SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
It’s been a while since WWE has had an event with as much anticipation as WWE Elimination Chamber 2023. CM Punk vs. John Cena at Money in the Bank perhaps? That’s a long time ago, so I’ll say this. Enjoy the show.
Sami Zayn vs. Roman Reigns is the match. It’s a fight that’s been brewing for nearly six months and one of the last chapters of The Bloodline story that has riveted WWE viewers since early 2021. Oh, and the match is taking place in Zayn’s hometown of Montreal. So, yeah, call me crazy, but this is a hot event for WWE and it comes right when they need it most – ahead of WrestleMania.
The show has some big gun matches on card including Bobby Lashley vs. Brock Lesnar, a mixed tag match between Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. The Judgement Day, and of course, two Elimination Chamber matches. That undercard has its ups and downs in terms of build, but it doesn’t matter. Zayn vs. Reigns is the focus, the draw, and reason why everyone is watching.
Call this a preview, a calm look into the distant future, or a gaze into a wondrous crystal ball; just don’t hold me to anything, ok?
Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. The Judgement Day (Rhea Ripley & Finn Balor)
Call me whatever names you want, but this Edge vs. Judgement Day feud has been good for the middle of the card on Monday Night Raw. In turn, it has a place on this show and should serve the show well given what we’re likely to see. Sami is losing later in the main event, so look for Edge & Phoenix to get the win in Canada to send this feud into the final stretch before WrestleMania.
Women’s Elimination Chamber Match: Liv Morgan vs. Asuka vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Carmella vs. Natalya vs. Nikki Cross
Lots of talent in this match. Lots. While I’d have to like to hear more from most of these women, it’s probably smart to have not because this is all Asuka. She’s the one with the new gimmick and a full slate of fresh matchups ahead of her because of it. She’s the most compelling challenger for Bianca Belair at WrestleMania and she’ll earn that opportunity by winning this match. Sidebar. Why isn’t Becky Lynch AND Bayley in this match? Add those two in an take-out Nattie and Cross. It just seems silly to have them available, but not include them in such an important bout fo WrestleMania.
Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley
Hey! Look! A heel and a babyface! I’m being a little sarcastic, but it’s so great to see. Lashley leaning full heel during their contract signing on Monday night instantly gave this more intrigue and interest than in the weeks before. All these two need to do is brawl, but the fans need to care and now they do. Brock doesn’t lose these rubber matches very often and he won’t here.
Men’s Elimination Chamber Match: Austin Theory vs. Seth Rollins vs. Bronson Reed vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Montez Ford vs. Damian Priest – WWE United States Championship
Well, it was a smart idea by WWE to book the United States Championship inside Elimination Chamber. Indirectly, it tells the audience that it means a lot since only major titles have typically been defended inside the structure. However, the idea is only the part of the job. Execution is the other and this lacked in that department. This match could easily have just been Austin Theory vs. Seth Rollins again, as that is the only real build we saw. Gargano has been gone entirely, Reed has looked good, but only in squash matches, Priest does Priest stuff, and though Montez Ford is going for his first singles title, it feels in passing because we never got a chance to hear from him ahead of Saturday. This match could easily be very strong and if we get a Tsunami off of the chamber, give it MOTY honors. It still needed more from a build perspective. Bottom line? Nobody not named Austin Theory should hold the United States Championship at this time. So? Don’t force it. Theory holds onto the title and gets the win inside a major structure like Elimination Chamber. He’ll get a ton of mileage out of that on the microphone for the next six months.
Roman Reigns vs. Sami Zayn – WWE Undisputed Universal Championship
The biggest WWE match in quite a while. What is there to say that hasn’t already been said? This is one of the best stories in pro wrestling in years and it’ll pay off at WWE Elimination Chamber 2023 right on schedule and in front of a crowd that will play along with each near fall. Reigns and Zayn can both work, so the bout itself will be masterful. Sorry Montreal, but Reigns takes this and heads to WrestleMania. However, Sami Zayn will get his friend back in Kevin Owens and be on a collision course with The Usos at WrestleMania because of how this bout with Reigns finishes.