Elimination Chamber: Underrated (And Underutilized)

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Photo: WWE

The time between The Royal Rumble and WrestleMania is a captivating period as all the talks and discussions head directly towards the Show of Shows. It is the time when the storylines and matches are at its best and all the fans and experts eagerly wait for April to come. TV ratings suddenly rise and part-timers like Triple H and Undertaker starts looking for their wrestling attire. The excitement is at an all-time high, but it also has major drawbacks.

Photo: WWE

With the storylines building towards the April pay-per-view, other events like Elimination Chamber and Fastlane just linger through in the background, without fluttering many leaves. These events never get the attention that other B pay-per-views like TLC or Hell in a Cell gets. This is really morose for an event like the Elimination Chamber, considering that it has one of the most dangerous stipulations that WWE has to offer.

Photo: WWE

There will be discussions regarding the matches, but all would be focused on how they can use it for putting WrestleMania’s card into place. We all are pertained on seeing who Asuka will face at WrestleMania rather than at the Elimination Chamber or Fastlane. Not that it is a bad thing, but considering the captivating structure and the intensity that it brings, it surely deserves more attention.

Photo: WWE

The booking has not helped the case either as since 2010, the brand’s top championships have changed hands only 4 out of 8 times inside the chamber (excluding 2015 because it was held in May), making it feel like just an event that they have to do for their network subscribers. Even in the ‘go home’ of Raw for the Elimination Chamber, the entire episode was revolving around Becky Lynch‘s WrestleMania’s match with Ronda Rousey and had little to no mention about Ruby Riott, who was facing Rousey for Raw Women’s Championship at Elimination Chamber this Sunday. They went as far as making the match between Ronda and Charlotte “official” in their twitter handle.

The challengers for the WWE Championship were announced by Triple H without any matches and the participants for the Women’s tag team championship from SmackDown‘s side announced themselves without winning any qualifying matches, like their Raw Counterparts. Most of the other matches for the event were announced on social media with minimal build-up.

Even if we take a look at previous year’s matches, no one apart from the ultimate champions benefits from it. In 2018, Braun Strowman basically ran through his opponents, eliminating 5 of them in the process before getting pinned by Roman Reigns. Yet, he was stuck with a kid as his partner in WrestleMania and spent the rest of the year laying his hand on the mid-carders. When writers used the stipulation for determining the No. 1 contender for a championship at WrestleMania, the winner has gone on to lose the match 3 out 3 times at the Grandest Stage of All, which doesn’t speak much about the challenger’s attributes.

Some of the greatest matches inside the chamber have been forgotten due to the lack of hype or because of handling of the situation. 2017’s WWE Championship elimination chamber was based on the rivalry between John Cena and AJ Styles, which went throughout the course of the match. It had some side stories too, like the early elimination of Baron Corbin, who then costed Dean Ambrose‘s elimination too. In the end, we got a surprise winner as not many expected Bray Wyatt to win, especially when he was portrayed as much weaker than Cena or Styles. The match included many feuds but WWE couldn’t capitalize on it moving forward.

2010’s World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber match was a perfect blend of seriousness and fun. It had a great heel, brilliant mid-match promo, messy finish, difficult spots, and The Undertaker. The highlight of the match came at the end when Shawn Micheals burst out from underneath the chamber to cost Undertaker his championship. It was booked to perfection and was the distinct combination of WWE’s past and future. It did generate hype for Undertaker vs Micheals, but Chris Jericho, the ultimate winner got lost in all that excitement and many don’t remember how well this whole match was planned.

2009’s World Heavyweight Championship match is arguably the best Elimination Chamber match ever. It was one by the man who was not even supposed to be in it. Edge attacked Kofi Kingston during his entrance and somehow managed to take his place inside the chamber. The highlight of the match came at the latter half of the match, when Chris Jericho, Edge, and Rey Mysterio put aside the heel/ babyface dynamics and joined hands to eliminate John Cena, which does not happen in WWE on many such occasions.

All these matches had great stories and moments and yet people never talk about this during discussing their big moments and wrestlers, because those moments are mainly focused around big pay-per-views. Elimination Chamber does stand out because of its captivating structure, but its scheduling makes it feel like a third wheel between Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania, two of the grandest event of the year in WWE Universe. It does feel a bit different considering the stipulation but still require a little attention from the management to generate the hype that it deserves.

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