The WWE’s back in Saudi Arabia again? Yay.
I’ve learned to give the WWE shows in the Middle East a chance, though. The last show they had there, the Crown Jewel event in 2021, was actually okay. This year, they went big and held the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view event over there. It’s pretty significant as Elimination Chamber is all part of the Road to Wrestlemania storyline as the winners will get a title shot at the Show of Shows. So, of course I had to watch it as it does impact what’s going to happen at Wrestlemania.
The first match of the night had Roman Reigns defending his WWE Universal Championship against *sigh* Goldberg. Look, I get it. Goldberg was super huge during his heyday but to have him come out of nowhere and challenge for the top prize of the Smackdown brand? That’s just ludicrous and was just put together because, let’s face it, the WWE had to book Goldberg in the show. I still was morbidly curious about the bout because I wanted to see if it was going to be a train wreck or not. Thankfully, it was the latter… mostly because of how short it was.
There’s nothing really much to talk about here as it was just two big guys going at it. No real finesse involved. There were a few cute spots, like Goldberg reversing an irish whip into the barricade while outside the ring, Reigns getting out of the jackhammer attempt and nailing Goldberg with a vicious slam and the Tribal Chief going for a spear only to get speared himself by Goldberg.
However, this was near the end. Goldberg set up Reigns for the Jackhammer but the Head of the Table blocked it and locked in a guillotine chokehold instead. Goldberg then passed out and Reigns was declared the winner, retaining his WWE Universal Championship. I can’t really say it was bad as it never got enough time to get bad. I guess I can say it was watchable but, other than that, there really isn’t much to say as it was a “blink and you’ll miss it” kind of deal.
The next match was the Women’s Elimination Chamber match with the winner getting a shot at Becky Lynch’s RAW Women’s title at Wrestlemania. The participants included Liv Morgan, Nikki ASH, Rhea Ripley, Doudrop, Bianca Belair and the returning to action Alexa Bliss. It’s dumb how they made Alexa Bliss come in last even though she wasn’t starting the match but, hey! She does deserve a grand entrance as she is returning to in-ring action.
The action here was actually decent from start to finish but no real high spots. There were a few stunts here, like Rhea Ripley tearing Nikki ASH from the wall of the Elimination Chamber onto Doudrop and Liv Morgan and Liv Morgan performing a avalanche sunset flip powerbomb on Doudrop. There’s also the spot where Bianca Belair and Rhea Ripley did dueling delayed suplexs in an attempt to outdo each other. Those were neat but not exactly things we haven’t seen before.
The finish had Bianca Belair going against Alexa Bliss and the two did have a decent mini-match. The problem is you still could see Alexa Bliss has a lot of ring rust on her as a lot of the things she did wasn’t as smooth as you would want it to be. Bliss went to the top to set up for Twisted Bliss but The EST of the WWE rolled to the outside. Bliss instead went for a seated senton but Belair snatched her out of the air and did a couple of slingshot slams into the cage wall. Belair tried for a 450 splash but Bliss rolled out of the way. Belair blocked a DDT attempt and went for a suplex but Bliss got out of the hold. Bliss then went for another DDT but Belair blocked it with a cartwheel. The EST did a moonsault but Bliss got the knees up in time. Alexa Bliss then tried some pinning combination but to no avail. Bliss then signaled for Sister Abigail but Belair reversed it into the KoD for the pinfall victory, punching her ticket to Wrestlemania for the second straight year.
This was a pretty good match but nothing really memorable about it. A really good showing from Liv Morgan as she had to do a whole lot during the entire thing. I’m also glad to see Alexa Bliss back but she’s got a lot of ring rust, which is kind of bad since her in-ring skills weren’t all that good to begin with. Having Bianca Belair to face off against Becky Lynch for the RAW Women’s title makes a lot of sense as the EST of the WWE never really got her rematch. Overall, this was a fun one.
The next match had Naomi teaming up with Ronda Rousey against Sonya Deville and Charlotte with the stipulation that Rousey have one arm tied behind her back as Sonya’s arm is allegedly broken. Obviously, this was all a ploy as, the instant The Baddest Woman on the Planet had her right arm tied up, Sonya removed the sling from her arm. I do like how “realistic” things were for a while as the heels beat down on Ronda Rousey as she did have only the use of one arm, necessitating the hot tag to Naomi. I would’ve hated it if Ronda just beat on the two of them with this handicap put on her.
Of course, this wasn’t going to hold up as it was eventually Ronda Rousey taking the victory for her team. Naomi makes the hot tag and The Baddest Woman on the Planet starts jabbing on Sonya and then slams the Smackdown authority figure with a modified Angle Slam. Rousey then goads Flair into the ring but the Smackdown Women’s champion relents, waving her hand off in disgust. Rousey then locks on an armbar on Sonya Deville, earning the submission victory for her team.
Overall, it was okay but it did go a smidge too long for my liking. I also didn’t like that Naomi wasn’t the one to pin Sonya Deville as they’re the ones feuding. Basically, this match was just here to promote Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair at Wrestlemania. I also have to comment on Charlotte Flair’s outfit as it was just basically a red onesie? She’s Charlotte Flair! She couldn’t work on her getup for the show? Add some, y’know, flair to your outfit!
