Now that Elimination Chamber 2018 has finished up, it means it’s time for another post-show recap and all the reviews that go alongside talking about what just happened at the event.
As always, click on the video at the bottom of this post for the Smack Talk Pay-Per-Viewpoint recap podcast, but before diving into that, let’s try something different.
Instead of a 3-Count format, I’ll be experimenting with some other types of reactions in the future, if not just to spice things up, but also to potentially open things up to more flexibility. Maybe it’ll be a list, maybe it’ll be a bunch of random thoughts in bullet point form, or maybe it’ll be a giant rant about something—who knows?
For now, and for this Elimination Chamber edition, I just want to keep it simple and give my overall lump sum perspective of how I feel after the event.
In a word, take your pick: frustrated, disappointed, anxious or confused. At the very least, the word is not “hopeful” or “excited”—and that is the problem.
If I were to take this event and look at the individual elements, there were plenty of positives to talk about.
The Miz’s It Kicks spot was fun. Braun Strowman looked like a beast. Alexa Bliss retained the championship. Asuka is still undefeated. The right team won on the pre-show. Yay.
However, I look at what that means in relation to WrestleMania and I just start feeling like I’m in for a rough couple of months.
I’ve been saying for the past year that I don’t want to see Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania and every chance that came up where a swerve could have prevented it, it didn’t happen, so now I just have confirmation that I was right all along and that the company is going to repeat the same thing from 3 years earlier.
I have no ability to convince myself that they aren’t also going to repeat everything that happened surrounding that. The promos from Paul Heyman will tout that Reigns is powerful and strong and credible, but that he is not going to conquer The Beast because they’ve done this dance before and he’s come up short. Reigns will talk about how he needs to right the wrong of his previous loss and prove he’s The Big Dog. Yawn. Then, post-WrestleMania, we’ll have Reigns vs. Seth Rollins (according to rumors) which is what we got following Mania 31.
Fans will boo. WWE will either book this match as not the main event in the hopes that it’s okay to have people not like it because something better will follow, or they’ll just blindly go with this as the main event anyway and put their editors to good work by having them replace the boos with cheers on all recap footage.
I’m not up for going through the next 2 months with this being what we’re struggling to build to, because that’s the equivalent of being told that I’m going to wait a long time to eat my dinner and knowing full well that it’s not going to be a meal I’ll enjoy, and that it will make me nauseated afterward because remember, once Reigns wins that title, we then have to deal with the “babyface top of the food chain that isn’t getting the reactions we want as the champion so to prove that we’re right, he wins everything for months” scenario again. It hasn’t worked in the past, and it won’t work this time.
Do I care if Braun Strowman looked strong and he ends up doing something lame at WrestleMania? No. Even in the event that he wins the Intercontinental Championship in a squash match, or a glorified one-sided affair against The Miz, that will feel underwhelming for both of those two.
The same goes for the Asuka situation. They’re being so strange with the idea of what she’s doing for the Royal Rumble title shot that I can’t help but feel like this is all building up to a “ha ha, I got you” moment where she doesn’t challenge Alexa Bliss, but jumps over to Charlotte Flair on SmackDown.
It would keep Asuka away from Ronda Rousey, it would give Charlotte something to do (as the blue brand’s roster is too weak to set up a decent Mania match) and it would then create a situation where all this build of the Asuka/Bliss(+/Jax?) stuff meant nothing.
Then, we’d have to set up a new No. 1 contender for Bliss, which would undoubtedly be an end result of a Fatal 4-Way with Jax, Bayley and Sasha Banks. Suddenly, we’re back to square one with WWE having no better option on the table than to book themselves into a group match with many of the people we’ve already seen fight in the same type of scenario.
What’s up with the Raw Tag Team Championship? Which teams that WWE clearly doesn’t care about get thrown into that multi-team match? The Bar, The Revival and The Good Brothers? I’d probably be invested if they hadn’t waited until Friday afternoon to slap together some matches with this division in mind and just throw it up on WWE.com as if it’s going to be something to anticipate or put your faith in.
All in all, this was supposed to be an entertaining event that set up a lot of anticipation for WrestleMania.
Instead, it ended up being a somewhat entertaining event (mostly everything, not Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt, though) that got me thinking that I shouldn’t get my hopes up for anything decent for the next few months or at WrestleMania.
In the bubble of itself, it was a fine show. In looking ahead to the future, it actually hurt my excitement rather than helped it grow.
I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I will be.
For more opinions on the show as a whole, check out the latest edition of the Smark Out Moment wrestling podcast SMACK TALK as the panel reviews Elimination Chamber with our immediate reactions following the event before the dust has fully settled.
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