We’re not that far removed from the Royal Rumble, but WWE rolls on with Elimination Chamber just over two weeks away! The Chamber matches themselves were filled out on Raw, and we even got a match announcement for SmackDown’s next PPV, Fastlane, in March. So what actually happened this week? As always, I’ve put the key moments together for you in this article.
Chamber competitors revealed
Going into this week’s Raw we knew John Cena, Elias and Braun Strowman were going to be in the men’s Chamber match, but all we knew on the women’s side was the Alexa Bliss would be defending her title. Well, now there’s only one spot out of the 12 to be decided. Roman Reigns defeated Bray Wyatt, and The Miz defeated Apollo Crews to earn their chance to become the number one contender to Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship. And Kurt Angle announced the women’s field as Mickie James, Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose, Bayley and Sasha Banks would be challenging Bliss inside the steel structure.
Teasing Bayley vs The Boss
So I know this has been teased before, but this was a really interesting segment that has to be setting something up for the future. It follows on from Sasha Banks eliminating Bayley from the Royal Rumble match, and Bayley asks Sasha for tips ahead of her match against Asuka, and Sasha flat out refuses. There is a blatant tension between the two that hasn’t been so overt for a while. It definitely feels like a Sasha heel turn is coming again. Banks vs Bayley at Wrestlemania? Who knows…
Jason Jordan is sent home
There was a contained story within this week’s Raw among Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan, where the duo were supposed to be getting one last match against The Bar for the Raw Tag Team Championships. Jordan ended up not being medically cleared for the match, so he was replaced by Roman Reigns. But during the match, Jordan came down to ringside, and attempted to help Rollins & Reigns – though he only succeeded in getting them disqualified. Rollins got in Jordan’s face afterwards, and Kurt Angle sent Rollins away to cool down, and sent Jordan home to recover. This would appear to be WWE’s way of writing out Jordan while he recovers from his surgery the next day, while setting up a potential Jordan vs Rollins match down the line. When that will happen, and how long Jordan will be out for, is anyone’s guess at this stage though.
Rusev Day became Glorious Outta Nowhere!
Rusev’s popularity has been building for months now, to the point he was one of the most popular people at the Royal Rumble even as a heel, where Bobby Roode has been over, but feels like he’s been a step off his NXT run. But when they got in the ring together with the United States Championship on the line, it was really, really good. I can’t remember being more impressed with a Rusev match, and it has to be Roode’s best match on the main roster. Roode retained, but as he was posing with the title he was hit by an RKO out of nowhere by Randy Orton, who then proceeded to repeat the feat on Aiden English and Rusev as well. It looks like Orton may be in the US Title mix for now based on these actions, which can only be a good thing for him and the championship right now.
Best friends, better enemies?
It was a good night of in-ring action as “best friends” Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn went one-on-one with the prize of a WWE Championship match at Fastlane on the line. We all know they’ve done battle countless times over the years, and they proved one more time that the chemistry they have is up there with anything WWE has to offer right now. They were on their way to an excellent match before the finish, which saw AJ Styles (who had been on commentary) attack both men causing a double disqualification. The match has since been changed on Twitter, but SmackDown went off the air with SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan announcing a triple threat match for Fastlane, with Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens vs AJ Styles for the WWE Championship.
Title vs Career
Johnny Gargano made his entrance to a great ovation after his incredible match with Andrade Almas a couple of weeks ago at TakeOver: Philadelphia. He got fired up, talking about how he didn’t win the NXT Championship, but he did earn the fans’ respect. He was just about to address Tomasso Ciampa when he was interrupted by Almas and Zelina Vega. Vega pointed out that Gargano can talk about respect, but he has nothing to show for it, and Almas is now 3-0 against Johnny Wrestling. After Gargano’s wife Candice LeRae came out to even the numbers game, Vega asked what they had to do to get rid of Gargano, to which he replied put the title on the line one more time. And it was set for a future edition of NXT – Andrade “Cien” Almas vs Johnny Gargano: NXT Title vs NXT Career.
And that’s one more week of WWE TV down, and one week closer to Wrestlemania! Less than 60 days now according to the graphic that appears on every single show. And if the storylines on Raw, SmackDown and NXT are anything to go by, we really are into crunch time now!