I enjoyed last night’s Elimination Chamber event. It wasn’t a show that we will be talking about for years to come, and honestly, we’ll probably stop talking about it next week sans one match. Of the six matches on the card, I felt that only one had a guaranteed winner. I’ll get to that in a bit, but I thoroughly enjoy a show more when the majority of the results aren’t fully predictable. This show could have been great, though, because there was so many missed opportunities.
The New Day is starting to grow on me and I think it is solely because of the entrance. After Big E’s voice echoes through the arena and the bass heavy theme song hits, a collective groan bellows from the arena. Then out comes Xavier Woods, skipping and clapping, with a giant smile on his face like he is the most appreciated guy on the roster. It reminds me of the guys from Night at the Roxbury. They believe they are cool, when in reality they aren’t. I don’t know, that is just entertaining to me. The Elimination Chamber tag match was intriguing because I could see them putting the belts on any of these teams - except Los Matadores. It’s time to do something different with those guys. Nobody cares about the lame bull-fighter gimmick, and no matter what El Torito does the crowd is silent. (Don’t get me started about him taking down Cesaro with a head scissors.) I thought The Ascension were built nicely in the match, Kalisto did some crazy stuff, and Cesaro looked strong as always. I think they need to do more with Darren Young and Titus O’Neil. New Day retains the titles, which I think needed to happen. It should help build some excitement over the belts if they have a long reign, especially after the titles seemed unimportant for months by being defended on PPV preshows.
The Divas match wasn’t bad, but I would have put the title on Paige here and have her keep it for an extended amount of time. She is somebody who should be going on all the major talk shows with the WWE Divas Championship, becoming the face of the division and bringing in casual fans. She is that good. The look, the personality, the natural ability. She’s a money-maker that the WWE is missing out on right now.
The match that everyone was talking about, and will be for the foreseeable future, was Kevin Owens and John Cena. I agree with putting Owens over here IF he is staying on the main roster. With the rematch set for Money in the Bank, it seems that is the case. My issue was that the announcers totally no-sold the championships not being on the line. How hard is it to say that this is a non-title match? If the point of this match was to get more people to watch NXT, then why not have Owens win the U.S. title and take it to NXT? Instead, we still have Cena as the U.S. champion after losing to Owens. It takes any prestige out of the U.S. Open Challenge in my opinion. I had an interesting conversation with Zac Eisenstein last night (be sure to check him out on The Swerve) where he brought something to my attention that I didn’t even consider. He talked about how it looked like that a guy from a developmental federation just waltzed in and whooped the WWE U.S. Champion. I can totally see how it would come across this way to fans, especially those that don’t watch NXT. Was two weeks enough to make Owens a credible opponent in the eyes of WWE fans? When you think about it, the WWE Network has had 1.3 million subscribers (in total, not current). I couldn’t find the actual numbers, but it would be a likely guess that all of them do not watch NXT. Of the 4 million fans that watch Raw, how many actually knew who Kevin Owens was before two weeks ago? When you think of it that way, you can see why people would think “wtf” after Owens beat a legend like Cena. Food for thought.
Also, just a side note, but how do John Cena and Kevin Owens keep kicking out of all these devastating maneuvers but Cesaro gets pinned by a school-boy rollup? No consistency from match to match.
Bo Dallas against Neville. Nobody cared. Neville wins.
The Intercontinental Elimination Chamber match was alright, but there was so much missed opportunity. Why have Daniel Bryan ringside the entire match but not have him on commentary? Also, why was Mark Henry the one who substituted for Rusev? Talk about a missed story opportunity. They could have run with a story-thread in the back all the way up until the match to add excitement and explain why Henry was the replacement. Just more laziness by the WWE creative “minds”. Ryback wins the belt. I’m cool with that. This should give him more opportunity (you would think) to grow his character with his underrated mic skills.
We saw a promo for Money In the Bank where the six participants are already revealed. No buildup. No story. Just a “here’s your guys” moment. I wish I could get paid to be lazy like these writers. Also, I’d like to hear the logic as to why Neville and Kofi Kingston are in this match. Does this make sense to the viewers? It doesn’t make any story sense to me. The answer is “for ladder spots.” That’s it.
The final match was the most predictable one. There was no way in hell that Dean Ambrose was winning the WWE Championship. Even after they played his music, you could see the Dusty finish coming a mile away. Ambrose stealing the belt is dumb. It was dumb with the IC title earlier in the year, and it is dumb now. The company isn’t doing Dean any favors by forcibly comparing him to Steve Austin. The commentators did it, and then Dean mentioned getting a beer. Jerry Lawler saying that Ambrose may “start a new Attitude Era” was the most laughable comment of the night. (I’m sure he was told to say that.) The fans are going to get sick of Ambrose real quick if they keep going this route.
After re-reading, it sounds like I didn’t enjoy the show - but I did. I just think there is more conversation in the missed opportunities. One of my biggest gripes with WWE has been the predictability of the show. Besides Rollins/Ambrose, I didn’t think this show was predictable.
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