Wrestlemania 34 is coming up in six weeks and there is no better time to watch WWE than the three-month build from Royal Rumble to Wrestlemania.
Because that is typically when WWE does their best work, we have a temporary subscription to the WWE Network and I was able to watch their pay-per-view presentation tonight – Elimination Chamber.
Here are a few things I thought tonight as I watched the event.
Women’s wrestling has never been better
That’s probably a little bit hyperbolic because I don’t know what women’s wrestling was like prior to the 1980’s and I am completely unaware about the history of women’s wrestling outside of the United States.
Perhaps a better statement should be that women’s wrestling in the United States has never been better.
As recently as 5-6 years ago, women’s wrestling on television and on pay-per-view was check out time. It was aimed at the kids and the perverts and since I’m neither it typically meant channel-surfing, phone-checking, or bathroom-going.
But in the last few years the WWE has made a concerted effort to not just change perception but actually change the product for the better. Now, women’s wrestling is presented as sport and entertainment on par with the men and they are making the most of every opportunity.
Tonight, the women’s Elimination Chamber match opened the show but last month, the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble was the main event of the pay-per-view. And, in my opinion, the star of both matches was a young lady named Sasha Banks.
Banks is one of the Four Horsewomen (along with Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and Bayley) of the last couple of years that have moved women’s wrestling from being an exhibition of scantily clad women destined for the worst spot on the card to the main event.
Banks was in the ring for almost an hour at the Royal Rumble and was the glue in the women’s Elimination Chamber tonight. She is absolutely fantastic.
The only thing I would change about women’s wrestling is that I would make the ring a little smaller. The women’s wrestlers are usually a little shorter than the men and a 20’x20′ ring can sometimes negate just how fast they are moving in the ring.
But that’s nitpick. These women can flat-out go.
Snobby wrestler thought #1
I’m not an MMA guy so I’m out so far on Ronda Rousey.
It is literally nothing against her – I wish her the best. But I would just prefer to see one of those pioneering women being featured in such a prime spot but I understand that WWE is trying to make money and gain some mainstream legitimacy. Featuring Rousey at Wrestlemania will do that.
But I am a wrestler and I like wrestling. If Rousey can’t work in the ring then people will turn on her. I’ll be the first one to do it. Ten years ago they wouldn’t have turned because people expected less from women’s wrestlers but, as I mentioned before, the women of WWE can work their tails off now so Rousey better get there quick.
They also aren’t helping things by making her first feud against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. I’ve spoken at length that Triple H is not the king-maker he thinks he is and he severely overestimates his ability to “get people over”.
Snobby wrestler thought #2
I don’t like it when a hot comeback has a move in it that is dependent on a reversal. A hot comeback should only contain moves where the wrestler is in full control of the match. Both Cena and Reigns have moves in their comeback that require a wrestler to reverse them. Those guys are great…a billion times better than me…but I wish they would change that.
Don’t forget the men…
…particularly Finn Balor.
The women’s revolution has been a breath of fresh air but tonight’s men’s Elimination Chamber was excellent as well. I’ve never really worked a match like it before (never at all actually) but I can imagine it is hard to put it together and pull it off. The men in tonight’s match did it.
The match featured The Miz, Elias, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, John Cena, Braun Strowman, and the aforementioned Balor.
The finish was predictable with Reigns winning to set up a Wrestlemania rematch with Brock Lesnar but I feel like WWE is missing out with Balor.
Every once in a while a guy comes along with a really unique charisma to go along with terrific in-ring ability. Austin had it. Rock obviously had it. Jeff Hardy had it. CM Punk had it. AJ Styles has it. And Finn Balor has it.
The high-flying Irishman has a unique style and look and I think people would go crazy if the WWE just let him loose – whether it be “every night Finn” or Demon Finn.
The WWE tried by having him win the Universal Title on his first night in the company but he got hurt in the same match and was sidelined for months.
If you’ve been out on WWE since the Attitude Era, give them a shot again. Start with Balor and AJ Styles and go from there.