WWE Elimination Chamber 2023 Recap: 5 Thoughts
The WWE Elimination Chamber Premium Live Event has come and gone, and it was a pretty entertaining show.
The PLE in between Royal Rumble and WrestleMania is usually a filler show most years. but WWE has made an effort to change that in the last couple of years and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. I think it did a decent job setting up many stories for WrestleMania 39 and had one of the best Men’s Elimination Chamber matches I’ve ever seen. The Montreal crowd was incredible too. Let’s get into it.
#5: ASUKA WINS ELIMINATION CHAMBER TO CHALLENGE RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPION
The Women’s Elimination Chamber was a good way to kick off the show. It put heavy emphasis on Asuka and Liv Morgan but everybody got some shine at some point. I was really impressed with Raquel Rodriguez and of course Natalya in her home country. That sunset flip by Liv Morgan off the pod on Raquel was nuts. I give Liv a lot of credit for the work she’s put in over the last year. She always wants the ball. That’s why she was one of the first two in the Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber. She was also protected really well as it took a Sharpshooter and an Armbar by Asuka at the same time to cause Liv to pass out.
Asuka was the clear favorite from the beginning and I think a match between her and Ms. WrestleMania, Bianca Belair, will have the potential to steal the show come WrestleMania. Asuka was the right choice as this rebirth of her character has done wonders to restore the credibility of The Empress of Tomorrow.
#4: BOBBY LASHLEY DEFEATS BROCK LESNAR BY DQ
This match was just heating up when Lesnar kicked Lashley in the balls. I’m not sure what to say other than the finish sucked. I think we deserved a fitting conclusion and we didn’t get one. The crowd seemed to enjoy Brock wrecking shop in the aftermath but it doesn’t change the fact that the ending sucked.
I assume it sets up another match between the two, but I don’t think it happens at WrestleMania. Maybe the Saudi show in May. I think Lashley is on a collision course with Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania while I think Brock faces GUNTHER. Both matches will be matches I look forward to. We just didn’t need a screwy finish to get there.
#3: EDGE AND BETH PHOENIX DEFEAT THE JUDGMENT DAY
A pretty good match for what it was. I knew Rhea wasn’t taking the pin because she’s being protected for her big match at WrestleMania. I thought the brief action between her and Beth was a nice appetizer that left you wanting more. Hopefully, we get a one-on-one match in the future between these two. Edge and Beth hitting the Shatter Machine on Finn Balor was a nice touch to give The Grit Couple the victory.
I’d like to think this is over, but something tells me there’s one more singles match left between Edge and Finn Balor. Probably a Hell in a Cell. Who knows? Maybe Edge faces a debuting Jay White instead. I just feel like this feud will culminate in LA not Montreal, but we’ll see.
I knew it all🚀 #thenow#theforeverchamp#wwechamberpic.twitter.com/CWAJgohfeD
— Austin Theory (@_Theory1) February 19, 2023
#2: AUSTIN THEORY RETAINS HIS UNITED STATES TITLE
The Men’s Elimination Chamber was slightly better than the women’s in my opinion. Everybody got some shine here. Even though he was the second guy eliminated, Johnny Gargano had a breakout performance as he started the match with Seth Rollins and went nearly 25 minutes before being eliminated by Damien Priest. Bronson Reed, even though he was the first guy eliminated, was protected very well. He showed his strength and dominance. It took the One Final Beat by Gargano, a Stomp by Rollins, and a Frog Splash by Montez Ford to take Reed out. Speaking of Ford, he had the MVP performance of the match thanks to his dive off the top of the chamber and making it to the final three.
Montez had one of those Kofi-like breakout performances. Ultimately, Ford was eliminated by a Stomp from Rollins and pin from Theory. They did the injury angle bit which turned into a way to leave the door open long enough for Logan Paul to make his return and hit a buckshot Lariat on Seth Rollins. Paul also hit a Stomp on Seth so that match seems to be on at WrestleMania.
