Brock Lesnar F-5'ing Austin Theory off the top of an Elimination Chamber pod was an iconic moment in the pay-per-view's history. With that move, Lesnar became a seven-time WWE champion and guaranteed that his WrestleMania 38 main event vs. Roman Reigns will be a champion vs. champion match.
The history and lead-up to this incredible match will almost certainly result in an all-time classic. But the biggest question in the weeks to come is whether it was all worth it.
Lesnar's win was the only title change on Saturday's Elimination Chamber card in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. While the other matches set up some great WrestleMania matches, Lesnar's win laid waste to several of WWE's supposed top stars and called into question several significant decisions over the past few months.
What was the purpose of Lesnar losing the WWE championship to Bobby Lashley at the Royal Rumble event, only to go on to win the Royal Rumble match later in the night, when he was going to turn around and win the title back just a few weeks later?
Lesnar's status and history with Reigns would've been more than enough to make that match happen, and it would still feel as big as it is in the aftermath of the Elimination Chamber. In the meantime, potential star-making opportunities for a different Royal Rumble winner and a WWE championship match that could have elevated two other wrestlers have gone by the wayside.
Lashley's abrupt exit from the match, caused by a powerbomb that broke through the side of the cage and struck him in a way that put him into "concussion protocol," will have consequences and potentially lead to a run-back between Lashley and Lesnar. He has at least a glimmer of something coming out of this match. But Rollins, AJ Styles and Riddle were run through with a single F-5.
Even if Reigns vs. Lesnar is an all-time classic, what of the rest of the card? Beyond that, and we know the two women's title matches, what will the two-night WrestleMania 38 card look like?
There have been rumors floating about comeback matches for "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels to try to generate excitement. Beyond Reigns and Lesnar, there isn't a single standout "next man up" who feels like a legitimate title challenger. Former WWE champions Drew McIntyre and Big E have had monumentally frustrating and puzzling falls from the top into the midcard.
Even if WWE can successfully cobble together a great card for WrestleMania 38, its depth issues and struggles to make enough legitimate top stars on the men's side could come back to haunt it.
Lynch and Lita show out in a generation clash
Becky Lynch was a forgone conclusion to walk into WrestleMania as the Raw women's champion, and her match against Lita could've quickly degraded into a half-hearted nostalgia grab without much behind it.
And while Lynch did ultimately win the match with a Manhandle slam, she and Lita made their title match feel special, as both of them put on a spirited effort and received hearty support from a lively crowd.
Lynch dominated the action early, starting slow and making it ugly by going after Lita's neck, with Michael Cole mentioning the tactic regularly on commentary. Lita flipped the script with a counter DDT out of nowhere, and then it was off to the races.
Lita got her foot on the bottom rope after Lynch's first Manhandle slam and shook off several attempts at Lynch's signature Dis-arm-her submission. Lynch got bold when she attempted but missed a Lita-style moonsault, which fed directly into a Twist of Fate and a successful moonsault for Lita. It seemed like Lita could win for a second, though Lynch ultimately kicked out at two. And with her finishing move, Lynch made it official.
What's next: Lynch faces Belair at WrestleMania. Lita gave an exceptional performance in her first title match in over 15 years. If she wants to wrestle more, she should be granted the opportunity.
McIntyre continues puzzling drop in status (but not popularity) as he beats Moss
Drew McIntyre beat Brock Lesnar two years ago to win the WWE championship. Last year, he lost a hard-fought WWE title match against Lashley. But as everything starts to shake out for WrestleMania 38, McIntyre seems to be on a trajectory that's a far cry from his main event credentials.
Sure, he got the win over Madcap Moss in their Falls Count Anywhere match that, for some reason, ended in the middle of a wrestling ring. He even wildly swung a sword at Moss' compatriot, Happy Corbin, to chase Corbin from ringside. But McIntyre's rivalry with Moss and Corbin, which is yet to be wrapped up considering the post-match tensions on display, can't be described as anything but a step backward.
Full credit to Moss, as he put on a good show after getting dropped directly on his head and spine in the ring in a scary moment. But the rivalry gained little momentum outside of a major reaction for the popular McIntyre.
What's next: If this were the final moment of this story, it would have been fine. But dragging out this story further, McIntyre antagonized Corbin postmatch, which all but seals McIntyre's fate as an afterthought on the WrestleMania 38 card. I'm not sure if there's enough to stretch out Corbin vs. McIntyre into April, but at this point it wouldn't shock me if WWE tried.
Rousey's win ultimately proved little
The tag-team match pitting Ronda Rousey and Naomi against Charlotte Flair and Sonya Deville provided a look at Rousey's conditioning and in-ring movement in her first non-Rumble match since 2019. But with Rousey having an arm tied behind her back to balance out Deville's "arm injury," she acquitted herself well in Jeddah.
