Quite a bit to digest here, but it was interesting to see how the women were going to adapt to being in the Elimination Chamber match. The first thing that struck out to me was how blatantly obvious the order of the entrants was going to be. We all knew that one of the Absolution members were going to start against either Bayley or Mickie because Sasha tends to go the distance in most big match situations. Then, we knew that Absolution would get a two on one advantage until either Mickie or Sasha came to break things up. Alexa coming in last was also quite painfully obvious as well. Despite that, I think the match, overall, was okay. There were a few sloppy spots early on, and I personally think Sasha got a little too excited to begin the match as she was just sort of crashing into everybody, but once she calmed down, she settled in quite nicely.
Another thing I noticed was that Mickie James seemed to have a little extra pep in her step. All of her moves were crisp and clean and connected with a lot more impact than most of her RAW matches these days. Her climbing to the top of the chamber pod and diving showed that she was more than game for tonight’s match. Her elimination was very disappointing, and I hate the Elimination Chamber rapid fire elimination trope WWE is infatuated with. It’s like when one superstar goes down, it’s a natural reaction that two or three go down within the next 10 minutes or so. I definitely think Mickie should have lasted a little longer. Despite that, I did like the little bit of storytelling Alexa had with her looks of concern as her insurance policy in Mickie was eventually eliminated briefly.
Probably the most consistent performer in the match overall belonged to Bayley, as she lasted the longest in the chamber and carried the pace of the match along nicely, starting with her brief program with Absolution, then her tension with Sasha and finally in the triple threat dynamic with Bayley. She also did a nice job of selling. The final sequence between Alexa and Sasha was also solid, as the two have developed a bit of chemistry with each other. I especially liked Alexa hitting her finisher from the top only for Sasha to reverse it into a submission on the outside, though the transition of that was sort of weird. That DDT was also wicked smooth a la Randy Orton. The women didn’t do anything too crazy as I suspected, and with the new design of the chamber, we shouldn’t have expected anything more than a few shoves into the fence. While Alexa winning was obvious, you could have fooled me with her post-match promo, as she seemingly forgot what her character was and gave a motivational speech to little girls watching, just for her to be a jerk once again with the adulation of the crowd showing approval.
I’m also not sure why they even bothered teasing an alliance between Mickie and Alexa because Bliss proved that she was capable of holding her own, as he pinned both Bayley and Sasha on her own without needing any help. I get that it changed the dynamic of the story because Mickie and Alexa weren’t even in the ring at the same time in the match, but if the plan all along was just for Bliss to beat her two top challengers in the match on her own, any alliance was pointless.
The match wasn’t anything bad, and a part of me felt as though a lot of what they did would have been easily accomplished outside the chamber save for all the climbing spots, but overall it was a good little match. Nothing crazy, nothing grandiose. Just solid. ***1/4
Cesaro (C) and Sheamus (C) def. Apollo Crews and Titus O’Neil – RAW Tag Team Championship
A very predictable outcome only put on the card just to burn up some time, but I think this match was actually slightly above RAW quality. We all knew Sheamus and Cesaro were retaining. We knew this coming in because Titus Worldwide had beaten them three times in non-title matches. AND, Cesaro and Sheamus have already beaten them with the titles on the line before. Despite that, I think this was a good little sprint. They kept things basic, Cesaro and Sheamus worked their tag team heel psychology to a great degree, isolating Apollo and preventing him from getting the tag, and making sure they always had the 2 on 1 advantage. Meanwhile, Apollo got to show off his high-flying prowess while Titus just, well, did what Titus O’Neil always does.
I’m not sure what was going on in the crowd at the time because they were booing at something, and it clearly wasn’t anything in the match, but something clearly diverted their attention away. Overall this accomplished its purpose as the cool-off match after the first chamber match, nothing was bad, and they kept things simple. Can’t really complain here. **1/2
Asuka def. Nia Jax
This was more or less everything I expected it to be. Nia was going to spend time in the match dominating and working over Asuka while Asuka would rely on swift, powerful strikes, using Nia’s momentum against her and targeting the lower extremities. The crowd was actually into it, and if there was ever a time a crowd was going to pop for an upset, this was the moment. Obviously, Asuka wasn’t losing, nor was this the time to end her undefeated streak, but WWE was teasing it at times here. I think they worked the big/little dynamic here perfectly, as Asuka struggled to gain an advantage and she had to resort to facial guillotine chokes and desperate maneuvers just to get Nia grounded, and that’s the way I like a match against Nia booked. I actually came across a nice quote I saw in the comments section that described how I feel about Nia perfectly (Sorry, I forgot your name).
“Nia Jax is currently WWE’s best worker in terms of repeatedly putting over the other talent despite the fact that she can literally destroy them all.”
This couldn’t be any truer, and I think the crowd is starting to warm up to Nia a great deal because of that fact. The post-match attack was perfect because it still makes Nia look strong without having Asuka lose. The only thing I didn’t like, and it’s a petty pet peeve (say that 10 times fast) is that they played Asuka’s music after the match. Like, she just got destroyed through the barricade. Don’t play her music as if she’s standing tall. Yeah, she’s walking on her own, sort of, but she doesn’t look like a conquering hero after that. Allow for silence and let the crowd digest what they just witnessed. Other then that, they did what they could with the time allotted. ***