WWE – Elimination Chamber 2022 (Cert 15)

1 Disc DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 169 minutes approx.

Release Date: June 13th  

Before we get into the review proper, I have to say I don’t understand the rationale of releasing the DVD of this show which took place in February AFTER the release of the Wrestlemania 38 Blu-ray which took place in April. It messes with the continuity for the few who might not have seen this show but have watched ‘Mania.

Anyway, in a major move, Vince takes one of his regular themed PP, er, PLEs (Premium Live Event) out of the US and to Saudi Arabia, the first time he has taken a major show overseas since Summerslam 1992 took place here in old Blighty. This brings with it some concerns as the Saudi shows aren’t known for their quality, although there has been a steady improvement over the past year.

On the card this time are two Chamber matches as well as former Wrestlemania main event that never happened as Goldberg is brought out of the mothballs one more time to finally face Roman Reigns almost two years after COVID derailed their previously booked meeting at Wrestlemania 36. Goldberg isn’t the only Hall of Famer dusting off the cobwebs to add name value for the Saudi audience, as Lita is next in line to challenge Becky Lynch for the RAW women’s title.

Held on February 19th 2022, at the Jeddah Super Dome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia before approximately 20,000 fans. Commentary is provided by Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves.

Onto the matches and as always no results spoilers but plenty of opinion.

 

WWE Universal Title Match – Roman Reigns (c) vs. Goldberg

Better late than never I suppose, although in wrestling terms maybe that aphorism isn’t quite applicable as Old Bill is now 2 years older than before and a lot less mobile with it.  He still looks like a bad dude but father time has one up on him. Mercifully, this was kept short to spare Goldberg looking totally decrepit and Roman didn’t do much to make this exciting either. At least they got it out of the way early to avoid true disappointment.

RAW Women’s Title No 1 Contender Elimination Chamber Match – Rhea Ripley vs. Doudrop vs. Nikki A.S.H vs. Bianca Belair vs. Liv Morgan vs. Alexa Bliss

Following the usual mendacious propaganda about how Saudi Arabia is a progressive, open society we have the now traditional covering of the ladies in case their femininity sparks a hormonal riot among the men. Having said that, we have taken a step forward and the ladies can now wear fully covered body suits without a baggy T-shirt on top – now that is progress! At least the horndogs will get a kick from Liv Morgan’s outfit!

The match also saw the return to the ring for Alexa Bliss after months away, who had a little swing in her chamber pod, whilst Bianca Belair won a gauntlet match on RAW for the last place spot. The only newsworthy thing here is the fact the match only went 15 minutes, when Chamber matches usually average between 25-40 minutes. They worked hard but overall it can’t be seen as average given the talent involved.

Naomi & Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair & Sonya Deville

This is essentially about two feuds – Sonya has been abusing her position as an official to make Naomi’s life hell which finally ended with a grudge match on SD. Sonya also got in Rousey’s face and had her arm injured as a result, so she added a stipulation to even the sides up that Ronda should have one arm tied behind her back. Although when she came but, Rousey had her arm tied to her side.

Also, to circumvent the strict Saudi dress code, Rousey wore her judo gi and no make-up either. The match really wasn’t that good – it wasn’t completely terrible either but the stip didn’t enhance anything, instead it exposed Rousey’s limits as an easily adaptable worker. Plus, they kept her and Charlotte separate which harmed the flow of the match. A fitting omen for their underwhelming ‘Mania match.

Falls Count Anywhere – Drew McIntyre vs. Madcap Moss

A rematch from Day 1 to prolong the agony of the Drew vs. Happy Corbin feud, with a stipulation to suit the heels, as well as to serve for revenge for temporary putting Drew on the injury list. If you like wild brawls, this will satiate your needs, covering all the usual bases although the real memorable moment is when Drew hits an Alabama Slam on Moss and he lands on his head! Ouch! Drew whipping out his sword and almost decapitating Corbin went down well with the Saudi crowd for some reason…

WWE RAW Women’s Title Match – Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lita

Big Time Becks is going out of her way to get heel heat and it is working, to a degree anyway, and the latest victim of her caustic tongue-lashings and boasting is Lita, who made a comeback during the Royal Rumble. Since Becky has beaten everyone else, and we know Bianca is due the ‘Mania match, as well as the Saudis taste for nostalgia, the HOFer gets a title shot.

Personally, I always found Lita a bit sloppy and her moonsault more a case of her falling backwards then remembering to flip over at the end, but she was a trailblazer for her time, and in all fairness to her, Lita did very well to keep up with Becky and delivered one of her best ever performances. That it prompted Becky to do a moonsault too as this built to a hell of a match.  

SD Tag Title Match – The Usos (c) vs. The Viking Raiders

Never let it be said billion dollar companies aren’t wasteful. After weeks of poor build where the Vikings were made to look like total chumps against The Usos, they finally got their title match – except they didn’t. The Usos jumped the Vikings during their entrance and left them laying so the match was called off, meaning they were flown half way across the world for nothing! If it was due to time constraints, they should have cut back on all the video packages during the live show of which there were many.

WWE Title Elimination Chamber Match – Bobby Lashley (c) vs. AJ Styles vs. Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Austin Theory vs. Matt Riddle

So, Lesnar lost the WWE Title to Lashley at the Royal Rumble after a betrayal from Paul Heyman, and in lieu of a rematch, got the first spot in this chamber match, whereas the others all had to qualify. However, Lashely went into this match with a shoulder injury which he suffered at the Rumble, so to cover for this, they did a spot in which Rollins powerbombed Theory into Lashley’s pod, which collapsed and “concussed” Lashely.

This took Lashely out of the match, meaning a new champion would be crowned and since we all knew it would be Brock vs. Roman at ‘Mania, the result was never in doubt. Incidentally, Brock was supposed to be released from his pod as normal, but decided not to wait and smashed his way out instead, hence the match not even going 15 minutes, as he easily killed everyone is quick succession. Imagine being those guys – working hard for 10 minutes only to be wiped out in a matter of seconds. Pitiful!  

Bottom Line:

After two dud shows to kick off 2022, WWE could ill-afford to make it a hat trick and the Chamber matches are usually enough of a stunt fest to keep the fans interested. I won’t speculate if holding this show in Saudi Arabia was a contributing factor to it being a huge disappointment this year, but I can say with confidence that the myopic booking most certainly was.

It is becoming tiresome to note how Vince has his chosen few and has created a caste system that doesn’t do anybody any favours except them, and this show was totemic of this blinkered thinking. Nobody fresh or new got over or came out looking like star as the direction for ‘Mania was obvious beforehand, it was just a matter of joining the dots.  In the case of the men’s chamber match, this was a joke, literally sacrificing top talent – and Austin Theory – to Lesnar to maintain the tired old status quo. 

Since Wrestlemania 38 has already been released we know the outcome of the results of this show, but going back in time to see how we got there just leaves a nasty taste in one’s mouth. It is amazing that people were still jazzed for ‘Mania after this wreck of a show, but I guess it takes all sorts.

 

Best match – Becky Lynch vs. Lita

 

Extras:

German Language

Elimination Chamber Kickoff Show Match – Rey Mysterio vs. The Miz

 

Rating – **

Man In Black

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