The next match had Drew McIntyre against Madcap Moss in a Falls Count Anywhere match. I wasn’t looking forward to this bout as this was filler match if I ever saw one. As this was a Falls Count Anywhere match, I expected to see Happy Corbin interfere throughout the entire match. I wasn’t wrong. However, I was surprise at how few this was. I was also disappointed how little they used the Falls Count Anywhere stipulation as they just battled on the outside and up the ramp. I guess they felt there was a danger with brawling through the crowd there.
Despite all the interference, this was mostly Drew McIntrye beating on Madcap Moss for several minutes. There was one time when the jokester got dumped on his head hard as he overrotated during a suplex! Thank god it looks like he got out of there relatively unscathed! The finish was rather dumb. The Scottish Warrior was setting up for his Claymore kick finisher but, for added insurance, he took his sword out and tried to eviscerate Happy Corbin with it! Corbin ducked out of the way and McIntyre nailed the Claymore kick on Madcap Moss for the pinfall victory.
Like I said, they didn’t really use the Falls Count Anywhere stipulation to its fullest potential. If they made it a No Holds Barred match, it would’ve been fine. I can’t really be mad about this match as it was just put together to fill the card to a legitimate runtime. Besides Madcap Moss jamming his head into the mat in a gruesome fashion, there’s nothing to talk about here.
The next match had Becky Lynch defending her RAW Women’s Championship against WWE Legend Lita. I didn’t have really high expectations for this as Lita has been retired from professional wrestling. So, color me surprised when Lita was able to do much more that I expected. She wasn’t the high-flying Lita of yesteryear but she was still able to perform most of her moves, like her moonsault.
The finish, however, looked rather clumsy. After Becky Lynch kicked out of the moonsault, Lita picked up Big Time Becks for… something. Becky Lynch then slammed Lita into the mat with the Manhandle Slam to get the pinfall victory and retain her RAW Women’s championship.
I will say this was a much better match than I expected. Lita did look a little winded at times but she wasn’t exactly out of shape. Her offense still looked legit. A lot of credit does have to go to Becky Lynch for making everything look really good. It also helped the crowd was really into what was happening. A surprisingly good match and, honestly, the best match of the night.
The next match had…
The match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship never happened because the Usos ran in and attacked the Viking Raiders before the bell rang. I guess they were running out of time so this had to get cut out. After all, all those Be a Star videos and that Bobby Lashley tribute video was much more important than an actual title defense at a pay-per-view. Everyone know that!
Speaking of Bobby Lashley, he’s up next as he has to defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the Elimination Chamber against Riddle, Seth Rollins, Austin Theory, AJ Styles and Brock Lesnar. Well, he was supposed to be in the match but Lashley was taken out when Seth Rollins powerbombed Austin Theory through the All Mighty’s pod. This had the WWE World Champion taken out of the match, meaning we would have a new champion no matter what!
After this spot, there was nothing really much to talk about. Maybe Riddle channeling Randy Orton by performing the draping DDT to Seth Rollins and AJ Styles at the same time. No, the thing to talk about was the finish, which was creative but I just didn’t like because of who won.
Even though Lashley was taken out, the folk helming the Elimination Chamber didn’t get the memo as they still signaled for his pod to open! This made Brock Lesnar mad as he smashed out of his pod and went on a rampage. The Beast then went on a tear, taking out Riddle, Seth Rollins and AJ Styles out with F5s. This left Austin Theory all by himself against Lesnar. Vince McMahon’s favorite star did try to fight back with a low blow but couldn’t capitalize on it. Theory tried to escape the Elimination Chamber and he nearly did but Lesnar got a hold of him on the top of one of the pods and F5’ed him to the steel (padded) floor. 3 seconds later and Brock Lesnar is your NEW WWE World Heavyweight Champion, making his upcoming match against Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania a title vs. title bout.
I will give points to WWE for getting creative. Taking out Lashley even before he could compete did make things slightly interesting and having Lesnar just smash out of his pod early was neat. What I don’t like is putting the belt on Brock Lesnar and making both top champions duke it out at Wrestlemania. To add insult to injury, we are getting these two again at the main event at Wrestlemania. Didn’t we already have this match before at least twice? Sure, the roles are reversed, with Roman Reigns as the heel and Brock Lesnar as the face. It’s also champion vs champion as well but… it’s still Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar, the rematch of the rematch of the rematch!
While the men’s Elimination Chamber was just okay and there were some creative storytelling spots, I can’t really say I enjoyed it. It’s more of a matter of the ending ruining the entire thing for me. If you like to see Brock Lesnar duke it out with Roman Reigns… again… once again. Bah.
Overall, this year’s Elimination Chamber in Saudi Arabia was okay. There were good matches but they were generally spoiled by lousy finishes. ‘Nuff said.
What did you think this year’s Elimination Chamber? Let me know in the comments section below!