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Ronda Rousey Set for Big WrestleMania Debut and Other Takeaways From 2018 WWE Elimination Chamber

Big nights for Roman Reigns and Alexa Bliss were highlights of the Elimination Chamber, while Ronda Rousey provided fireworks before signing her WWE contract.

Elimination Chamber served as WWE’s final roadblock on the way to WrestleMania and the company finally made it official that Roman Reigns will be headlining WrestleMania for a record-tying fourth consecutive year.

Here are the results from the show, which took place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada:

  • Alexa Bliss won the first-ever women’s Elimination Chamber match
  • Cesaro and Sheamus successfully defended the Raw tag team titles against Apollo and Titus O’Neil
  • Asuka kept her undefeated streak alive by pinning Nia Jax
  • “Woken” Matt Hardy defeated Bray Wyatt
  • Roman Reigns won the men’s Elimination Chamber match to secure a match against WWE Universal champion Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 34

Armed with dinner from Kowloon and the WWE Network, here are my 25 Takeaways from Elimination Chamber:

1. Although she made an appearance on the pre-show, Paige was conspicuous by her absence during the women’s Elimination Chamber. Paige has made news for her new hand tattoos, which read “TALK SH--” on one side of her thenar eminence (which I needed to look up, but it’s better known as the soft part of the palm) and “GET BIT” on the other.

The 25 year old seemingly cannot stay out of the WWE news cycle. Yet her new tattoos should not cause WWE too much strife; if the “Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich could wrestle on a prosthetic foot in a WWE ring without anyone knowing, then the company can definitely cover Paige’s hands.

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2. The chemistry between Bayley and Sasha Banks is undeniable.

Although neither was victorious in the women’s Elimination Chamber, the most memorable spots in the match included both Bayley and Banks. Bayley is one of the rarest types of pro wrestler in 2018: She is a babyface you actually want to cheer. Banks is building perfectly (at least I hope) to her heel turn, and both women make the division worth watching.

3. The Mickey James high spot from the top of the pod lacked any sort of realism. Why wouldn’t Sonya Deville simply move to avoid contact? Sometimes, trying to make sense of pro wrestling makes no sense at all.

Deville and Mandy Rose were never threats to win this match. With WWE moving back to dual-branded pay-per-views after WrestleMania, it would have been an incredible opportunity for the creative team to somehow add SmackDown’s Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch into the history-making match.

4. The Twisted Bliss into a Banks Statement sequence set up a really strong finish to the women’s Chamber match, which saw Alexa Bliss retain her title.

The plans for WrestleMania 34 remain two singles women’s title matches, with Asuka challenging Charlotte Flair and Nia Jax finally getting her championship moment over Bliss. That puts Jax and Bliss in a very challenging position, as their match is unlikely to equal an encounter from Flair and Asuka, who are two of the best workers in the world.

5. Brock Lesnar is on another level—almost Hulk Hogan-like—when it comes to negotiating.

During the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, UFC president Dana White tweeted out a picture with Lesnar.

Lesnar still has more than six months remaining on his one-year doping suspension, which stays frozen until he re-enters the USADA drug-testing pool.

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The next major heavyweight fight is Stipe Miocic defending his title against Daniel Cormier this July at UFC 226. Lesnar—who is currently scheduled to wrap up with WWE this August at SummerSlam—would then be free to headline a major UFC show in December of 2018.

6. Is there a more unlikable tag team in WWE than Titus Worldwide? Dana Brooke serving as the team’s statistician adds nothing to the group, and Apollo is a great example of a main roster talent who would be far more valuable by returning to NXT.

As for the match between The Bar and Titus Worldwide, it served as a reminder that Cesaro and Sheamus need new opponents.

Somehow, the two-hour SmackDown has five tag teams—The Usos, The New Day, Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin, Breezango, and the Bludgeon Brothers—who could all be top contenders for the Raw tag titles. WWE could even pair together two of their cruisers, like Roderick Strong and Cedric Alexander, to help promote the Cruiserweight title tournament and elevate the tag division on Raw.

7. The finish to Asuka-Nia Jax was well executed, as Asuka kept her undefeated streak alive.

We have finally hit the point (and, as Michael Cole mentioned again and again, Elimination Chamber was the final stop on the road to WrestleMania) where we can see Vince McMahon’s vision for WrestleMania.

So when will Asuka finally make her decision on a title match for ‘Mania? Will John Cena challenge The Undertaker? Tomorrow’s Raw is one of the most anticipated of the year, narrowly trailing the night after ‘Mania.

8. Four years ago, Bray Wyatt was a threat to defeat John Cena at WrestleMania 30. Can you imagine that? Only a year ago, Wyatt actually won the Elimination Chamber to capture the WWE championship.

