Daniel Bryan v Drew Gulak: It’s always hard to consider how much I should judge PPVs on my own opinion or if I should try to have an air of objectivity. In the end I usually just embrace subjectivity as no matter what, some of it will slip in. So when I say I normally dislike slow technical matches, this was no exception. There were some solid reversals and counters, but watching a match that is 50% mat work is just (almost) never going to do it for me. There could have been a more interesting story built up here with the idea that Gulak knew Bryan’s weaknesses, but there was no build to it and Bryan’s fingers regaining feeling just wasn’t enough to sell me on anything.
I know some people like this kinda match, and looking at Twitter, people really loved it. And there were one or two points that blew my mind, such as that suplex. But I just couldn’t get into it.
Andrade v Humberto Carrillo: Honestly, the first third of the match was just… boring. Most of it was Andrade simply getting most hits off. However, thankfully that changed once Humberto was tossed outside of the ring and came back with a vengeance. Suddenly both men were trading hits, and I got invested fast.
Zelena always is so much fun as well. She’s one of the few people I really enjoy watching ringside. I was glad that the concrete spot was recognized but wasn’t actually utilized — that bit is growing a tad tiresome. Also I know that people complain about surprise roll ups but the back and forth of that sequence was a good use of it. Loved this match.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber: I’m super happy Lucha House Party is getting some good air time. I hope they get pushed because they’ve been jobbing for too long and they’re worth pushing. The new day/Lucha House Party sequence toward the beginning was amazing. I really hope that this may get them some traction to put themselves in a position where they might be able to at least win a match or two.
I was a bit disappointed with the selection for the last three teams. I would have liked to see Heavy Machinery got a pin fall on one of those three teams before getting eliminated but I do think it was good that Miz/Morrison retained. And as much as I would have wished Heavy Machinery had made it into the last three, the final three teams we did get put on a good show. My main problem with the match was that the Otis/Ziggler feud has been building but we only got about five minutes of it during the match. It could have gone on a good five minutes longer. In the end though, it was an extremely good match. I enjoyed it a lot.
Aleister Black v AJ Styles: I was starting to enjoy the match without any weapons and things were just getting interesting when of course, weapons come out. Honestly, I don’t want weapons in Aleister Black matches. His quick, tactical strikes are some of the most engaging wrestling I’ve seen, so when the weapons came out it snapped me out of it and made me remember :oh yeah, its no DQ.”
The OC must have forgotten about this as well, because they were doing absolutely nothing. AJ had the momentum for most the match, if at ANY time the other two had run in there and helped out it would have been a quick win. But instead they didn’t and the match just kinda went on. What should have been a fast paced striking match quickly began to get slower and slower.
The Undertaker coming in at the end really undermined Aleister claiming he could take on all three of them. I honestly think it would have been better if Aleister had failed against all three and had lost the match, than get saved by the Deus Ex Machina that is Undertaker. In short, the match was good overall if a bit long, but the end was terrible.
Street Profits v Seth Rollins & Murphy: There is always a match that I don’t pay attention to through no fault of its own, just because it falls when I need a break. So this match is the one I had to go back and rewatch as I was making breakfast today. But I’m glad it was this match.
It had some great spots throughou,=t, but it was never an intense back and forth and didn’t feel like a match that I had to be glued to. It was honestly just sort of a normal weekly Raw match. The story of the match was pretty good — Murphy asking “what do I do” was brilliant, and KO was the fun cherry on top for the match. It didn’t really feel like new ground for the feud though, which is a bit frustrating. However, overall it was a solid fun match.
Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro v Braun Strowman: I like Sami, I like Nakamura, I like Cesaro, but I am tired of their little faction. I am tired of them and Braun Strowman feuding. I have a very bad feeling that this feud will continue to WrestleMania.
I like the idea of Sami having the belt, I really do. It’s been roughly five years since he’s held a belt and he hasn’t won a match for roughly a year. But the IC Title really feels like it means nothing. That’s a problem with midcard titles in general, but this one in particular has just been extremely lackluster recently. I would have liked if it had been in a better state before Sami had gotten it.
The match itself was just not that fun to watch. A lot of people beating on Braun is something we see a lot in multi-man matches, like Rumbles or MITB matches. And as I said, this feud has been going on for a while in which the three of Sami’s faction are already interfering with the match anyway, so we have seen Braun v all three of them multiple times now.
Women’s Elimination Chamber: It was a squash match. It was purely to establish Shayna. Which I have no issue with honestly, but there could have been a better way to do this. Lets start from the beginning.
First off, I don’t know why the Riott Squad were not all out at the same time. That seemed like the obvious thing to do and would have been more interesting. It also would have established their breakup more. That hasn’t been fleshed out at all and this could have helped with that. But instead they had Shayna come out before Liv.
The first segment was slow and just kinda plodded along. Logan came out and it started picking up. We then got Shayna who then proceeded to destroy the other three in the ring and then stand around for way too long until Liv came out, which was followed by much more standing around. You could have achieved the same thing if Liv went before Shayna. Shayna could have still destroyed everyone and you could have had a minute of tension building of Asuka and Baszler staring at each other. But instead it turned into something like eight minutes of standing around.
The real match began when Asuka got out there and despite how short it was I enjoyed it. The two had some good chemistry from what I could tell in the brief five minutes. This portion needed to go a bit longer, if only in order to make the main event a little more interesting than it had been up this point.
I’m fine with WWE using the Elimination Chamber as a squash match — complete blow outs for big events like this happen in real sports all the time. But you can still build around that and negate that effect by booking within the match itself differently and trading spots on the card with the tag team match. I get they wanted the last match to be Shayna and that last shot be of her, but you could have achieved something similar by having her cut a promo at the very end or something.
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