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    Tuesday, February 22, 2022

    The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Elimination Chamber 2022

    Brock Lesnar and Riddle

    In my years of covering WWE, I've written so many words about why themed pay-per-views premium live events need to go away. Too many words, even, that those who might have followed any of my work critiquing the company already know it enough to not bear repeating.

    In case you're new to this, however, here's one more repetition of the argument: themed events (that is, based on a specific match type, like the Elimination Chamber, TLC, Hell in a Cell, and so on) force stories to utilize these match types, even—or especially—when the story hasn't earned them yet. It's a relatively rare thing for a blood feud to happen right around the time the Hell in a Cell premium live event rolls around.

    Elimination Chamber is no different. The novelty of the massive, imposing structure has been reduced to a pedestrian plot device that helps move stories along for WrestleMania, instead of being a special end that wraps the tales of six different Superstars neatly in its controlled chaos. In that context, this year's Elimination Chamber is no different, either.

    But there's another realization I had on why the Elimination Chamber match itself has run its course. Beyond the watering down of its role in the larger WWE story, the action inside the Chamber itself has become watered down—not for a lack of violence, but for a lack of the drama that made early Chamber matches must-see.

    What makes matches really great is the heightened drama that unfolds, especially as it nears the climax. This year's Elimination Chamber matches both felt rushed for whatever reason (maybe because they just wanted to get Saudi Arabia out of the way as much as possible), not getting enough time to let the action play out and bring the drama up along with it.

    While the women's Chamber match did the best it could, it still felt like it ran relatively short. That may be due to the collective inexperience of the women in the match, but it could've used a little more overbooking to make the final third memorable, especially when you make a talented athlete in Bianca Belair look really strong.

    The men's Chamber match is the worst offender, and despite his popularity, the format of a Brock Lesnar match is simply to blame. Lesnar's dominant nature isn't fit for a multi-man match, more so when his assignment is to quickly and easily destroy everyone in his path. Even if it is nice to watch sometimes, it's just not dramatic, and it tends to invalidate a lot of everyone's efforts before he enters the match. As a result, the main event just wasn't a spectacle—it was just another means to the end that is Lesnar entering the main event of WrestleMania as WWE Champion.

    We already knew that this was just a glorified house show for the Saudi Arabia home crowd, but if I were a Saudi fan, I'd have felt ripped off by the show we got, especially if I came to see WWE's biggest stars throw down in an Elimination Chamber match. Parts of the show were decent, but the men were a letdown (the women weren't, so score one for progress). Like the match itself, Elimination Chamber is just a quick, forgettable stopover on the Road to WrestleMania you could just sleep through. I hope you didn't stay up for it.

    Elimination Chamber 2022 Rating: B-

    Match of the Night

    Like I said, the women did their best to hold up their end of the bargain. Becky Lynch vs. Lita is easily the best match of the night, bringing the drama I was looking for in both Elimination Chamber matches in an offering that everyone appreciated.

    Photo from WWE

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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Elimination Chamber 2022 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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