The final stop on the Road to WrestleMania 34 for the Raw brand produced highs, lows, history and predictable booking. It also produced a viral moment for WWE when Ronda Rousey capped her contract signing by slamming Triple H through a table. In the end, however, fans in Las Vegas were sent home with yet another polarizing Roman Reigns victory in the main event of Sunday's Elimination Chamber pay-per-view in Las Vegas.
Reigns advanced to face universal champion Brock Lesnar in New Orleans on April 7 after a Chamber match featuring safe and predictable booking. The same couldn't be said for the inaugural women's match which opened the card and proved to be the highlight of the evening. In between, the five-match card proved largely forgettable save for Rousey's contract signing, which featured a standout performance from Kurt Angle.
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2018 WWE Elimination Chamber results
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson def. The Miztourage via pinfall (Kickoff Show): Fairly standard tag team match to get things started. The Good Brothers, appearing without Finn Balor, rallied for a dominant finish. Gallows hit a super kick to knock Bo Dallas off the ring apron and then hit a second to floor Curtis Axel. He tagged in Karl Anderson to land the Magic Killer on Axel for the 1-2-3. After the match, The Revival cut a backstage promo claiming Gallows & Anderson are a "mockery" to tag team wrestling. Grade: C-
Women's Championship -- Elimination Chamber -- Alexa Bliss (c) def. Sasha Banks, Bayley, Mickie James, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville to retain the title: This inaugural women's match was high-energy and stiff from the very start. It also lived up to expectations compared to the men in terms of storytelling and high spots. From Banks finally turning on Bayley to Bliss defending her title despite the odds against her (and cutting a perfect heel promo after), this match nearly had it all. After Bayley and Deville got it started, it didn't take long for the match to turn into a tag team bout of sorts between Absolution, which stepped up its game tremendously, and the duo of Banks and Bayley. After Rose tapped out to the Banks Statement, next came the first big spot as Mickie James, who after cleaning house upon entering, hit a Thesz press off the top of the pod to pin Deville. Just seconds later, Banks and Bayley teamed up to eliminate James following a backstabber and Bayley-to-belly suplex.
Banks and Bayley then cornered Bliss' pod to double team, which led them on a long chase up the cage wall to the opposite side of the ring. But after Banks attempted to help Bayley to the top of the pod, she turned on her by kicking her down. Dramatic near falls followed, including a frog splash from Banks on Bayley. After Bayley hit her suplex finisher from the second rope, Bliss rolled up Bayley for the surprise 1-2-3.
Bliss hit the match's best spot with a Twisted Bliss from the top of the pod but Banks instantly reversed it into a Banks Statement. The finish came moments later when Bliss grabbed Banks from the top rope and hit her snap DDT finisher. After the match, Bliss cut a babyface promo about daring to dream and accomplishing your goals as the crowd chanted "You deserve it." Bliss brilliantly switched to heel out of nowhere, saying, "And the reality is that none of you will ever accomplish any of your dreams!" Grade: A-
|Order of entry||Order of elimination|
Rose (Banks, via submission)
Deville (James, via pinfall)
James (Bayley, via pinfall)
Bayley (Bliss, via pinfall)
Banks (Bliss, via pinfall)
|6||Alexa Bliss (c)||Winner: Alexa Bliss (c)|
Tag Team Championship -- The Bar (c) def. Titus Worldwide to retain the titles: This relatively short match produced a predictable ending. Apollo showcased his athleticism early by hitting a splash from the top rope onto Cesaro and Sheamus on the floor. Later, he hit a textbook Tope Con Hilo onto both outside. A long beatdown on Apollo led to a Titus O'Neil hot tag and a near fall when he hit Clash of Titus on Sheamus. The finish came when Cesaro tagged himself in, chop blocked Apollo and springboarded into a double-teaming sidewalk slam from Sheamus for the 1-2-3. Grade: C
Asuka def. Nia Jax via pinfall: The unbeaten streak which dates back to Asuka's 2015 NXT debut remained intact despite a destructive performance from Jax. Asuka sold power moves for the majority of the match with each one of her rallies snuffed out in violent fashion. Asuka, who reversed out of a Samoan Drop attempt from the top rope to save herself, did the same to set up the finish as Jax lifted her up for a powerbomb only to be rolled up by a reversing Asuka for the surprise pin. While the match was largely methodical and basic with good storytelling, the post theatrics amped things up. Jax attacked Asuka from behind, threw her out of the ring and went on to hit a running splash through the barricade wall in front of the timekeeper. Bliss, who was smiling while watching a backstage monitor, was then told by Renee Young that she would likely face Asuka at WrestleMania. "No one, not even Asuka, no one is ready for Alexa," she said. Grade: C+
