This year’s Elimination Chamber PPV is RAW branded and has not one, but two, historic firsts. It is also the final single-branded RAW PPV before they go back to dual branding after WrestleMania. We’ve got the first-ever women’s Elimination Chamber match, and the first time seven men have entered the chamber. In addition, Ronda Rousey will sign her official RAW contract.

I’m Amanda and I’m here to walk you through Elimination Chamber from Kickoff to RAW Talk.

Kickoff Show

Renee Young was joined by Booker T, Peter Rosenberg, and David Otunga on the Kickoff panel, with Charly Caruso doing the backstage work.

Caruso mentioned that Paul Heyman was in the building, before moving into talking about Ronda Rousey. the seeds are planted, but is it a false trail? Heyman later turned up on the Kickoff panel to say that the winner would go face to face with Lesnar on tomorrow’s RAW.

The panel interviewed Paige. She talked about the women’s chamber match, and about Ronda Rousey’s arrival. She said it’s great that someone of Rousey’s calibre wants to join the roster, but in UFC they fight maybe twice a year and in WWE it’s 100x that, so it’ll be interesting to see if she can hack it.

There was the usual range of backstage interviews, promos and hype videos. The Social Media Lounge was with Kurt Angle. He was asked about Jason Jordan – due back after WrestleMania. Who was going to win the chamber matches – he named Strowman, Reigns, Rollins and Cena, and Bliss for the women. Whether Cena can make it to WrestleMania if he doesn’t win tonight – yes. Who would have the best match with Lesnar – Strowman, Reigns or Rollins. How does he feel about Rousey’s signing – he’s happy to have her.

Oh, and there was a match.

Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs The Miztourage

This match happened because, well, because they didn’t have a kickoff show match I guess.

It was fine. Both teams are better than their current run of storylines give them credit for. Gallows and Anderson especially deserve better. It was filler, and it felt like it. They all got to look decent, so it wasn’t a wasted chance, it was just hard to invest.

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The Miztourage nearly got the win when they double-teamed Anderson behind the ref’s back, but he kicked out. Curtis Axel got crotched in the corner when Dallas was pushed into the ropes. Bo Dallas got kicked out of the ring by Luke Gallows. Gallows and Anderson picked up Curtis Axel and delivered the Magic Killer for the win.

The Revival was interviewed backstage about the match they’d just watched and belittled the talent of both teams.

Elimination Chamber 2018

The chamber was down for the first match of the night, and the women’s Elimination Chamber match started the show.

Alexa Bliss vs Sasha Banks vs Bayley vs Mickie James vs Sonya Deville vs Mandy Rose – Elimination Chamber match for the RAW Women’s Championship

A reminder of the rules – Two women start, with the rest in pods. One pod opens every five minutes. When a competitor is eliminated by pinfall or submission they leave the chamber. Last woman standing wins.

The first four out, and therefore locked in the pods, were Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks, Mickie James, and Mandy Rose. So, starting things off were Sonya Deville and Bayley. Absolution made a big show of solidarity before the match started. Bayley was the first to try to climb the chamber after Deville threw her at it. Sonya Deville was the first one to get a face full of the steel chain wall. The steel floor of the chamber was covered, but it still looked tough to land on.

Mandy Rose was the first person released, making it Absolution against Bayley. Deville tackled Bayley to the mats covering the steel, then together Rose and Deville smashed her into the structure. After that, they just beat Bayley up until Sasha Banks came in.

Banks looked to be in her element bouncing Absolution off things while Bayley recovered a bit. The women did an incredible job of utilising the structure throughout the match. Mandy Rose was the first to be eliminated, via the Bank Statement. Bayley stopped Deville breaking it up.

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Mickie James climbed onto a pod and jumped off onto Sonya Deville. Deville became the second person eliminated. Bayley pinned Mickie James moments later with a Bayley to belly. James was stunned to be eliminated and exchanged a look with Bliss on her way out. Bayley and Sasha Banks waited the few remaining seconds for Alexa Bliss to finally enter the fight.

