In a chaotic prelude to the first-ever Seven-Man Elimination Chamber Match this Sunday, the seven competitors lined up, one after another, for an epic Gauntlet Match on Raw, and Braun Strowman emerged as the last man standing after what seemed, at first glance, to be the longest match in WWE history. The Monster Among Men’s arrival, however, was presaged by a Herculean performance from Seth Rollins, who laid it all on the line in his ongoing effort to re-establish himself as “The Man.” The Kingslayer entered at No. 2 and competed without interruption for an hour and five minutes, eliminating Roman Reigns (No. 1) and John Cena (No. 3) in the process. A fresh Elias picked Rollins off with Drift Away after The Kingslayer used the last of his energy on a series of high-risk manoeuvres; Finn Bálor answered by exploiting Elias’ battered ribs with an incredible Coup de Grace. The presence of The Miztourage allowed The Miz to fend off Bálor down the stretch with a Skull-Crushing Finale, but Strowman took control of the match from the second he arrived as the final entrant. The Gift of Destruction chased down the Intercontinental Champion through the arena and bench-pressed his way out of a Skull-Crushing Finale en route to a match-ending Running Powerslam. During a post-match interview, Strowman did not hesitate to predict a repeat performance in the Chamber on Sunday, to say nothing of a victory over Universal Champion Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. He ended his evening with a series of Running Powerslams to The Miztourage that functioned both as an exclamation point and a warning of things to come. Sunday, the Elimination Chamber competitors won’t just have to contend with the structure; they’ll have to survive the fresh monster who will roam the confines.
Is Nia Jax ready for Asuka? She certainly isn’t taking any chances when it comes to her high-stakes matchup with The Empress of Tomorrow at the Elimination Chamber event, where a victory will land Jax an automatic berth in the Raw Women’s Title Match at WrestleMania, regardless of who else is in it. In fact, The Irresistible Force struck from behind during Asuka’s planned in-ring interview about the Chamber match, and despite some blistering kicks from the Women’s Royal Rumble Match winner, Jax’s power gave her the last word in the exchange. A Samoan Drop and a series of devastating leg drop later, and suddenly the question was whether Asuka was ready for Nia Jax.
Toppling Cesaro & Sheamus is a tall order in and of itself, so it’s all the more impressive that Titus Worldwide has consistently had the Raw Tag Team Champions’ number for months now. Save for an unsuccessful bid for the titles, Titus O’Neil & Apollo have yet to lose against the mighty Bar since Jan. 8, and that trend continued in a non-title match that came down, once again, to the pinpoint timing of Apollo. After a dominant performance by Cesaro & Sheamus, a missed charge into the corner by The Swiss Cyborg allowed Apollo to roll the Tag Team Champion up for a win that is becoming less and less of a surprise each time it happens. And, if The Bar accepts the victors’ Raw title-match challenge for the Elimination Chamber event, all it will take is one more win for Titus Worldwide to go from upstarts to champions.
After weeks of attempting to court Mickie James to her side, Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss seems to finally have her old ally back at the first-ever Women’s Elimination Chamber Match approaches. Ironically, James only decided to realign with The Goddess after defeating Alexa, Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose in a Six-Woman tag that pitted the Chamber participants against each other. Teaming with Bayley & Sasha Banks, James started the match off against Bliss, though the champion quickly tagged out and only re-entered the match after Absolution had done the majority of the heavy lifting. Bliss teed off on Bayley with impunity, but she deferred to Mandy and Sonya once again after Mickie re-entered the fray. She was forced into action, however, after Mickie took out Mandy and Sonya simultaneously and tagged in Sasha, and thanks to a timely intervention by Bayley, The Boss was able to writhe free of a DDT attempt and submit Bliss with the agonizing Bank Statement. A throwdown among the six women ensued, and after Absolution dispatched of Bayley and Sasha, they set their eyes on Bliss. That was when James made her move, saving the champion from danger and joining in with a double DDT to Sonya Deville. Whether the alliance stands the Elimination Chamber remains to be seen. But if The Goddess does indeed have herself a guardian angel, that may be enough to send her to the promised land.