LAS VEGAS — Most Superstars don’t survive their first trip to Suplex City. Roman Reigns just booked himself a return visit.
The Big Dog prevailed in the first-ever Seven-Man Elimination Chamber Match to punch his ticket to his first one-on-one showdown with Brock Lesnar since his ill-fated WWE Title Match at WrestleMania 31, though this time he’ll challenge for the Universal Championship at The Showcase of the Immortals. Reigns’ carried him past the cream of Raw’s crop. Each of the seven competitors in the historic Men’s Elimination Chamber Match had all the motivation in the world to carry them to WrestleMania, but The Big Dog wanted it just that much more.
The Miz, looking to bring the Intercontinental Championship to the main event of The Show of Shows, entered the Chamber as one of the first entrants due to a loss to John Cena. Despite the handicap, the Intercontinental Champion proved to be the canniest competitor of the bunch. From trying to Too-Sweet Finn Bálor into an alliance (not being one of “The Bbbbbbboys,” he was swiftly denied) to picking whatever bones he could, Miz seemed as though he would manage to outwit his way into The Show of Shows — until he was eliminated first by Braun Strowman via a Running Powerslam.
Elias, who won the right to enter the Chamber last, was buzzed in moments after Miz was tossed and quickly locked himself back into his pod, refusing to emerge until the field had seemingly taken itself out. Looking to drift his way to the biggest performance of his life, Elias sprinted in when his opponents were all depleted and blatantly tried to take advantage of whoever was most vulnerable. It seemed like he, too, might steal one — until he was eliminated second by Braun Strowman.
John Cena, the lion in winter whose uncertain path to WrestleMania had clouded his mind with a must-win mentality, made a point of seeking out Seth Rollins (more on him in a second) and threw himself headlong into the fray. However, he was never quite in the thick of it, and he was eliminated third by Strowman. (In a post-Chamber interview on Raw Talk, he hinted at a “plan” to get to The Show of Shows that involved him crossing some unspoken locker-room lines, though he did not elaborate.)
Bálor, fighting with all his heart to win back the title that he never lost, started the match with Miz and Rollins and ended up stepping directly to Strowman as the field began to thin. Unfortunately, the continuing presence of Reigns and Rollins kept forcing The Extraordinary Man to stop his onslaught short, and one particular digression — a Coup de Grâce to Reigns — left him open to the fourth elimination of the match, once again by Strowman.
Rollins, coming off a record-setting performance on Raw that made him the overwhelming sentimental favorite in the Chamber, truly backed up his desire to become “The Man” again, partially by displaying the ruthlessness that got him there in the first place. Rollins formed a tentative alliance with Reigns that he dissolved the second he got the chance, booting The Big Dog in the face and stepping to Strowman, once again, by himself, though he was the fifth man eliminated by Strowman, yet again by way of Running Powerslam.
As for Strowman, he was the unquestioned MVP of the match as far as eliminations were concerned. Every ousting besides his own was achieved by These Hands, and despite having suffered an array of finishing maneuvers from everybody else in the match, The Monster Among Men seemingly had Reigns right where he wanted him. The exhausted Big Dog ended up using Strowman’s own aggression against him, olé’ing The Gift of Destruction through one of the pods and administering a rapid combination of three Superman Punches and two titanic Spears to finally put down The Monster Among Men.
Unfortunately for Reigns, Braun didn’t stay down. The Big Dog couldn’t even enjoy his victory before Strowman roared back to life, flattening Reigns with a pair of Running Powerslams and a trip through the pod. The attack caused Reigns to be carried backstage, but he had recovered by the time Raw Talk came around to promise closure and redemption come WrestleMania. It's far from an empty boast: Given Reigns’ skill and how close he came the first time, we know he has the ability to beat Brock Lesnar. The only question that remains is whether he will.