Elimination Chamber aired this past Saturday, coming to us live at noon Eastern from Saudia Arabia. There’s not much else for me to contribute to the conversation around WWE’s involvement in Saudi Arabia, as it’s pretty much all been covered. This was the first time Elimination Chamber aired from Saudi Arabia, and yet another Saturday premium live event. I’m gonna have to find something else to do with my Sundays.
The show was fairly mid; Elimination Chamber relies on its titular gimmick matches and tends to pad the rest of the card with mediocre to okay feuds. This year, we were treated to a 2.5 star Roman Reigns vs. Goldberg title match, where Bill earned his check by delivering a performance only 20% as good as Santa’s Slay. We had the bizarre pairing of Naomi and Ronda Rousey (putting Rousey with a talent who can not only wrestle very well but also possess natural charisma feels a bit like a cruel joke) taking on Charlotte Flair and Sonya Deville. These storylines were thrown together in quick fashion, so I’m not really sure why I’m supposed to buy someone as cool as Naomi sticking up for Rousey, but the match itself wasn’t terrible. All discourse aside, WWE has actually committed to delivering some excellent women’s matches when they fly overseas — Sasha and Bianca back in the fall was another example. I’m about as interested in watching Rousey wrestle as I am interested in getting stuck in Jeddah airport while my boss flies back in a private jet, but if there’s one thing Naomi can do, it’s carry a match.
- WWE’s History of Illegal Immigration Storylines and Stereotyping Mexican Talent
- Reexamining Shawn Michaels Losing His Smile, 25 Years Later
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I’m gonna let that story unfold a bit more before I try to dive into it, because there’s a lot of time left for WWE to, once again, give up on giving Naomi the spotlight she deserves. Instead, we can go back to my very old friend, professional fake Marine turned wrestler, the Miz. When we last saw him, Miz was feuding with Edge about being a good dad and having a hot wife. This culminated in Maryse hitting Edge with a huricanrana, a move she should be allowed to employ on all HOFers, in my opinion. This left Miz crawling back to Raw to target another much loved father; Rey Mysterio.
Meet the Mysterios
There’s a real will-they-won’t-they between Rey and Dominik over ending their father and son relationship of the past 24 years, but I imagine WWE is gonna wait another eight months to pull the trigger on that one. Anyway, Dominik tried to help his dad by taking a chair from Miz, but the A-Lister shouted out Dom’s other father and pretended he’d been attacked instead. Dom was thrown out, but Rey avenged his premature ejection by countering a Skull Crushing Finale into a roll up. It was fine! It was the kickoff, so we’re talking like 11:00 AM here, and honestly this was all I needed to see at 11:00 AM on a Saturday.
I’ve talked a lot about how much I admire the Miz; he’s one of the greats of this generation, and he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon. WWE gives this man anything, and he makes it entertaining. Last WrestleMania season, he and John Morrison put over Bad Bunny in, hands down, one of the best celebrity matches ever. In fact, Miz is the perfect guy to use in celeb matches. Similar to his work with Edge, he’s never shy to put over his opponents in the way they need. Bunny came out of WrestleMania looking like he could have stepped up to Reigns, while Edge’s defeat of Miz has helped cement him as a current threat, and not just as a much loved Hall of Famer. He’s able to walk that line between vague pop cultural relevancy (star of USA network’s hit show Miz and Mrs, which my grandmother watches religiously) and devoted WWE company guy. So, if anyone can once again attempt to bring Logan Paul into wrestling, it’s Michael Mizanin.
On Monday night, Miz tore apart Dominik for being a nepo baby before re-introducing Logan Paul to the non-YouTube faithful, or anyone who wasn’t alive in the year 2015. Paul dropped some jokes about Rey being short, and Dom uttered his first ever curse word, before accepting the tag match at WrestleMania. Miz and Paul then beat down the Mysterios and gave each other a cute little hug to the sound of vaguely annoyed boos. Miz hit Rey with a Skull-Crushing Finale, and Logan followed in his new father’s footsteps as he took out Dom. Paul then took to Twitter to brag about their accomplishment, already filling the shoes of ‘terminally online professional wrestler’ quite nicely.
Return of the Logang
Paul’s return was not so beloved as, say, Bad Bunny in the Rumble, but I’m honestly kind of excited for it. I have very few YouTuber opinions outside of the world of theme park reviewers, but Paul is very well known as a celebrity outside of his platinum play buttons. His fight against Floyd Mayweather this summer was a hot ticket event even for everyone in my life who knows nothing about boxing. If there’s one thing that brings us together as a society, it’s some blonde guy from the internet getting punched in the face. And Miz knows several things about being so hated everyone that even their mom wants to sock it to you.
Paul is dislikable on his own, but so are most non-wrestler performers, just by virtue of wrestling fans’ intense need to gatekeep everything. He’s got that snotty kind of face that reminds you of the guy who negged you at the sophomore spring formal. The fact that he’s genuinely a capable athlete only makes it all the worse. Add in the forgettable waste of time program he had us last year with Sami Zayn, who always deserves better, and I can’t expect anyone to jump for joy at the Maverick’s return.
— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) February 22, 2022
The problem with Paul’s previous wrestling venture was the attempt to make him likable. Zayn is an excellent heel, but even when the fans hate him, he’s still beloved. But Miz, who is honestly better at being hated than anyone since maybe Edge in 2004, is the perfect choice to pull Paul back into an arena where the majority of people already feel pretty meh towards him. The former SVU guest star is a great talker, which also lends him to meshing well with Miz. Dominik is growing in confidence on the mic, but it’ll help if he’s got someone to generate some very natural sounding boos. Miz’s ability to generate heat off absolutely anything WWE asks him to is a god-given gift, but Paul might end up giving him a run for his money.
I can’t go into this WrestleMania match expecting perfection, but I will admit I’m pretty excited to see what the foursome cooks up. As I said, Miz has the experience of helping celebs look like a million bucks, and Rey has been putting on nonstop bangers for most of his life. It won’t be the headliner, but it hardly needs to be. If Paul can scrape out any more relevancy in wrestling, that alone will be a win.