Laziness strikes the Raw creative team yet again with the announcement of the participants of the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view main event.
It’s not too surprising that they decided that a three hour show wouldn’t benefit from exciting qualifying matches to both fill time and entertain.
Not only did they just tell us who’s in the match, they then had four participants wrestle to… preview the Elimination Chamber match. Uh… preview? What? And of course, they pick four guys who have wrestled each other a bunch before this match to preview them being in another match together!
This isn’t hard. There’s a serious lack of good ideas and consistency. Lacey Evans had to qualify against Charlotte Flair for the Raw Women’s title and Ricochet and Drew Gulak had to qualify for the Royal Rumble. And then they just gave Lacey the title match anyway! It’s all just very inconsistent. Make it make sense!
Let’s get to the main hits and misses of this show. For a full rundown of Raw, check out the live blog by Rev. Claire Elizabeth!
The night started off with a surprise Shane McMahon return.
He said that the Elimination Chamber will now be a WWE Championship defense, with McIntyre taking on Sheamus (his original opponent in singles action), Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, and the Miz. Before leaving, Drew caught Shane at his car and said he would have appreciated a heads up but it was decided that Drew suddenly needs to prove himself as a champion.
Later, an angry Sheamus told Adam Pearce that McIntyre would be nothing without him and he got screwed out of his singles match. Personally felt bad for the dude and he really gave off a pissed off and intimidating presence.
So McIntyre and Orton has match number 10 or 11 in their series and Sheamus came out to distract Drew and Orton couldn’t capitalize on it. Drew hit a neckbreaker and then Sheamus came in for a surprise Brogue Kick but Drew put Orton in his path. Drew hit the Claymore on Sheamus to close the show. Another disqualification.
Not just another disqualification, but a predictable and frankly boring way to close the show. It was crystal clear that Sheamus was going to be involved at some point, and it made me not care about this at all. I actually tweeted about Fiendette coming in and ruining the main event as usual, but then Sheamus came out and I knew that there was going to be no Alexa Bliss appearance. That’s fine! Keeping that stuff off TV until after Elimination Chamber might be a better idea.
Not having Bliss come out because of Orton was good, but they didn’t follow that up with something good. Blah. Stuff like this does not make me interested in the Elimination Chamber match.
Edge is smart
Edge said the landscape changed now that McIntyre has to defend against five former champions at Elimination Chamber. He likes his odds against Drew, but he doesn’t like Drew’s odds at the pay-per-view.
Miz came out and said no matter who Edge picks (didn’t mention NXT champ Balor though) he’ll cash in and beat Edge. Edge reminded us that he has been pivotal in Money in the Bank and knows to have eyes in the back of his head.
Edge then said Miz was foolish for telling him what his plans were and he needs to worry about the Elimination Chamber. He said Miz is playing Go Fish while everybody else is playing poker.
I really like what they’ve been doing with Edge last Raw and on this show. He systematically knocked McIntyre and Miz off their proverbial high horses and made them think for a second. Last week, he told Drew always to watch himself with that title on his shoulder, and then Drew’s best friend turned on him. This is good stuff.
I do find it interesting that Edge is seemingly the only one who can challenge the NXT champion this time around, because Bianca Belair never mentioned NXT on SmackDown, and Miz didn’t mention NXT here.
Bad Bunny is also smart
Bad Bunny proved that he watches the product more than most wrestlers.
He knew what would get Miz and Morrison ejected. How do more wrestlers not use this tactic? Everything about Bad Bunny and Damian Priest is great. The match was really to highlight Priest, which is totally fine.
Priest honestly is a great addition to Raw. I’m enjoying everything about him so far.
Keith Lee defeated Riddle
While Air Bud was one of my favorite movies of all time growing up, I did not need the movie mentioned in another dreadful Riddle promo.
Riddle started the match immediately with an arm bar, and Lee answered by lifting Riddle with that arm. Tests of strength between both men saw Lee being the dominant man. Riddle tried wearing Lee down with strikes and sleeper holds. Lee’s answer was to just tackle Riddle halfway across the ring. Riddle’s Pele Kick finally got him to stumble, and Riddle’s knee from the top rope dropped Lee like a sack of potatoes. Lee finally hit the Spirit Bomb and Riddle bounced up so high he turned on his stomach. I saw him laughing at the end. MVP was also very entertained by this match. Lashley cleaned house after the match. This was the best match of the night.
New Day defeated RETRIBUTION
For what its worth, Slapjack and T-Bar were pretty good in this match. The real star was Mustafa Ali killin’ it on commentary as usual. His lines about the system preventing T-Bar from eating so he needs to go and take food for himself was great. He had a bit of extra aggression in his voice too. Loved Kofi Kingston smiling at Ali every time he hit T-Bar or Slapjack with a move, including the pinfall. After the match, Xavier Woods said he wants Reckoning, which might actually end up happening if you believe the pair’s Twitter game.
AJ Styles defeated Jeff Hardy
As I mentioned in my opening remarks, this was just laziness. We’ve seen this rivalry have matches and this one was no different. I did appreciate the callback to the leg injury though.
Lana defeated Nia Jax
I didn’t see WWE announce this match beforehand, so it totally caught me by surprise. This was pretty much the same thing its always been. Nia dominates, Lana gets a little bit of comeback. So Lana just… pushed Nia into a table to win a match they should have done months ago. Nia said “MY HOLE!” When she failed to execute a leg drop on the apron. Might be the funniest thing Nia will ever do.
Naomi defeated Shayna Baszler
And that match led to this match! Naomi was favoring her arm and the arm attack Queen Shayna tried taking advantage. Shayna went outside to attack Lana, and then got back in the ring and then Naomi got a surprise roll up victory. This was quick but I love seeing a win for Naomi. I’d also like to see Shayna far away from Nia and doing good things on her own.
Charlotte Flair vs. Lacey Evans ends in an oh so surprising disqualification
Ric Flair said that he doesn’t take orders from any woman, especially his daughter, and he’s not staying at home. Evans has everything it takes to be a star, and she just needs some wisdom and guidance so that’s where he came in. She said that Charlotte’s a fool for passing up his wisdom. Charlotte came out and said she should go back to the Performance Center. Charlotte seemingly forgot when she said she didn’t want her father’s help anymore last year. It was nice to see Asuka get a mention here since she and Charlotte are never together unless tag champions.
The match was all over the place. A few weird spots and naturally didn’t have a finish. Never expected it anyway. And they gave Lacey a title match at Elimination Chamber match anyway so all of this was pointless.
What were your thoughts, Cagesiders?