Bliss tried to barricade herself in the pod, then tried climbing it to stay away. She got onto a pod, and Banks and Bayley climbed up to join her. Except, when Bayley got to the top, Sasha Banks kicked her to the floor.

With that alliance gone it was a good three on three scrap with everyone hating each other. Bayley was eventually eliminated by Alexa Bliss via roll-up after Banks did most of the beating.

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After some more exceptional work from Bliss and Banks, including a Twisted Bliss from the top of a pod, Alexa Bliss pinned Sasha Banks to retain the RAW Women’s Championship. Great match, the women nailed it.

Bliss cried in the post-match interview and got ‘you deserve it’ chants. The face turn looked complete. She did the whole dare to dream and dream big spiel, then dashed it all by telling the crowd that none of them will ever accomplish their dreams. She proved she’s the best. There’s only one goddess in WWE.

The Bar vs Titus Worldwide – RAW Tag Team Championship match

There were some pre-match shenanigans with Titus Worldwide attacking the champs, but they got started eventually.

O’Neil and Apollo have been lucky with their wins over Sheamus and Cesaro in recent weeks. The Bar looked to prove that to them. For the most part, that’s exactly what they did.

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Apollo is very good. He got to show some of that off in the brief but spirited, fightback he and O’Neil had. He got caught out when he didn’t see that Cesaro had tagged in. Cesaro took his legs out, and one quick double team move later Apollo was pinned and The Bar retained the titles.

Asuka vs Nia Jax – If Nia Jax wins she is added to Asuka’s WrestleMania match

It would have been nice to see a bit more from this match, it was too short. Alexa Bliss was shown watching as Asuka still hasn’t chosen her opponent for WrestleMania.

It was all stiff kicks, big strikes and Power moves. Asuka survived being landed on by Jax from a vertical suplex, and a Samoan drop. Nia Jax broke the armbar by picking Asuka up and ramming her into the corner.

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Asuka pinned Nia Jax by rolling her up after reversing Jax’ powerbomb attempt.

After the match, Jax attacked Asuka and steamrollered her through the barricade. Asuka had to be helped to the back by officials. Bliss was shown laughing backstage and, when Renee Young said it looks like she’ll face Asuka at WrestleMania, said ‘no-one is ready for Alexa’.

Matt Hardy vs Bray Wyatt

Matt Hardy came out first, but after the blackout for Bray Wyatt’s arrival Hardy had vanished, just his coat was in the middle of the ring. He sang the fade away and classify yourself as obsolete song while Wyatt looked for him, then jumped off the steps onto him while he was looking under the ring. Then the match finally started.

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The match was so exciting that the crowd started throwing a beach ball around and a ‘we want beach ball’ chant broke out. It deserved better than that, but there was very little investment until almost the end, with the exception of a few ‘delete’ chants. Commentary trying to cover it up was hilarious.

Matt Hardy pinned Bray Wyatt with a Twist of Fate.

Ronda Rousey Contract Signing

Kurt Angle, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H all came out for the signing. Triple H went on a bit in the introduction, talking Rousey up. After an eternity, they brought her out.

Rousey got a very mixed reaction, loud boos and ‘Ronda Rousey’ chants. She talked about Roddy Piper being her inspiration, then finished by saying she wants to earn everyone’s respect in the ring.

Triple H made it clear that Rousey had asked for no special treatment. All she’d requested was an invite to WrestleMania, and he was giving her a non-title match there.

She was about to sign when she noticed something wrong with Angle and asked him about it. He told her that Stephanie McMahon and Triple H wanted her to sign so they could manipulate her, payback for humiliating them at WrestleMania 31. He said Triple H had told him ‘three years in the making, now we own the b**ch’. Triple H tried to pass it off as Angle having the flu and escorted him from the ring.

