By: Jamie Henry –
We begin last night’s WWE Raw (Feb. 5th) at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA with a Bray Wyatt promo, who will face off with Roman Reigns. He mentions how at last year’s Elimination Chamber, he had won the WWE Championship and how this year, he’ll be on another stepping stone to earning the championship once more. We then cut to Reigns, whose cutting his own promo about how he beat Lesnar once and can do it again. Both of the promos were over with the crowd, who does turn on Reigns later on, unfortunately, but Reigns’ promo was a favorite, as the passion and anger within the man was palpable. The two come out for their match – a qualifying match to see who enters in the Elimination Chamber. The match has its back and forth moments, and “this is awesome” chants, which is never surprising as Reigns and Wyatt always manage to pull magic out of one another. With a few close calls between both man, Reigns is the eventual victor, looking between the Elimination Chamber and Wrestlemania sign while he makes his way backstage. Recovering in the ring, Wyatt is then attacked by Matt Hardy.
Cue to Jason Jordan and Seth Rollins backstage. The past few weeks have seen Jordan attempting to team up with Rollins but making things worse. Their segments have been pure genius as of late, but with Jordan facing rumors of a serious neck injury, he hasn’t been wrestling much, unfortunately. Rollins asks if he’s truly well enough to wrestle and Jordan confirms that he is, allowing Rollins to have some excitement over the chance of regaining the tag titles from Cesaro and Sheamus, which they lost at the Rumble.
We then receive a match of The Revival vs The Balor Club – in this case, Karl Anderson and Finn Balor. The two teams have a few spots but Anderson and Balor win, with some cheers from the crowd, mainly for Balor’s status as an independent favorite.
After their match, we’re then taken backstage to Sasha Banks re-watching her match with Asuka from the previous week. We see Bayley arriving and sitting next to her, and the two have a heated conversation about Banks eliminating Bayley from the Rumble and then Banks facing Asuka. The two argue after Bayley asks if Banks can share her tips on how to topple Asuka, but Banks refuses. Banks asks if Bayley thinks she can beat Asuka, Bayley responds with a savage barb towards Sasha, saying she beat her. ““Well I’m good enough to beat you. And if you’re good enough to beat Asuka, so am I,” Bayley said in what was probably the greatest line she’s ever uttered, and with hints towards Sasha turning heel for who knows how long, it was nice to see Bayley get some attitude in towards her.
After that promo we get a match for the cruiserweights – Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander vs Drew Gulak and Tony Nese. The match was good, and the crowd wasn’t in it until near the end like they tend to be with cruiserweight matches, with Alexander taking the win by pinning Gulak.
After the match we’re taken to Alexa Bliss and Kurt Angle talking backstage before Kurt makes his way to the ring, so he can make the announcement over which women are taking place in the first ever women’s elimination chamber match. He announces Bayley, Mandy Rose, Mickie James, Sonya Deville and Sasha Banks as the women who Alexa will have to defend her title against in the chamber. Angle also says that Nia will face Asuka at Elimination Chamber, and if Nia wins, the match at Mania becomes Asuka vs Nia vs the champion of Asuka’s choosing. At this point, Alexa Bliss comes out and questions Angle’s priorities as a general manager, in what, as a woman, I must believe as one of the greatest promos yet. She asks why Lesnar gets to sit at home and relax during the match, when she has to wrestle, especially since the “women’s revolution” is meant to have the women be equal to the men. And when Angle brings it back to Bliss not defending her title since October of 2017 (on televised events, at least) Alexa mentions how it’s him that books the matches. She then goes on to say one great line, “Do you value Brock Lesnar more than you value me,” which, as a woman, was great to see a woman bring forth the issues all other woman fans have with recent bookings.
After that, we had Asuka vs Bayley. While Asuka won after a close call for Bayley, the match was well done as we were able to see Bayley’s harder side, especially when she threw Asuka into the barricade. It sets the tone well for the elimination chamber, especially as many people believe Bayley cannot move on from the good-getter character she has.
We were then given another elimination chamber qualifying match in the form of Apollo Crews vs The Miz. The Miz came out first to gloat about his success over Reigns at the Rumble and the previous week, and how he will go to Mania and win the championship despite being intercontinental champion. He won this match, which the crowd and myself, were quite behind.
Our next match is Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan vs Cesaro and Sheamus for the championships. Before the match begins, Rollins comes up on Jordan, Angle and a doctor and Jordan admits that he is unable to wrestle. Rollins is devastated as this was the last opportunity Angle was giving him to become tag team champion once more and Angle must forfeit the match if Jordan cannot wrestle. Before that can truly happen though, Roman Reigns comes to stand next to Rollins and the two are dubbed partners, which was a nice throw back to not only their SHIELD days, but the time they were tag team champions. The match was a splendid match, as Reigns and Rollins pull the best out of one another as always and Sheamus and Cesaro are right next to them. Both teams were stunning, and the match was a hit. At one-point Jordan comes out to help Rollins and Reigns, who knows Jordan has a penchant for causing trouble, asks him to leave, telling him he’s not even cleared. Just as it was obvious that Reigns and Rollins were going to get the upperhand on ‘The Bar’, Cesaro and Sheamus leave the ring and grab their titles, ready to forfeit until Jordan comes by to stop them. Jordan, becoming angry, attacks the two, causing Reigns and Rollins to lose by disqualification and both being angry at Jordan. The match is over, a commercial occurs and when that is over, we see Jordan being yelled at by Rollins, who ends his night by stating that Jordan is a selfish SOB and that Jordan is lucky Rollins didn’t legitimately hurt him. The match and promo afterwards were stellar – and while it’s a shame Reigns and Rollins won’t be two times tag team champions, the set up for Jordan vs Rollins in the future is brilliantly done.
Our next match is Nia Jax vs an Independent Talent. The match was a normal, five-minute squash match that no one really enjoys, and Nia cut a promo on Asuka saying that when she’s done with her, Asuka’s only going to be able to wear the mask. The promo was well done and showed Nia’s improvement on the mic.
Afterwards, we had Mickie James vs Sonya Deville. The match was an alright match – a little short but still well done. Mickie took the won and Sonya’s Absolution partners, Paige and Mandy Rose, attacked Mickie after the match, until Alexa Bliss came out to save Mickie, causing some confusion as the two never got along well with one another.
Our last match was John Cena vs Elias vs Braun Strowman for a spot to come out last during the elimination chamber match. The match was well received and had numerous spots for each of the men, with Strowman ‘appearing’ as the strength. Elias was able to pin Cena, and earned the spot but Braun attacked both men afterwards, his ‘monster among men’ character coming forth.