While the Elimination Chamber PPV didn’t quite deliver in terms of the surprise element, we did see some solid in – ring action. From the chamber match for the RAW Women’s Championship, to the encounter between Asuka and Nia Jax, and finally the men’s chamber match, there wasn’t dearth in quality. However, one aspect where WWE did fail to live up to, is the way they booked the finishes.
Roman Reigns won the chamber match, and will now face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. Reigns was the odds – on favourite to win the match at Elimination Chamber, and will challenge Brock for the Universal title. Asuka won her match against Jax, while Alexa Bliss retained her RAW Women’s Championship in the first chamber match of the evening.
However, the PPV could’ve been booked better, had WWE done these five things differently.
#5 Swerves and unexpected finishes
The beauty of professional wrestling lies in the mystery. Just like a soap opera, or your favourite TV show, knowing what can happen beforehand takes away the intrigue and the interest. Going into Elimination Chamber, the fans inherently expected a few things – Roman Reigns’ win, Alexa Bliss walking out with the title, and Ronda Rousey being confronted by Stephanie McMahon and Triple H.
However, the way in which WWE went through the motions, and did not put in any thought as to how they could make the event more intriguing took the interest out of the event. You did not have to be an expert to guess who’d be walking out of the PPV with the victory, but the writers could’ve done a better job in making it a watchable PPV.
The entire event fell flat in the end, and while the women’s chamber match delivered in terms of the quality, it wasn’t the greatest of shows by any stretch of imagination.
#4 WWE’s lackadaisical booking for Ronda Rousey
The WWE writers came for some criticism couple of weeks ago, when WWE went ahead with a “top 10” list to further the feud between Mahal, Roode and Orton. The fans questioned why the creative team couldn’t come up with a better excuse to book the feud, instead of the three Superstars bickering over some made up list.
However, with the Ronda Rousey segment at the Elimination Chamber, WWE seemed to have done worse. Firstly, WWE announced Ronda’s signing last month, and at Elimination Chamber, they kept referring to the contract as a “WWE contract”, rather than a RAW exclusive contract. This could’ve been done deliberately, so as to shuffle Ronda between SmackDown Live and RAW.
The entire angle seemed unrehearsed and very discombobulated. Kurt ousting Stephanie and Triple H was, once again, an amateurish way to book the tag team match at WrestleMania.
#3 More matches on the main card
During the entire event, including the kick – off show, only six bouts were announced on the card. While it is understandable, considering the fact that WWE had also booked two Elimination Chamber matches, a lot of promos had to be aired to fill the void, while WWE stalled the event with overbooked segments.
If we take the pro wrestling aspect out of WWE, we’re left with unimaginative, uncompelling storytelling, which, to be brutally honest, hasn’t been WWE’s strong suit for the past few years. Being the final RAW exclusive PPV before WrestleMania, WWE could’ve – and should’ve done much more with the Elimination Chamber PPV.
#2 No love for the cruiserweights
Let’s just get the cat out of the bag – the cruiserweight division is in a mess, and the Superstars need WWE’s support more than any other time. With the mass exodus of former champions, the division is going through a crisis. While a new champion will be crowned at WrestleMania, WWE should have given the cruiserweights the spotlight at the Elimination Chamber PPV.
The kick off show involved just one tag team match, and WWE could’ve booked another bout involving the 205 Live Superstars. While 205 Live itself isn’t even comparable to RAW or SmackDown Live in terms of the numbers it draws, giving them more exposure during a PPV would’ve been the best thing to do.
#1 The Roman Reigns fiasco, and how WWE could’ve avoided repeating their mistakes
Roman Reigns was the odds – on favourite to win the chamber match. For the past couple of years, Roman has been involved in high profile matches at WrestleMania. Yet, for obvious reasons, the Superstar hasn’t been able to break the proverbial glass ceiling, and become the face of the company like WWE would’ve wanted.
In spite of Reigns beating Triple H to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and then defeating The Undertaker in the previous two editions of WrestleMania, he hasn’t gotten over the way WWE would’ve wanted. Putting him in the main event of WrestleMania yet again might not go down too well with the WWE fans.
Instead, WWE could’ve booked the Elimination Chamber match in a more subtle manner, and still involve Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania. Booking a triple threat would’ve been the ideal scenario, thus bringing Braun Strowman into the fray, and adding more intrigue to the WrestleMania main event.