The much-anticipated Elimination Chamber main event contested at the pay-per-view, Elimination Chambers 2018 on February 25, 2018 at T-Mobile Arena in Nevada, saw veteran John Cena along with six other WWE Superstars including The Miz, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Elias, Seth Rollins and Finn Balor compete for a chance to face Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania 34. As expected, Strowman dominated most part of the match and rightly so because of his agility in the ring and dominating physique. He eliminated The Miz, Elias, John Cena, Finn Balor and Seth Rollins – five competitors after delivering his Running Powerslam. However, Roman Reigns decided to stand tall against theMonster Among Men. Strowman and Reigns battled it out to secure a place at the main event at WrestleMania 34. It became a grueling contest as both Reigns and Strowman delivered their best to each other. However, after Stowman crashed into the glass of one of the chambers, giving Reigns an opening to intensify his assault. It took Reigns multiple Superman Punches and Spears before he could silence Strowman and pick the victory. What transpired at WrestleMania 31 on March 29, 2015, when Roman Reigns challenged Brock Lesnar for his WWE World Heavyweight Championship is going to happen again at WrestleMania 34 when Reigns will go up against the WWE Universal Champion, Brock Lesnar, for his title. However, fans did expect Strowman to deliver Reigns the Running Powerslam for the win and headline WrestleMania 34 against Lesnar. Although Reigns faced a mixed reaction after his win, Strowman did take out his frustration when he delivered Reigns with two Running Powerslams and sent him crashing into the glass of the chamber.
The 2018 Royal Rumble was an exciting event with a number of Hall of Famers and Legends making their presence felt. While Lita, Trish Stratus, Torrie Wilson and Mickie James were part of the first-ever 30 Women Royal Rumble, it was Rey Mysterio, who created an impact when he returned to in-ring entrant as a surprise number 27 entrant in the 30 Men Royal Rumble Match. However, Roman Reigns’ showdown with Shinsuke Nakamura during the final moments of his match was filled with boos for Roman and cheers for Nakamura. Eventually, Nakamura eliminated Reigns to win his first Royal Rumble match and winning the right to face the WWE Champion. During the Women’s Royal Rumble, Asuka became the first-ever female Superstar to win the Royal Rumble. While she was celebrating her victory in the ring with both Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Women’s Champion) and Alexa Bliss (Raw Women’s Champion), MMA fighter, Ronda Rousey, made her shocking appearance at the pay-per-view when she stood tall in the ring signaling at the WrestleMania sign.
Royal Rumble also saw The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) become new RAW Tag Team Champions when Jason Jordon was out with an injury and Seth Rollins could not defend his team’s titles. Perhaps Seth and Jordon will not engage in a rivalry where Jordon could turn heel. How will RAW General Manager, Kurt Angle, react to this is still to be seen.
A match of intense physical dominance was for the WWE Universal Championship. A triple threat bout between Brock Lesnar (Champion), Braun Strowman and Kane, each superstar dominated the other during one point of the match or the other. However, after slamming Strowman through two announce tables and giving Strowman and Kane F-5s, Lesnar emerged victoriously and still the WWE Universal Champion. Perhaps now Lesnar would focus on other opponents since he has silenced Strowman and Kane for the time being. AJ Styles, WWE Champion on Smackdown, successfully defended his titles in a 1-on-2 handicap match against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. It seems both Brock Lesnar and AJ Styles will have much bigger matches come WrestleMania 34.
Now that Shinsuke Nakamura is the Royal Rumble winner, the King of Strong style may evolve into a deeper character for he envisions becoming the next WWE Champion. Who he will face is still to be decided but one thing remains sure, WrestleMania 34’s WWE Championship main event will be a must watch bout.
Unpredictable! One word that defines the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Leading Team RAW into Survivor Series 2017, Kurt Angle was hopeful to lead his team to a win in the traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series interbrand elimination match between RAW versus SmackDown match. However, Kurt Angle did not get the last laugh. With Shane McMahon, team Captain of SmackDown, the only survivor of his team facing three RAW superstars, Braun Strowman, Triple H and Kurt Angle, all odds were stacked against Shane. However, after Kurt Angle locked Shane in the Angle Lock, Triple H did the unthinkable. He gave a Pedigree to Kurt Angle and let Shane eliminate Shane. However, when Strowman was the legal man in the ring to face Shane, Triple H tagged himself in the ring to pin Shane for the win and let RAW win this match. While Triple H was celebrating, Braun Strowman attacked Triple H for not letting him take the win with two running power slams. Now that Triple H seem to be back in in-ring competition, and with WrestleMania 33 around the corner, I wonder if Triple H can go one-one-one against Kurt Angle at the Grandest Stage of them all, WrestleMania.
Kurt Angle did verbally confront Triple H at the night following Survivor Series, on Monday, November 20, 2017, when he told Triple H never to attack him from the back or “he (Triple H) can take his job and shove it because I am coming for you!”
Kurt Angle and Triple H were key competitors during WWE’s Attitude Era days and have had a number of matches during the 1999 to 2002. It had been a privilege to watch these two in-ring competitors give their everything in the ring. However, now that Kurt Angle is back and with Angle and HHH both entering the part of their careers where the next move is to hang their wrestling gear for good, the fans would want to see Angle vs. HHH. However, also in the equation is Braun Strowman, who, many WWE fans, including me, want to see become the WWE Universal Champion. Why? Because Brock Lesnar is overrated. Now that HHH and Kurt Angle’s rivalry is heating up, one can expect them to face each other in over a decade in a pay-per-view. However, with superstars as huge as HHH and Angle, their rivalry’s exclamation point must come at WrestleMania 33. Will it happen? Only time will tell!
It was a night on Monday Night RAW when one of the most memorable reunions took place. The WWE Universe do remember when Triple H and Shawn Michaels joined forces to reform D-Generataion X in June 2006. However, later down the road when The Shield with its members Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose made their presence felt in the WWE, they emerged as the Hounds of Justice. Later, Triple H implemented his Plan B to compel Seth Rollins to turn against his team and join The Authority, comprising Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Kane. Over the next few years all three Shield Members would enjoy a singles run with all three becoming WWE World Heavyweight Champion at one time or another. Of late, rumors were spreading that The Shield may reunite with Seth Rollins ending all differences with Reigns and Ambrose. On the October 9, 2017 episode of RAW as the WWE Intercontinental Champion, The MIZ was addressing the WWE Universe along with his The Miztourage, Roman Reigns came out followed by Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. The three former Shield members destroyed the The Miztourage along with Sheamus and Cesaro. After Ambrose planted The Miz with the Dirty Deeds, Reigns, Ambrose and Rollins delivered the Triple Powerbomb to The Miz before joining their fists that The Shield has certainly reunited.
Later during the night, The Shield emerged again wearing similar gear and attacked Braun Strowman. Reigns hit a devastating Spear to the Monster Among Men before The Shield delivered the Triple Powerbomb to Braun Strowman crashing him through the announcers table. It was an epic moment, perhaps the best to witness in recent memory. After the reuniting of DX in 2006 and the return of The Hardy Boyz at WrestleMania 33 in June 2017, the reuniting of The Shield is perhaps the moment that will reshape the landscape of the WWE. One wonders if, akin to Evolution back in 2003-04, The Shield members too will hold a title belt each and become one of the dominating force in the WWE today. I would personally like to watch The Shield raise havoc, win matches and titles and bring some attitude back in the WWE. Now that The Architect, Seth Rollins; The Big Dog, Roman Reigns and The Lunatic Fringe, Dean Ambrose are on the same page, the WWE Tag Team Division may not be the same again!