Matt Hardy def. Bray Wyatt via pinfall: The "Woken" one showed off more of his supernatural abilities as his character continues to evolves. The match, however, was largely forgettable, in part due to the crowd's preference to focus on beach balls and the wave. After Hardy entered the ring first, Wyatt's music hit and the lights were turned off. But when power returned, Wyatt was in the ring but Hardy was gone, save for his jacket lying on the canvas. The mind games messed with Wyatt, who checked under the ring unsuccessfully until Hardy reemerged to hit a double axe handle off the second rope outside. The pace was methodical from that point forward. A series of late reversals led to Hardy connecting on a Twist of Fate for the pin. Grade: C-
Ronda Rousey officially signs her WWE Raw contract: It was an awkward journey, but Rousey's Road to WrestleMania 34 got off to a great start overall. The star of the segment was Raw general manager Kurt Angle, who interrupted the cordial banter between the former UFC champion and the heel duo of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon to reveal the Authority's master plan. Calling back to Rousey's memorable WrestleMania 31 spot opposite The Rock, Angle shared comments made backstage by Triple H ("Three years in the making and now we own the bitch") and McMahon ("Ronda is a has-been, and I could take her.")
After the heels removed Angle from the ring, Rousey stepped into their faces for a staredown. Rousey hit a side suplex on Triple H through the table before McMahon landed a stiff slap. Following a staredown, Rousey signed the contract and dropped it onto Triple H's body. Despite the unpolished nature of Rousey's microphone work and the suspension of disbelief needed to imagine Rousey manhandling Triple H, the psychology involved in this segment perfectly laid the foundation for a star-studded mixed tag team feud at WrestleMania. Grade B+
Elimination Chamber -- Roman Reigns def. Braun Strowman, John Cena, The Miz, Elias, Seth Rollins and Finn Balor: The predictable, year-long build to a WrestleMania 34 main event between Brock Lesnar and Reigns was completed in, well, predictable fashion. Despite a dominant run from Strowman, in which he kicked out of countless finishing moves and set an Elimination Chamber record with five pinfalls, Reigns will likely close "The Showcase of the Immortals" for the fourth straight year. If there was one critique for the 40-minute match, outside of its length and outcome, was how vanilla it was booked. The incredibly slow start wasn't helped by a dead crowd. An attempt at dueling superplexes from Rollins and Cena in opposite corners was far from in sync. The Miz enjoyed a fun spot in which he mimicked Daniel Bryan's "Yes" kicks on a four-pack of opponents in the center of the ring. After attempting to escape up the cage upon Strowman's entrance, Miz was quickly tracked down and thrown from atop the pod into the arms of others in the ring.
Strowman didn't just kick out of a long stretch of finishing moves, he often tossed his opponents across the ring (including four at one time after Reigns initiated a Shield powerbomb). "The Monster Among Men" then began a string of eliminations via powerslam, including an emotionally crushed Cena. After an elimination of Rollins, who proved to the the workhorse of the match, Reigns began to finally weaken Strowman enough with three Superman punches and two spears to end the match.
Afterwards, Strowman regained some of his heat by attacking Reigns to hit a pair of powerslams and a toss through the pod wall. On Raw Talk after the show, Cena nearly broke down while lamenting his lack of a road to WrestleMania before saying, "I don't have an opponent but I may have a plan. It may take me stepping outside of the proper etiquette of the WWE. I'll figure it out." For the incredible level of talent in this match, the lack of a quality swerve hurt the end result, as did the women's match that ultimately outshined it to open the card. Grade: C-
|Order of entry||Order of elimination|
The Miz (Strowman, via pinfall)
Elias (Strowman, via pinfall)
Cena (Strowman, via pinfall)
Balor (Strowman, via pinfall)
Rollins (Strowman, via pinfall)
Strowman (Reigns, via pinfall)
Winner: Roman Reigns