I’m glad Logan has decided to embrace being a heel. He was terribly miscast as a babyface because he’s generally not a likable guy so it makes sense to pivot and make him a heel against the ultra-popular Seth Rollins. Theory secured the win and seems destined for a WrestleMania clash with John Cena in a potential United States Title match which will do a lot to cement this young kid’s future with the company.
#1: ROMAN REIGNS RETAINS THE UNDISPUTED CHAMPIONSHIP
This one had cinema written all over it. I know a lot of people wanted Sami Zayn to walk out with the Undisputed WWE Universal Title but that just wasn’t realistic. You don’t end a 900-day, 2.5 year title reign on the PLE before WrestleMania, even if it is in the guy’s home country. The match followed the typical yet effective Reigns formula. He talked trash in the match, even to Sami’s wife. There were multiple nearfalls where it looked like Sami might win. Of course, Jimmy Uso showed up and almost screwed Sami. The end came when Jey Uso seemingly refused to attack Sami. Sami accidentally speared Jey and that led to Roman taking advantage with chair shots (the referee was out) and a Spear for the victory.
The aftermath saw Jimmy get in the ring and attack Sami. It didn’t take long for the music of Kevin Owens to get the crowd on their feet. Owens came down to the ring and dispatched Jimmy Uso. He slid in the ring and hit the Stunner on Reigns. Jimmy came in and got a Stunner as well. It was the classic Austin-esque save from Owens. He eventually pulled Jimmy to the outside and gave him a Pop Up Powerbomb through the announce table. He took a chair in the ring but Paul Heyman intervened and ate a Stunner better than Vince did. The telling moment was when Owens looked at Reigns in the corner. He then heard the “OLE” chants from the crowd. He turned and looked at Sami as if to say “Ah what the hell” and backed away, allowing Sami to nail Roman with the Helluva Kick to the delight of the Montreal crowd.
Was Sami losing disappointing? Yes, but his winning was never an option. Roman isn’t losing until at least WrestleMania nor should he. The story with Sami ends with him holding those Tag Titles. People have complained for years that WWE doesn’t do anything with the Tag Team Titles. They’re props. The division is meaningless. Yet there’s a realistic chance that the Tag Titles could MAIN EVENT night one of WrestleMania. Let that sink in. Yet, people act like it’s a demotion for Sami. You can’t have it both ways. Either you want the tag division to mean something or you don’t. Sami’s story has always been with Jey. Not Roman. Roman was a necessary evil in the story.
I’m firmly against just putting the title on a guy because his hometown is behind him. I didn’t want Drew to win it in the UK either. It makes for a better atmosphere for sure but you can’t just put a title on a guy because he’s the hometown hero.
As for KO, he repaid the debt to Sami for what he did at the Rumble but it’s going to take a little more to trust him again. Kevin warned him this very thing would happen for months and Sami didn’t listen and turned on HIM instead. Kevin can’t just get over that because Sami saved him one time after letting Roman whoop his ass for seemingly 10 minutes.
To the people upset because Jey didn’t make that turn I say this. What if that’s the point? What if the Usos defend the titles against Sami and KO while Jey is still conflicted. Then after The Bloodline has literally lost everything at WrestleMania, Jey is the one who snaps and The Bloodline story ends with the two people that started it, Jey and Roman. The point is, the story didn’t end in Montreal. It was never going to. It probably won’t even end at WrestleMania. We are witnessing one of the greatest stories ever told in professional wrestling. Enjoy it and stop trying to tear it apart because it isn’t taking the route YOU want it to take.
That’s it for Elimination Chamber. Next stop WrestleMania. The card is shaping up to be an all-time great WrestleMania. I know there is a lot to be uncertain about with the potential sale and whatnot but the WWE product on television has been a stellar improvement from a year ago. Let’s enjoy it.
Thanks for reading. Check out my TJRWrestling writing archive here. I’m on Twitter @GiftedMoney talking about wrestling among other things, so feel free to message me on there with any thoughts or comments. Until next time.