The 2018 Elimination Chamber event is fast approaching and with just one month having past since the trailblazing Royal Rumble pay-per-view – featuring the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match – the WWE creative team will be looking to continue 2018 with more positive and progressive firsts. For the first time since the 2016 brand split, there will be two historic Elimination Chamber matches taking place live at the T-Mobile Arena this Sunday.
Firstly, there is the first ever seven-man Elimination Chamber match. Roman Reigns, The Miz, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Elias, Finn Balor and John Cena will each be competing for the opportunity to face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at Wrestlemania 34. Secondly, there is the addition of the first ever Women’s Elimination Chamber Match, featuring long-time RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss defending her championship against Sasha Banks, Bayley, Mickie James, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville.
Overshadowed, or Overreaction?
Whereas the Women’s Royal Rumble match headlined the event, there has so far been no indication that the Women’s Elimination Chamber will follow the same path. Indeed, there is a growing fear that the match will be overshadowed by its male counterpart, thanks to the added stipulation.
There is also the issue that – if the women’s match fails to headline this Sunday – it could potentially prove that the Women’s Rumble match only headlined because of the Ronda Rousey segment that followed; meaning that the prestige and historical significance was used just for the introduction of Rousey. Hopefully, this doesn’t prove to be the case, but it is most certainly a possibility. Despite this, it would also be unfair to slate the WWE for allowing the men’s match to headline, given that we are so close to Wrestlemania and the Universal Championship needs to be promoted as the flagship championship in its absence from weekly television.
So how does the WWE get around the potential problem? The easy answer is to let the women headline the pay-per-view once again; it continues the WWE’s desired progressive push and informs the audience that this isn’t just a fad, but the new normality – that women’s wrestling is to be taken seriously as a vital component of the WWE product. However, the one problem with this is that the match does not feature the talent or nostalgia that the previous pay-per-view main event had at its disposal.
Sasha Banks, Bayley and, to an extent, Alexa Bliss have enough talent and fan interest between them to headline almost any pay-per-view. Mickie James possesses the talent, but no longer holds the popularity she once did. Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose each possess bags of potential, but neither currently have what it takes to headline without Paige. There is also the fear that this main event will suffer from a worn out crowd, given that the Men’s Elimination Chamber match will surely prove hectic enough to wear out the Nevada crowd.
The likely outcome is that neither the men or women’s matches headline, but the Ronda Rousey contract signing – given the mainstream appeal – instead closes the show. Yes, it would mean a segment involving a woman closes the show, but it also means that for two straight months, the full-time women’s roster has been overshadowed by the incoming former UFC Champion and until she has featured on the main roster enough times to be considered a full-timer herself, it reeks of a publicity stunt used to promote Wrestlemania and, perhaps, even Stephanie McMahon. Therefore it is important that if a woman is indeed featured when the show goes off the air, she must be the winner of the Elimination Chamber match, not Stephanie McMahon.
Regardless of the outcome, let’s just hope for a good show. After all, Elimination Chamber is taking place live on Rusev Day!