Rousey, sporting her pre-UFC judo gi, ultimately picked up the victory for her team with a one-armed armbar on Deville as Flair looked on apathetically. Still, the net result of this match ultimately didn't give us much of what we all wanted -- more of Rousey vs. Flair.
What's next: Rousey has six weeks to show where she's at physically ahead of what's going to be one of the WrestleMania main events. There's no doubting the tension or stakes Rousey and Flair have built and will continue to build, but if the match is a flop, it takes the air out of the highest-profile match WWE can do down the line: Rousey vs. Becky Lynch.
Belair set for back-to-back WrestleMania title matches
One year after defeating Sasha Banks for the SmackDown women's championship in one of the main events at WrestleMania 37, Bianca Belair will vie for the Raw women's championship after winning the women's Elimination Chamber match on Saturday. Belair won a gauntlet match on Monday to earn the right to enter Saturday's match last and then racked up a pair of eliminations on her way to victory. Belair was the clear favorite to win of all the participants in the women's Elimination Chamber match, but all six women showed out in a showcase performance.
Liv Morgan connected on a top rope sunset flip powerbomb to eliminate Doudrop. Alexa Bliss looked sharp in her first match since September. Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. put a bow on their rivalry. But most significantly, perhaps, Ripley and Belair continued their long, slow burn towards a future clash as two pillars for the future of the WWE women's division.
After leaving NXT in a similar window, both Ripley and Belair won world title matches at WrestleMania 37. And on this night, their face-to-face moments generated sparks. They held simultaneous vertical suplexes -- Ripley hoisting Bliss, Belair holding Morgan -- and tried to one-up each other. Belair ultimately eliminated Ripley from the match, albeit with some help as Belair clotheslined Bliss as she held Ripley in a DDT position. But even though Bliss was the last one eliminated from the match, and Belair locked up her spot for WrestleMania, Ripley exited the match with solid momentum.
What's next: Belair will face Becky Lynch at WrestleMania once Lynch all but certainly beats Lita later on in the night in their title match. The immediate future for the other five participants will likely be settled in the coming weeks ahead of WrestleMania.
Reigns officially punches his WrestleMania ticket
The outcome of Roman Reigns vs. Goldberg seemed to be as foregone a conclusion as any match during Reigns' 534 days (and counting) long reign as Universal champion.
But that doesn't mean there weren't a few surprises along the way.
The crowd in Jeddah wholeheartedly got into their "Goldberg" chants during his entrance and heartily cheered for the 55-year-old instead of acknowledging Reigns, the dominant champion. Goldberg even beat Reigns to the spear, a signature maneuver for both. But as he went for a jackhammer, Reigns shook it off and grabbed the momentum with his patented superman punch. But as he lined up his own spear, Goldberg got him again, with a second spear of his own.
But once again, Reigns shook off a jackhammer attempt and locked on a guillotine choke. Goldberg tried to fight out, supporting all of Reigns' body weight in the process, and even driving Reigns into the corner to try to knock him off. But Reigns didn't let go, and ultimately Goldberg went unconscious -- officially locking Reigns in for WrestleMania.
What's next: Reigns will face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 38. Only two questions remain: which night they'll headline and whether or not it'll be a title vs. title match. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Lesnar won't win the men's Elimination Chamber match later in the night. As for Goldberg, he could either show up for a showcase WrestleMania match or on a major show later in the year, but I'd set the odds at a little less than 50/50 he'll be on the card in Dallas.
Miz and Rey Mysterio set the tone, and Dominik shows his dark side
The match between Rey Mysterio and The Miz came together with little fanfare, just days before the show, and they were given the unenviable task of leading off the kickoff show. It would have been easy for both veterans to mail in an effort under the circumstances, Miz and Mysterio got the crowd riled up with a simple, old-school match that checked all the boxes while also laying the groundwork for the future.
The most interesting element is how Mysterio's son, Dominik, factored in. With Miz's wife, Maryse, absent from ringside and unable to lean on some underhanded tactics to help Miz, Dominik did that work on Rey's behalf. At several points during the match, Dominik bent the rules and either distracted or physically interacted with The Miz, culminating with Miz framing Dominik with a phantom chair shot, ala Eddie Guerrero. The ensuing chaos was Miz's undoing, though, as Rey rolled Miz up for a pinfall victory.
Unsatisfied with the outcome, Miz attacked Rey post-match, and Dominik returned to save his dad. Miz received a pair of 619s and frog splashes as his comeuppance.
What's next: With Rey as the cover athlete for the upcoming WWE2K video game release, it seems as though he'd be in line for a significant WrestleMania match. And what could be a bigger match than father vs. son at WrestleMania? The timeline could be tight, but Dominik's continued flexibility with the rules could be a prerequisite for turning towards the dark side.