Big Brother’s motto is Expect the Unexpected. WWE Elimination Chamber 2018 reinforced WWE’s motto — we’re all in with Roman.
Think back over the course of the year and consider the WWE’s most dominant performer. Sure, Brock Lesnar successfully defended his title after regaining it from Goldberg, but he didn’t have the same aura in 2017. That honor goes to Braun Strowman, who terrorized the roster and looked like a real, throwback wrestling star in the process.
Last night, Braun was on a rampage. That match structure allowed Braun to be dominant. Cynically, it seemed just to be an extended effort to make Roman Reigns and Roman Reigns alone look capable of defeating the unstoppable beast. The match itself was pretty entertaining, but it just lacked suspense.
While the fans would have hated him for it, maybe the better way to handle the match would have been for Roman to get all those pin falls? That way it would look like he earned the Wrestlemania shot. Instead, Roman came off like he got lucky Braun was so worn down from enduring everyone’s finisher…and that pod. For The Big Dog, Roman never really gets that kind of dominant performance he regularly had when he was with The Shield.
Whether in Royal Rumbles, championship contender matches or Elimination Chamber matches, Roman rarely comes off like the best. Just the lucky guy who manages to stick around until the end. That’s not how WWE made Hogan, Hart, Michaels, Austin, Rock, Undertaker, Batista or Cena into stars.
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Roman is a great athlete. He’s got this cool look and when he nails his Superman Punch and spear, they look like great finishing moves. But think of the other guys who’ve been in the Wrestlemania main event four times or more and consider how he matches up.
John Cena was undeniably the face of the promotion in his five main events. He carried WWE and had genuine interest from the fanbase. Sure, it became the fad to start booing him, but Cena’s status as the man came off more as protected than given.
With seven main events, Triple H is another guy whose status can’t be argued. Wrestlemania 2000 capped arguably the best heel run for a modern era star. Triple H deserved to be the first heel to leave as the world champ. He was the measuring stick again at Wrestlemania 20 and 21. His Wrestlemania 22 loss to Cena cemented Cena’s status as the undisputed top star in the WWE.
But where Triple H was able to validate the ascension of Batista, Cena and Daniel Bryan, he failed with Reigns. There was a surge from the Wrestlemania 32 audience hoping for some unexpected fluke like the year before when Seth Rollins stole Reigns’ moment and the WWE title.
For whatever reason, Roman just hasn’t connected like The Man of this era. Hogan was the face of Wrestlemania after Wrestlemania 3 and then he went on to headline four more consecutive shows after WM4. By his third consecutive Wrestlemania main event, The Rock was a nuclear superstar who was a legit mainstream name. Stone Cold was a legend by the time he was at three Wrestlemania main events. Is Roman even remotely close to that level?
After four tries with four consecutive Wrestlemania main events, maybe it’s time for the WWE to realize Reigns is more the strong utility player like Batista, Randy Orton or Randy Savage. And just possibly, the guy the fans naturally respond to like Braun Strowman are at least worthy of a shot to become the face of the WWE.
Other quick Elimination Chamber 2018 thoughts:
*The women’s Elimination Chamber match was good, but also suffered from a lack of suspense. This match needed legit stakes like the winner getting the first shot at Asuka or Alexa after Wrestlemania since Asuka/Alexa was already a done deal. Throw Nia Jax in and let Asuka and Alexa have a big confrontation instead. Alexa’s teary promo seemed like a great parody of other wrestlers who break character after a big win. Hopefully, WWE has solid plans for her after she loses the title to Asuka.
*I think this was the last specialty match for the women. Hey, remember the historic, first time in history female Survivor’s Series match? It occurred the same date as the first ever men’s Survivor Series match. I’ve enjoyed that they couldn’t trot that out like some groundbreaking moment when it was done all the way back in 1987.
*Corey Graves shouldn’t mention all the call backs from the previous Elimination Chamber match. It sounded odd as he compared Elias and Seth Rollins’ tactics to the women.
Titus Worldwide getting the tag team title shot against The Bar made sense, but the match went way too long for contenders who never really were a threat.
*Congratulations WWE. You’ve successfully killed Woken Matt Hardy. Hopefully Jeff Hardy’s recovery is coming along smooth.
*The WWE seems desperate to make Rounda Rousey a Mike Tyson like attraction. But the WWF didn’t strand Tyson with a mic for extended periods of time in the ring.
He came in, looked tough and had an iconic moment with Stone Cold. Imagine how much different that would have been if Tyson rambled on for 10 minutes before doing anything. At the very least, Rousey found her mean mug face and Kurt Angle was able to get a micro moment against Stephanie and Triple H.