By: Frank Hyden
RAW this week featured a big announcement for the Elimination Chamber PPV. Let’s get to the rundown.
GOOD- Adam Pearce announces the main event for Elimination Chamber
We open with Adam Pearce in the ring. Shane McMahon makes his entrance, then Pearce announces that WWE Champion Drew McIntyre will defend his belt in the Elimination Chamber match against Randy Orton, Sheamus, AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, and The Miz. Then Shane leaves, well, thanks for coming I guess. Styles then comes out and there’s a funny moment real quick where he’s talking to Pearce and saying he did a good job with the Chamber match then leans in saying, “I got something to tell you, just between you and me. I always thought you were a dumbass.” with the mic still pretty much in his face. I thought that was pretty funny myself, it perfectly fits AJ. Then we move to…
GOOD- AJ Styles beat Jeff Hardy
They went back and forth, with Hardy selling his injured knee that’s plagued him in the last several months. That’s some good long-term selling. Style made Hardy tap out to the Calf Crusher.
GOOD/BAD- The New Day beat Retribution
The BAD for this is because Retribution should have won the match. The New Day can still get heat with their goofy antics and all that, whereas Retribution still need to be built up. The match was good and I liked it, but the true highlight was Mustafa Ali on commentary. He’s doing such a great job in this role, that’s another reason the group deserves better. His ranting was excellent here.
GOOD- Lacey Evans beat Charlotte Flair by DQ
Ric Flair and Evans came out and cut a promo saying their relationship is purely about wrestling. Charlotte then interrupted and they argued a bit before having a match. Charlotte largely controlled the match, as usual, with Lacey’s spots coming after a Ric distraction. Charlotte sold her shoulder getting injured after Evans threw her into the ring steps. Ric interjected a few more times, causing Charlotte to lose her cool and get DQ’d attacking Lacey in the corner. Lacey will challenge RAW Women’s Champion Asuka at Elimination Chamber.
GOOD- Edge announces he’ll wait a few weeks to decide who to challenge
Edge said he’ll wait until after Elimination Chamber to decide who to challenge at WrestleMania. I’ll take it, at least we won’t have to listen to the announcers yelling about “Will Edge announce his plans tonight!” every show for the next few weeks.
GOOD- Damian Priest beat Angel Garza
Bad Bunny was at ringside, as were Miz and John Morrison. The match was fine, and they’re clearly setting up Priest and Bunny to beat Miz and Morrison at WrestleMania. That’s fine, I just would rather not see Garza in this scrub role. I guess it’s better to not being on RAW at all, though.
GOOD- Keith Lee beat Riddle, Bobby Lashley lays them both out
I liked this match because both guys can go. Lee won with the Spirit Bomb before U.S. Champion Bobby Lashley came out and destroyed them both. They announced later that Lee, Riddle, and Lashley will square off in a 3-way match at Elimination Chamber.
GOOD- Lana beat Nia Jax in a Tables Match
Jax showed off her power but Lana was able to move when Jax went for a legdrop on the apron. Jax started grabbing her butt and I could swear I hear heard yelling “My hole!” (I even tweeted that out) before Lana shoved her into a tables propped up against the black barrier. Shayna Baszler attacked Lana but Naomi jumped in and we got a match between them.
GOOD- Naomi beat Shayna Baszler
This wasn’t very long, and they’re obviously trying to give Lana and Naomi some steam before they lose to Jax and Baszler in the title shot they get for winning last week. Naomi won in a quick match.
BAD/GOOD- Randy Orton beat Drew McIntyre by DQ
The difference between this and the Flair vs. Evans match from before is that this match was built up all evening and it’s in the main event slot. Those two things mean that you shouldn’t have this kind of bullshit in it. This was a waste of time. The Lana vs. Nia Jax match would have been a better main event. The Lee vs. Riddle match with post-match beatdown by Lashley would have been a great main event. That should have been the main event, and this illustrates one of WWE’s biggest flaws. They would rather have a match we’ve seen a dozen times, and one that ends in a bullshit DQ, rather than a great main event all because it has the champion in it. What the hell? This is one the reasons why ratings are down, things are too predictable. It seems like WWE is obsessed with having either McIntyre or Orton in the main event. It’s very rare that one of those guys isn’t involved in the main event in some way. This is one of those times where they need to take a page from AEW’s playbook and have something else in the main event slot. Nobody can tell me that Lee vs. Riddle with the Lashley post-match beatdown wouldn’t have been a better main event.
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