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February 28, 2022 Observer Newsletter: Elimination Chamber review, Undertaker to WWE Hall of Fame

A review of WWE's Elimination Chamber event, the Undertaker entering the WWE Hall of Fame, and more.

With Elimination Chamber in the books, all WWE promotion is now directly set for a star-laden WrestleMania.

Matches that are known thus far for the two-days on 4/2 and 4/3 at AT&T Stadium in Irving, TX are:

*Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns with both the WWE and Universal titles at stake with Lesnar winning back the WWE title in the Elimination Chamber. This is scheduled as the 4/3 main event. To boost attendance after the last show did the third lowest paid for a show since 1938, they pushed on Raw a house show harder than they have in decades, promoting that Lesnar is defending on 3/5 in Madison Square Garden and could lose the title. 

Either way, the Lesnar vs. Reigns match is taking place. Lesnar is advertised against Bobby Lashley, but it is not expected to happen as Lashley was being checked out this week for potential shoulder surgery. Lashley’s shoulder was injured in the Royal Rumble match where he won the title from Lesnar and hasn’t wrestled since. He was taken out of the Chamber match with an injury and never was actually in the match. WWE did advertise the Chamber match as being all about Lesnar vs. Lashley, with full knowledge Lashley wouldn’t wrestle. 

This was pretty sleazy to build the main event of the show around two guys, when they knew in advance that one couldn’t wrestle in the mach. WWE and AAA remain the only major promotions who continue to feel that false advertising is okay. 

On Raw this week, Paul Heyman used concussion protocol to say Lashley might not be there and they would have a substitute who was a fitting Madison Square Garden main event title challenger. Later in the show the announcers outright said that Lashley probably wouldn’t be in the match. Locally they were still advertising him but on television they did pretty much say Lesnar would be defending against somebody else, and Heyman used the term a worthy MSG title contender. 

On 2/24, MSG did change the advertising and now it’s just Lesnar defending the title with no opponent listed. Heyman heavily pushed the idea that Lesnar could lose the title at MSG and how it would change Mania. After last week’s two-for-one ticket sale, at press time they were at 5,599 tickets out which would be around 4,000 paid which when you consider everything with the Raw push and loaded card is pretty bad. This once again shows how much priority Vince McMahon has regarding Madison Square Garden, as he made the show the most loaded house show the promotion has put on in years, and this is the first time in many years that a main storyline will play out at a house show. It may have been 20 years or more since a house show was pushed at this level on Raw. 

It’s also notable they pushed the Lesnar title defense but not the Reigns vs. Rollins title match on that same show. Most likely the next AEW show at the UBS Arena would have outdrawn Madison Square Garden had the show not been so loaded and pushed to this level. Now I’d be very surprised for that to happen. The UBS show isn’t until 5/11 and has 3,906 tickets out.

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