By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The Elimination Chamber Participants Interrupted Each Other
Everyone involved played their role well and established why they believe they will win the Chamber. Not one person's promo stood out above all the others, but it was collectively solid segment. It was paint-by-the-numbers for the most part since we usually get something like this every year, but it was effective in hyping the upcoming Elimination Chamber match and setting up other matches for later on in the night.
Daniel Bryan def. Christian
These two don't square off too often (their last encounter came in July), so this was a relatively fresh match that was a lot of fun to watch. Their styles meshed perfectly and the crowd was very much into the action. Christian acting as a heel as a pleasant surprise. Although I enjoy him as a babyface, he was smart to portray the heel since it obvious Bryan was the fan favorite. The roll-up win for Bryan protected Christian and Kane announcing he would be facing Bryan was a good hook prior to the commercial break.
Daniel Bryan def. Kane by Disqualification
This match has been built toward quite a bit in recent weeks, so I was surprised to see it given away here without it being advertised in advance. However, the bout was kept brief and ended on a disqualification, so it saved the clean finish for a rainy day. It would also explain why they were holding back a bit. This match was successful in putting heat on Kane while making Bryan look sympathetic, so it was a win-win situation for both parties.
Fandango def. Santino Marella
We have seen this match countless times in the past, so nothing made this match anything different from the rest. In fact, it was practically the same exact match we saw last week between the two with the same result. It is mind boggling to me that WWE would show a video package of Emma competing in NXT yet not put her in the ring. Just get this mixed tag team match over with (preferably at Elimination Chamber) and move Emma in something that is actually worth her time and talent.
Roman Reigns def. Mark Henry
This was a nice follow-up to Reigns' attack on Henry last week, but it was nothing more than a showcase for Reigns. I didn't expect much of a match between them and there didn't need to be. Henry loses nothing from the loss and it solidified Reigns as a dominant force to be reckoned with. The subtle tease with Dean Ambrose showing jealously afterward was also well done. The verbal exchange and subsequent showdown between The Shield and The Wyatt Family was excellent and leaves viewers wanting to see them get their hands on each other come the pay-per-view.
Jack Swagger def. Kofi Kingston
Swagger and Kingston have had good matches in the past, but it was quite clear that this was a squash from the start, so the lack of reaction from the crowd was understandable. However, the chants were JBL were uncalled for. It wasn't that boring of a bout. It was a nice win for Swagger going into his Intercontinental Championship match against Big E, but not enough heat has been put on him to make people care.
Intercontinental Champion Big E def. 3MB in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
As much as I find Zeb Colter hilarious at times, his promo during the match was somewhat obnoxious. Granted, he didn't take away from the match since it wasn't much of match to begin with, but did it really accomplish anything? Big E hasn't had many credible opponents in recent months, so his win here didn't do much to boost his momentum. I appreciate the effort WWE has put into making the Intercontinental title match at Elimination Chamber mean something, but its build thus far has left a lot to be desired.
John Cena def. Cesaro
I didn't expect Cesaro to defeat both Randy Orton and Cena in the matter of three days so a Cena win was logical, but even I was doubting myself down the stretch. Similar to Bryan and Christian, these two don't face each other often and proved here how well they can work together. Cesaro scored an incredible amount of offense over Cena and looked super strong in defeat. Take nothing away from Cena here, either, who also had a great showing. Is anyone still claiming he can't wrestle? The finishing sequence in particular was fantastic and I surely hope these two meet again down the line hopefully with a world title at stake (and no, Elimination Chamber doesn't count).
The Wyatt Family def. Sin Cara and Los Matadores
It was obvious from the get-go that this would be a glorified squash match, so it was successful in that sense of giving The Wyatt Family more momentum. Sin Cara and Los Matadores sold well for their offense and can absorb the loss since their acts have no meaning at the moment. I enjoyed the encounter between these two trios on last week's edition of WWE Main Event more since it was given more time, but that goes without saying.
Jey Uso def. WWE Tag Team Champion Billy Gunn
Again, I am glad WWE took the time to actually provide some hype for a match at Elimination Chamber, but the crowd couldn't have cared less. The match was fine for what it was, but The Usos shine better in tag team competition and Jey just couldn't get a good match out of him. I like that The Usos are back in tag team title contention and will be challenging for the straps at Elimination Chamber, but I hope WWE waits to put the belts on them until WrestleMania where the moment would be bigger.
Sheamus def. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton by Disqualification (Non-title)
Although both Sheamus and Orton are great workers, they just don't have good in-ring chemistry together. The first portion of this match, while well-wrestled, was painfully boring, though the crowd wasn't completely dead for it. Before it could get out of first gear, it ended abruptly with The Shield interference, which was random. The DQ finish prevented Orton from taking another pinfall loss, but could he possibly look any weaker right now after having loss five of his last six matches? The post-match brawl involving The Shield, The Wyatt Family and the Elimination Chamber participants was cool, but it felt forced. The physical interaction between the two stables was kept brief before the show went off the air, but the brawling between the six competitors in the Chamber felt out of place.
WWE had a lot of work to do going into this show in regards to building up the Elimination Chamber event, and I would certainly say they succeeded. Could they have done a better job? Yeah, but they managed to hype most of matches one way or another. The only advertised match that didn't receive much focus was Alberto Del Rio vs. Batista, which was mentioned backstage for all of ten seconds. Aside from that, the Christian vs. Bryan and Cena vs. Cesaro matches were both gems and highlights of what was a solid episode of Raw. I was surprised that the WWE Network wasn't as heavily hyped as I thought it was going to be, but perhaps that comes Sunday at the pay-per-view.
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