Roman Reigns def. Bray Wyatt in an Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match
The brief promos both guys cut before the bout discussing why they needed to win this match was a nice touch, though it never put the end result in doubt for me (even when Wyatt connected with Sister Abigail). Obviously, these two have had countless clashes over the years and therefore are extremely familiar with each other, so the chemistry was there and it was an enjoyable outing on the whole. Look for The Big Dog to emerge victorious in the Chamber match and punch his ticket to WrestleMania 34 to face Universal Champion Brock Lesnar.
The Balor Club def. The Revival
I appreciated Finn Balor filling in for Luke Gallows here because it made it feel fresher than the last two matches Gallows and Karl Anderson have had against The Revival in recent weeks. That said, this was filler at its finest. Don't get me wrong, it was a good match while it lasted, but it's clear WWE is having The Balor Club tread water until they come up with something meaningful for them to do.
Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali def. Drew Gulak and Tony Nese
I'm well-aware that this wasn't much different than any other Cruiserweight match we've seen on Raw over the last year and a half, but it was fun for what it was. Plus, it should be noted that WWE seems to be taking 205 Live more seriously now that we have a tournament to crown a new Cruiserweight Champion heading into WrestleMania 34 and Drake Maverick as the general manager of the program. Speaking of whom, he did well on commentary here and it was cool that Michael Cole briefly brought up how he previously known as Rockstar Spud.
Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss Confronted Raw General Manager Kurt Angle
Bliss' character is a natural complainer, so it was logical for her to whine about having to defend her title inside the Elimination Chamber. That being said, she made an excellent point about her Chamber title defense and Lesnar not having to defend his Universal title at the pay-per-view. Angle never actually did explain himself aside from saying it was what the fans wanted to see, but whatever. By the way, Angle announced the Chamber combatants will include Bayley, Sasha Banks, Mickie James, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, and that Asuka will face Nia Jax on that same show.
Asuka def. Bayley
While this wasn't nearly as hard-hitting or as physical as Asuka vs. Banks from last week (which might be a good thing because they were fairly reckless in that matchup), this was a very entertaining encounter. You had to know Bayley wasn't winning, mind you, but that one really close nearfall she scored toward the end was well done because it looked like she nearly had her beat. I assume WWE is running through these money matches on Raw with Asuka because she'll be moving to SmackDown Live soon to contend for Charlotte Flair's SmackDown Women's Championship.
Intercontinental Champion The Miz def. Apollo Crews in an Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match (Non-title)
They really couldn't come up with anyone better for Miz to qualify against than Crews? I realize he and Titus O'Neil have picked up a few upset victories over the past month, but no one saw him as a potential threat to Miz here, no matter how talented he may be. If nothing else, this was a well-wrestled affair with the right outcome. Will Miz and Braun Strowman colliding inside the Elimination Chamber lead to them battling for the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania as has been rumored?
Raw Tag Team Champions Sheamus and Cesaro def. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns by Disqualification
I complain quite a bit about how many matches we've seen Rollins have against The Bar since the summer (the summer!!), but it's hard to argue that their matches are always above-average. This was another quality contest from the four men involved, and I liked Jason Jordan's involvement. I was surprised Reigns scored as much offense as he did in this bout considering he was in action earlier in the evening and I figured he would eat the pinfall because he'd have an out for losing. I typically hate non-finishes like the one we witnessed here, but this was creative in keeping the belts on The Bar and further teasing tension between Jordan and Rollins.
Nia Jax def. Vanessa Floyd
Jax shines in squash matches like this one, and it was smart to have this be as short and as sweet as possible with Jax asserting her dominance over the unknown enhancement talent and winning with ease. Afterward, she cut a decent promo about putting Asuka on notice ahead of Elimination Chamber. Needless to say, Jax has no chance in hell of ending Asuka's undefeated streak, but I appreciate the attempt to build up that bout, nonetheless.
Mickie James def. Sonya Deville
Absolution was hot for about a month or two, but they have cooled off considerably lately. Perhaps it's because the focus is on almost everyone else in the division or the moment, or the fact that Paige is probably never going to wrestle again in WWE due to not being medically cleared, but they are hardly a dominant force anymore, similar to SmackDown's Riott Squad. This helped hype the women's Chamber match, but other than that, it was pretty pointless. And no, Bliss didn't turn face when she saved James from Absolution; she's merely making "friends" before her upcoming title defense where the odds will be stacked against her.
Elias def. John Cena and Braun Strowman in a Triple Threat Match to Earn the Right to Enter Last in the Elimination Chamber Match
All too often do we get Triple Threat/multi-man matches for no real reason, so it was great that there were actual stakes in this main event with the winner earning the right to enter last in the men's Chamber match. This wasn't your standard Triple Threat matchup early on because Cena and Elias worked together to take out Strowman, which was smart. Elias pinning Cena was huge and was brilliant booking because he won't be the last man standing in the Chamber, so he might as well enter last and play his guitar in the meantime (imagine the amazing visual). Furthermore, Strowman closed out the night anyway by laying out both men, so he lost nothing in defeat.
WWE is hyping the hell out of Elimination Chamber at this point and the pay-per-view isn't for another three weeks! That's impressive, because usually the company waits until the very last minute to build excitement for their events. The women were all over this episode, so that was a refreshing change of pace as well. Throw in the progression of the Rollins-Jordan storyline and minimal filler and you have yourself a perfectly solid edition of Raw.
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