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    Tuesday, February 19, 2019

    The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Elimination Chamber 2019

    What's better than reinventing the wheel? Using the same wheel to get far, that's what.

    It's undeniable that Kofi Kingston is the star of this year's Elimination Chamber PPV—and actual Elimination Chamber match—and everyone else involved in it helped him to get his star as high as possible. Astronomically high, even, to the point that what should be a foregone conclusion in Daniel Bryan retaining the WWE Championship is cast in doubt.

    It's no secret that this year's Elimination Chamber event felt like a chore we all had to go through on the road to WrestleMania. Yes, the WWE made an effort to promote it well ahead of even Royal Rumble by announcing an Elimination Chamber match to inaugurate the first WWE Women's Tag Team Championship, but everyone knows you didn't need a Chamber match specifically to crown that.

    However, it's not like Creative had a choice; the script calls for the Devil's Favorite Playground to be used once every year, around this time, even if it doesn't make any sense. There are no grand plans that build up to the use of the Chamber—instead, the structure looming over the horizon forces plans to be built around it. It is already here, much like the Royal Rumble is here every January. Of course, the Elimination Chamber is far from being a Royal Rumble, but here we are anyway.

    What better way to utilize it, then, than to maximize it and give us something truly compelling? Take the metanarrative of a truly talented guy who's been relegated to the midcard for the entirety of his WWE career and bring him to within an inch of the industry's crowning glory. Or take the similar story of two women destined for greater things in their division and have them make history by becoming the first-ever something important. If they're going to insist on this strange routine, we're glad that WWE finally had the political will to make the most of their deep roster. Just listen to those reactions.

    If WWE can give us memorable nights like these from their rote formulae, then shit, they can put on an Elimination Chamber anytime they want.

    Elimination Chamber 2019 Final Grade: B+

    Match of the Night

    For real, though, watch both Elimination Chamber matches, as everyone involved in one makes great use of the opportunity given them. The decisions made on this show make the Chamber itself seem pretty special, to the point that everything outside it feels like a regular episode of RAW or SmackDown Live

    Other observations

    • I just realized that there are only two babyface teams in the women's Chamber match. Pretty lopsided but it's hard to argue against who got to be in it. Maybe next time, Team Japan.
    • Excellent way of preserving Nia Jax's heat by... essentially having Tamina be the girl to take the fall. That works, but the trope of the fragile bulletproof glass continues!
    • Interesting move to have Maryse and Miz announce their second child on the way, but it's probably just to amplify their loss by a degree.
    • Well, at least Finn Balor becomes champ. I just don't agree with sowing tension between Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush, as it isn't time yet. Good on Lio for managing to get ring time outside of the cruiserweight division, though.
    • They did Ruby Riott so dirty in this match, even though it was the intended result. Never mind that it was the foregone conclusion, but it was the exact opposite of what happened to Kofi; she at least deserved five minutes of Rousey's time. Make this thing look competitive.
    • We could've completely done without the Braun Strowman/Baron Corbin match.
    • If Becky Lynch's injury is real, why risk it in a segment like this? If it isn't, why make her look a little silly in limping all the way to the ring for a beatdown? I'm sorry, it just didn't look badass seeing her help herself crawl between the ropes. And don't get me started on the unprovoked attack; I'm still not sure how they intend to give Becky her spot back if she's not playing nice with everyone. I just haven't found the part where this angle is supposed to endear Becky to fans, other than the fact that people don't prefer either Charlotte or Ronda.
    • So... what was the Lacey Evans segment?
    Photo from WWE


    Romeo Moran (@roiswar) is the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, but really hates Davey Richards with his entire soul. He likes taking your wrestling questions over on his CuriousCat account.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Elimination Chamber 2019 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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