McMahon said Rousey did embarrass them, but she impressed them more. As Angle got to the top of the ramp he quoted McMahon as saying Rousey was a has been and even she could take her. Triple H got back to the ring in time to stop Rousey decking her, and she squared up to him.

She put Triple H through the signing table, Stephanie McMahon slapped her and, as the crowd chanted ‘you f***ed up’ McMahon rolled out of the ring. Rousey signed the contract and threw the clipboard onto Triple H.

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Elias vs Seth Rollins vs Roman Reigns vs The Miz vs Braun Strowman vs John Cena vs Finn Balor – Elimination Chamber match to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania

Elias sang a song in the chamber before they put him in the pod. He won the right to be the last to enter the chamber. Braun Strowman, John Cena,  and Roman Reigns took the other pods.

With this being the first seven-man chamber match, three men started us off. We knew The Miz was one of them because he lost the match against Cena to determine the first entrant, which left Seth Rollin and Finn Balor as the other two.

The Miz started by trying to make alliances with both Rollins and Balor, They teamed up on Miz instead, then immediately went for each other. Nice start, but there were no eliminations when the first pod opened.

John Cena was in first, he and Rollins squared off with trash-talk and slaps. Cena hit a double Five Knuckle Shuffle on Rollins and Miz and went for a double AA on Balor and Rollins, but they got away. Rollins superplexed Miz, Cena superplexed Balor, and they were all down on the canvas when the next pod opened.

Roman Reigns was left standing in the ring knocking people down as they got up. He left Rollins until last and they were still talking when Miz attacked Reigns from behind. Miz tried to get the crowd to pick who he delivered the It Kicks to, then kicked everyone. There were still no eliminations by the time Braun Strowman came in.

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Rollins and Cena teamed up to suplex Strowman and took a double suplex instead. Strowman hit Roman Reigns with Finn Balor. Miz ran away and climbed a pod, Strowman followed and threw him off it onto everyone else. Rollins got thrown from the ring into the side of the chamber.

Miz was eliminated after a Strowman running powerslam.

By the time Elias came in no-one was standing except Braun Strowman. When the pod opened, Elias just stayed in it. The other four men beat Strowman down together and did a modified Shield Powerbomb with Reigns and Cena doing the slamming. Strowman kicked out. He survived an AA, a spear, and Stomp and a Coup de Grace, they got him down but no-one covered him. Elias finally came in and tried to pin everyone in turn except Strowman who was still down outside the ring. They all kicked out.

Elias was next eliminated, via the running powerslam from Strowman. He was followed soon after by John Cena, also from a Braun Strowman powerslam. It was Balor’s turn to take everyone down next until he also took a running powerslam from Strowman and was pinned.

Down to Rollins, Reigns and Strowman and there was a fistbump between the Shield brothers before they went for Braun Strowman. They double-teamed Strowman until he was down, then Rollins went for Reigns. He hit a bucklebomb, Reigns rebounded into the superman punch, and they were both down.

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Rollins and Strowman climbed the cage while Reigns was down. Reigns pulled Strowman off the cage for a Samoan drop, and Rollins followed up with a frog splash on Strowman from the top of the pod. Strowman kicked out. Reigns took a Strowman dropkick, Rollins dished out two dropkicks, but Strowman caught him and a powerslam later we were down to Strowman and Reigns.

Reigns put Strowman through a pod, Superman punched him when he staggered out, and again in the ring, then again, and hit two spears to finally pin Braun Strowman.

Braun Strowman eliminated everyone but Reigns, which gives him the record for most eliminations in a chamber match.

Post-match, Strowman hit Reigns with two running powerslams and threw him through a pod.

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RAW sent singled branded PPVs out with a bang. SmackDown has a lot to do to make Fastlane a fraction as good. The chamber matches were both great. The contract signing segment was more fun than expected. And the undercard was dragged from ok-ish to decent by the Nia Jax versus Asuka match. Looking forward to seeing how it all plays out on RAW, and I’ll be recapping that for you too.