WWE Elimination Chamber: Five things we learned

Check out the best moves from WWE's Elimination Chamber 2018

Elimination Chamber was Raw’s final Box Office event before WrestleMania, and two major title matches were confirmed in Las Vegas.

Roman Reigns will face Brock Lesnar for his Universal championship and Alexa Bliss will defend the women’s belt against Asuka.

Those are the key headlines. But what happened in between the lines of black and white? We take a look at five things which were discovered on another night of Chamber-based brutality.

Ronda Rousey is coming in super strong

The crowd’s response to Ronda Rousey’s arrival at Elimination Chamber was somewhat mixed and that is perhaps understandable; while she is unquestionably a major global star there are plenty of WWE fans for whom her achievements outside of their realm mean nothing.

Things were not helped by a slightly nervous – although completely heartfelt – promo in which she thanked the company for being given a chance to emulate her wrestling hero, the legendary Roddy Piper.

But attacking Triple H, and throwing him through a table no less, immediately won plenty of hearts and minds. The roof would have probably come off of the arena if Rousey had attacked Stephanie McMahon, but that can wait. “Always leave them wanting more,” as the old wrestling adage goes.

Roman Reigns is the new John Cena

Although this in itself is no great revelation, the confirmation Reigns will headline a fourth straight WrestleMania was concrete proof that WWE see him as the guy going forward.

For comparison, Cena himself has only main-evented Mania on five occasions, and that’s in a career which goes back to 2002. Hulk Hogan, that great barometer for WWE megastars, managed seven (eight if you count WrestleMania IX).

Everything points to Reigns dethroning Brock Lesnar for his Universal champion at this year’s event in New Orleans, especially if the rumours about Lesnar’s return to UFC are true, and so it seems Reigns will be the company figurehead for the foreseeable future.

Sasha v Bayley: The people are invested

It is a great testament to the enduring popularity, the ring craft, the likeability and the charisma of Sasha Banks and Bayley that they continue to have their supporters among the WWE fans despite being booked to take losses and not being used in the title picture.

It is also a tribute to the growing maturity of the writing in the women’s division that the Raw females are now being booked in multiple storylines (the potential program between Banks and Bayley is one of at least four involving women on the brand).

The pair – as their NXT history proved – are capable of putting on electrifying matches that get the fans invested. The only problem is that with WrestleMania already looking like a stacked card, they may not make the cut for the main show.

John Cena is surely Undertaker bound

After losing at Elimination Chamber, John Cena still has no match lined up for this year’s WrestleMania. But neither does the Undertaker.

Last year’s send-off for the Phenom did not feel quite right; nobody knew if it was the end or not, and a highly ambiguous promo at Raw 25 last month has done little to clarify matters either way.

So how about a full-on retirement match at WrestleMania, with Cena playing the Shawn Michaels role and Taker as Ric Flair in an echo of that famous curtain-closer at Mania 24?

Braun Strowman is great – but he needs a rethink

Arguably, Braun Strowman should have won the Elimination Chamber on Sunday night. He has been booked like an unstoppable monster on Raw for several months and came into the event with red-hot momentum only to be stopped at the final hurdle.

So what happens now? Because it’s only a matter of time before the running powerslams lose their appeal and the Strowman act starts to go stale.

Elimination Chamber was a great show of faith in the Monster, who pinned five other opponents. But he still lost, and that’s problematic.