Wyatt’s character has been used, abused and failed to evolve. But he has the chance to reinvent himself in this feud against “Woken” Matt Hardy, as the two are capable of so much compelling content together. Could Wyatt return to his roots as a cult leader and recruit Hardy to the Wyatt Family? Or will we simply see more cartoonish hocus pocus from Wyatt?

9. The Wyatt-Hardy match ended with a Twist of Fate onto Wyatt, allowing Hardy to secure the clean win.

So where does the feud go from here?

Are these two destined for a match at WrestleMania? Or a spot in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal? Reintroducing Jeff Hardy into the mix tomorrow on Raw would add an entirely new element into the feud.

10. If you guessed that Stephanie McMahon and Triple H would both be part of the Ronda Rousey signing, then you were 100% correct.

11. You are not alone if you found it extremely frustrating that Kurt Angle and Triple H shook hands to kick off the Ronda Rousey contract signing. Even for those who absolutely love WWE, the lack of storyline continuity can be mind-boggling.

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12. Has Rousey—the so-called “Baddest Woman on the Planet”—been coached on how to respond to a “What?” chant? We’ll see.

13. To answer the prior question, no. Rousey was clearly not coached. We are going to be in for a bumpy ride any time she speaks on the mic.

14. If you are Rousey, why not immediately compliment the women’s division in the WWE? Or make mention of the fact that, even while she was atop the UFC world, she wanted to compete with the women in the WWE? That would have put a spotlight on the entire division, many of whom redefined women’s wrestling in the WWE.

15. Rousey confirmed at Elimination Chamber that she does not want to be treated any differently than anyone else on the WWE talent roster. Something tells me, however, that she will not be working house shows in Des Moines.

16. The Kurt Angle promo is his best moment since Vince McMahon introduced Angle on Raw as the new GM almost a year ago. Also, with no mention of The Rock, it appears WWE’s plan for Rousey at WrestleMania is to have her team with Angle against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.

17. Is anyone else impressed by WWE’s storyline continuity?! On a serious note, it appears that there will, in fact, be a storyline with history between Angle and Triple H at ‘Mania.

18. Overall, the Rousey signing was a success.

WWE wisely surrounded Rousey with a Hall of Fame crew in Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and Angle. The segment is going to generate mainstream media exposure, particularly with Rousey putting Triple H through a table and the company knew that they could not allow it to fail.

19. Subtlety and nuance are so underrated in wrestling, and it was on display in the Elimination Chamber main event.

The Miz attempting a “Too Sweet Me” with Finn Balor is a perfect move for a dislikable heel. It even almost helped me forget that Balor and Seth Rollins—who, at one point, were two opponents who hated each other—worked together in harmony against The Miz.

20. I am a longtime fan of Brock Lesnar, but his unwillingness to fully embrace the role of WWE champion will forever be part of his wrestling legacy.

Taking a page from the NXT TakeOver playbook (which took the move from the UFC), Lesnar sitting ringside with Paul Heyman would have added an element of realism to the Chamber match and created some legitimate tension at the end of the show with Lesnar in the crowd.

21. Braun Strowman kicking out, in succession, of a four-man powerbomb, Attitude Adjustment from John Cena and Superman Punch from Roman Reigns were must-see moments during the main event.

Strowman eventually pinned Cena after a powerslam, and no one blinked an eye that someone who has never won a WWE world title manhandled the legendary Cena. The company has done a tremendous job creating a monster in Strowman, who should help carry the company in 2018 with a feud for the WWE Universal title against Roman Reigns.

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22. Michael Cole noted there is no clear path for John Cena at WrestleMania.

Outside of a match with Elias, the only opponent for Cena at WrestleMania 34 is The Undertaker.

Despite ‘Taker’s age (53 by the time of WM 34), he and Cena were always destined to have a moment together at WrestleMania. Along with AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, the Cena/Undertaker match is the foundation of a must-see card.

23. I was hoping that we would see Finn Balor in this spot, but Seth Rollins’s frog splash from the top of the pod was another part of WWE’s attempt to resuscitate Rollins’s career from mid-carder back to someone who can headline shows for the company.

24. It’s as if WWE was just toying with its anti-Roman Reigns fan base.

Strowman eliminated the first five men in the Elimination Chamber, then met his own elimination at the hands of Reigns.

WWE was wise to have Strowman beat down Reigns after the match, including tossing him through one of the pods, which kept Strowman strong in defeat as well as eliminated the boos from those in the crowd upset that Reigns won.

25. Reigns, for better or worse, had to win the Elimination Chamber.

Vince McMahon has committed to Reigns since the build to WrestleMania 31 in January of 2015. Reigns got the rub from The Rock at that Royal Rumble and even defeated Daniel Bryan at the following month’s Fast Lane pay-per-view on his way to WrestleMania 31 against Brock Lesnar, but the company called an audible and went with Seth Rollins as champ.

Three years later, with a lot of protection along the way, Reigns is on track to finally dethrone Lesnar at WrestleMania.

Justin Barrasso can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.