Reverse Hipster: The Smackdown Elimination Chamber 8/10 B-
This match was decent. It went a little too long; if the bookers could have shortened it up, they could have had a tighter match with more consequential spots, but it was fine as is. Part of me wonders if They were asked to make up time from the canceled Asuka match.
Three things stuck out to me from this match. They are remaining consistent, and by that, I mean they keep treating Jey Uso like a main eventer. He eliminated Ko by himself, and he eliminated Cesaro. Jey looked very strong and capable here, and I loved that. Also, I took away that Daniel Bryan is still being pushed based on the fact that he won the chamber.
Lastly, but most importantly, it was Cesaro's coming out party. Cesaro was the MVP of this match, and he really should have won this match. Cesaro was incredible. He was swinging people around and simultaneously performing submissions. Performing slams on pure strength without leverage. Quite literally flying around delivering uppercuts in the corner off the ropes and doing pull-ups on the chamber ceiling, he was everywhere. Oh, yea, and he started the match and nearly went the distance. Strap the rocket to his back and watch the swiss superman fly.
Rob: SmackDown Elimination Chamber
This match had a lot of my favorite superstars. One could maybe even argue this is a sort of modern SmackDown Six of upper-midcard talent. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that it delivered. It had great character work like Kevin Owens yelling at Sami Zayn. It had great high spots like Cesaro chasing down Sami Zayn on the wall of the chamber. It had great pure wrestling exchanges between some of the best in-ring workers today. Daniel Bryan was the most predictable choice to win this match in my opinion, but it made sense with his forever the underdog character. I would have liked to see them take a chance on Cesaro or Sami Zayn instead. At the end of the day, I think the only thing that hurt this match is that it fell just short of my high expectations for it.
Final Grade: 7/10 Pretty good
Rob:Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
This match worked more as a storyline than a match. Even though I knew it could be coming, I was infuriated that Roman Reigns didn’t wait until the end of the night to challenge Daniel Bryan. The spot at the beginning of the match had me on my feet to see if Daniel Bryan could tap out Roman Reigns. In the end, great character work from Roman Reigns prevailed, and it was the right move to keep the championship on Reigns until WrestleMania at least. The spear from Edge was exciting too. WWE has found creative ways to use no crowd to their advantage with surprising spots coming on camera at the last second. I think Roman Reigns vs. Edge is the right choice considering their chemistry in segments to this point. My only complaint is that the pyro was ready for Edge to come out and challenge Roman Reigns.
Final Grade: 8/10 Pretty Great
Reverse Hipster: Reigns vs Daniel Bryan Universal championship 10/10 A
It might seem strange to rate this match ten out of ten, but keep in mind what this match was meant to be. This match was a squash match in which Daniel Bryan was meant to have zero chance of winning and justifiably so. Nevertheless, Daniel Bryan had some fight in him, and even despite everything we had seen and everything we knew for a second, we threw logic out the window and believed Daniel Bryan could beat Roman with the yes lock.
He did not; instead, an enraged Roman defeated him harshly for daring to fight back. Then Edge showed up and speared Roman and declared that he was coming for Roman's title. However, after Daniel's performance, I would not be surprised if that match is a triple threat.
Reverse Hipster: lashley vs Riddle vs John morrison United states championship 8.3/10 B
I was not excited about Morrison getting involved, but I was wrong. He delivered with very entertaining spots. His athleticism only added to the already excellent match-up of Lashley and Riddle. For example, when he spun around after Lashley threw his head against the ring pole on the outside. This match-up was hard-hitting and creative. Also, a surprising finish I did not see coming. Riddle won the title and became the new champion, and I think he is an excellent choice to carry the belt, and he won it in a solid match.
Rob:Bobby Lashley vs. Riddle vs. John Morrison
I was immediately upset that Keith Lee would be missing from this match, but I think John Morrison was a great replacement. This match did a great job telling a unique story of an unlikely partnership blooming to try to overcome a dominant champion. In my opinion, this is the best Bobby Lashley has looked since returning to WWE. After seeing that performance, I don’t think it was the right call that Riddle won, but I can only hope they have more exciting things coming for Lashley.
Final Grade: 7/10 Pretty Good
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair
I’ve been an outspoken critic of the women’s tag division, but in ring, this hung in there with some of the best matches of the night. They had creative spots and did a good job showing the balance of teamwork and competition between Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair. It was the right decision to keep the belt on the champions. The women’s tag division should be focused on women that are actual teams and not tossed around to whatever feud is hot at the moment. I think the ending was overbooked, but I am curious to see what comes out of it. I’m not quite sure why Reginald got involved in a way that clearly distracted Banks, but maybe that’s the point. Most importantly, we still didn’t get a decision on who Belair will challenge at WrestleMania.
Final Grade: 6/10 above Average
Reverse Hipster: Banks & Bianca Bel Air vs Shanya & Nia Women's tag team championships 8/10 B-
This match was kind of difficult to rate. It was physical and competitive, and Sasha and Bianca worked well together. They had many close calls that had me thinking they could win it. For example, when Bianca slammed Shayna on her face and then she rolled over into a frog splash from Sasha.
