try to spin it, this was a bad segment.
The Miz (obviously), Seth Rollins, and Finn Balor start. I wouldn't doubt that Vince sees Elias as a bigger "star" than Seth and Finn. Miz tries to broker a deal, even going as far as offering a "2-Sweet" sign to Balor, but the honorable babyfaces choose 2-on-1 on the heel is the right way to go. Who books this?! HOW HARD IS IT TO MAKE BABYFACES SYMPATHETIC, NOT THE HEELS? Balor and Rollins do preliminary work that gets three guys chanting "This is Awesome", yet Bray and Hardy go at it hard and get ignored for a beach ball the second a chin-lock is grabbed. Balor rolls through a sunset flip and hits Miz with a basement dropkick for two. Rollins with the Falcon Arrow for two. Rollins with a double block-buster for a pair of two counts. John Cena comes in looking smug. Heel Cena?! Too little, too late. Cena wastes no time doing his 5-moves-of-doom on Rollins, and Miz joins in to take a double 5 Knuckle Shuffle. Balor with a leg sweep and double stomp for two. Roman Reigns enters with everyone laid out from synchronized super-plexes. He uppercuts everyone, but hesitates in the face of his BFF, Seth. Miz with It-Kicks to everyone, but Roman cuts him off with clotheslines. Roman rolls up Balor and plants him with a Powerbomb, just to show off.
Strowman joins the match, and things finally get interesting (up to this point, it's just the usual trading moves show where little of substance happens). Strowman casually tosses Seth into the cage on his way in. Miz runs like hell as he lays into everything moving. He takes Seth and Cena over with a double suplex. Strowman follows Miz to the top of one of the pods and repeatedly slams Miz into the plastic before tossing him onto the pile. Strowman finishes Miz with the Powerslam at 20:19. Elias chooses to stay inside his Pod while the remaining field gang up on Braun. We get a Super-Duper, Extra-Large with Picante Powerbomb WITH ALL FOUR MEN STACKING HIM, BUT BRAUN KICKS OUT AT TWO. If this man doesn't win the match, Vince McMahon is retarded. Cena with the Attitude Adjustment for A ONE COUNT. Reigns with a Spear for two. Rollins with a Curb Stomp and Balor with the Coup de Grace, but Strowman is out of the ring. Elias finally comes out to pick the bones, but everyone kicks out of pin attempts. He hits everyone with knees and comes off the top with an elbow on Seth for two. Elias tries to lift Strowman on his shoulders. That backfires horribly, and Strowman finishes with the Powerslam at 26:52. Cena dives into a Powerslam and he's gone at 27:23, crushing his dreams of having a WrestleMania Moment. He'll just have to live with the memories of countless title victories, asking his girlfriend to marry him, and setting the all-time record for money drawn for a wrestling event while he sits at home. (#TellingConfusingStories)
Balor tries his luck, using his clear speed and agility advantage. He slips out of a Powerslam and hits a pair of Shotgun Dropkicks. Coup de Grace to the back gets two. Balor hits Rollins with 1916 for two. Sling-blade and shotgun dropkick to Roman. He hits the Coup de Grace, but here's Strowman to finish Balor with the Powerslam at 30:40. Rollins and Reigns work together on the Monster Among Men™, but that lasts only slightly longer than the Bayley and Sasha alliance. They reuse the Buckle-Bomb/Superman Punch sequence they used in the Gauntlet Match. Rollins hits a far better Frog Splash from the TOP OF THE POD, but that only gets two. In this case, I'm cool with the kick-out. Braun must be going over at this point. Braun with a Twin-Canon Dropkick on Roman. He no-sells Seth's Super-Kicks and finishes with The Usual™ at 36:34. Roman's rope-a-dope tactics finally work, tricking Strowman into putting himself through a Pod. Strowman doesn't take long getting to his feet, but two Spears is enough to put him down at 40:10, sending Roman to "finish what he started three years ago" to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. I don't care if Reigns is getting the coronation moment (again) but doing the monster push end with a clean job makes no-sense. The QUADRUPLE TEAM POWERBOMB and stack-up pin should've been the fall, since it wouldn't be illegal to have it happen here in a non-comedic setting. Strowman was the story of the match, and the rest were just treading water. ***1/2
Final Thoughts: This was a show, and it definitely exceeded the 3-hour mark, despite five matches advertised, and none of them being hour-long Royal Rumbles. Whenever they do these Chamber (or MITB, or other gimmicks that hinder the under-card) shows, you usually can expect things to drag, and this was no exception. The men's Chamber was good, and the women delivered enough considering the limitations of some involved, but the undercard was a solid hour of nothing, plus tons of filler. Neither Chamber Match is worth checking out on their own, making this a show you can miss without missing much.