However exciting as this match was, I hated the ending not because there was interference but because it was so stupid. It was tough for me to buy the fact that Reginald thought it was a good idea to randomly throw wine in the ring when Sasha and Bianca were about to win. I know WWE can do better because I have seen them do better-engineered interference. There are literally decades of evidence that they can do better. So, in the end, the destination hurt the journey of the match.
Reverse Hipster: Elimination Chamber 8/10 B-
This match had some fun spots, but ultimately it was very predictable. The most unpredictable part was Randy Orton being eliminated fast and first. It makes sense storyline-wise, but it was not very entertaining. I was happy to see Kofi do it, though, given their long-standing feud. Everybody delivered in this match. Styles hit a 450 splash, Jeff jumped off the cell, Kofi carried the parts of the match he was in as the underdog, and Sheamus and Drew did an excellent job of fighting each other so aggressively even if you just tuned in for the first time you would see those two going at it and you would know it was personal. Also, I think they protected Sheamus from getting pinned by Drew so they could have that match at WrestleMania. However, in the end, Drew stood tall.
Rob:Raw Elimination Chamber
Overall, I think this match was not as strong as the first Elimination Chamber match of the night, but I still think it was good. There were exciting moments like AJ Styles entering early in an attempt to eliminate everyone and Jeff Hardy doing Jeff Hardy things even now into his 40’s. I was very surprised that Kofi Kingston entered this match. I thought he was a lock to be attacked and replaced by Mustafa Ali, per the developing storyline between Retribution and New Day. Likewise, I couldn’t believe Randy Orton was eliminated in a roll up fashion with no interference from the Fiend. It feels possible that there was supposed to be involvement at some point that got written out at the last moment. Drew McIntyre, AJ Styles, and Sheamus all looked great in this match. Drew McIntyre was the predictable but correct winner in my opinion. He has been a strong champion, carrying most of Raw through an otherwise lackluster COVID era.
Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Rob:Drew McIntyre vs. The Miz
After the match, I was wondering who would challenge Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania. He has looked so strong in his run and defeated nearly everyone he’s challenged. Before I could think of an answer, Bobby Lashley attacked McIntyre, presumably frustrated from his loss earlier? Although I can’t think of a great in-depth motive for Lashley to do this, again I have to say he looked the best he has since returning to WWE. I wasn’t thinking a lot about it, so I was again surprised when The Miz came out to cash in. I had completely forgotten that he called his shot on Raw, so it was a more fun viewing experience for me. I think the Miz’s performance on Raw really got him back over for me. It reminded me how much I think he deserves another run at the WWE championship. The match was obviously nothing special, but it was a special moment, eerily reminiscent of him cashing in a decade ago, but this time it felt like he was so much more deserving. I hate to confess that it still made me feel unsatisfied in this moment. Cash ins are obviously so much more fun in front of a live crowd. Remembering that the Miz called his shot also made it feel like the surprise was gone. Lastly, it just felt to me like this wasn’t the time. Personally, I would have loved to see Drew McIntyre go into WrestleMania as champion, having led Raw for a year, and yes, I am pretending that whole Randy Orton winning for like three weeks didn’t happen. The Miz also deserves better than being a transitional champion. I am excited to see where this goes, but even though they are two of the best superstars on Raw, the Miz vs. Drew McIntyre just doesn’t feel like a WrestleMania championship match to me. Likewise, how will Bobby Lashley play into it? McIntyre vs. Lashley could be a lot of fun, but it wouldn’t sit right with me that the Miz loses the title in one month. Miz vs. someone else could be great too, but then McIntyre doesn’t get credit for the past year. I’ll be keeping my eye close to this one, but for now, congratulations to the Miz for making it back to the mountain top.
Final Grade: 5/10 Average
Reverse Hipster:Miz vs Drew Wwe Championship 8.1/10
Bobby Lashley beat the crap out of Drew before this match, so Drew came into this match with less than nothing left after enduring Lashley and the Elimination Chamber. Drew did not give up though he tried to resist, but Miz put an end to his resistance and title reign with a skull-crushing finale. The cash-in was obvious once Lashley started beating down Drew, but I still enjoyed this regardless because I love Miz, and I am happy to see him as champion again.
Reverse Hipster: Overall Grade B- 8/10
Grades from the Ppv averages out to 84/100, but I deducted 4 points because I did not like how the women were treated. The women felt like such an afterthought. The tag team championship match was just thrown on the card last minute; the build-up was subpar. The finish for the match was also subpar.
The woman did not get a single or tag team Elimination Chamber match, and I thought that was a lame choice. Also, Asuka, THE RAW'S WOMENS CHAMPION! was cut from the card, and I get it Lacey could not do her match, but you knew that Monday, and yet no plans were made to replace her. We were also told there would be an open challenge, which would be really cool, but then they scrapped that. So This ended up being a good show, not a great one.
The main event really snuck up on me. I assumed the show would go four hours, starting at 7 PM Eastern time, but the show barely went two and half hours. I think they could have done a better job balancing and timing the card, especially knowing there were two chamber matches and the Raw Women’s Championship match was cancelled. Maybe I’m glad the show ended early. The match quality felt like it slowly went downhill. Overall, I still think this delivered good chamber matches and exciting moments on the road to WrestleMania, but I don’t think this show lived up to my expectations for it. Now, I think I’m more excited to see what the fallout will be than I was watching this show.
Final Grade: 6/10 Above average
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