Smackdown Elimination Chamber
Cesaro v Daniel Bryan v King Corbin v Sami Zayn v Kevin Owens v Jey Uso
Pre-match notes: Cesaro's jacket says "Love Wrestling" and announcers also mentioned "Wrestling" when talking about Daniel Bryan.
Cesaro and Bryan start the match well with a couple of good spots, King Corbin is the first out of his pod and gets 3 or 4 minutes of looking dominant doing damage to one and then moving over to the other.
Sami Zayn is chosen to go next, but he slides his door back shut, Corbin tries to get the ref to open the slider but she shouts “what can I do?” at this point I’m sat there thinking “the other door also slides...” and then 15 seconds later when it’s the correct moment, the other door slides open and Cesaro gets Zayn out.
Cesaro & Zayn do that I'm going to climb away from you spot”, but it worked well because of Zayn's character of being a chickenshit. Cesaro doing some pulls ups was classic Steiner behaviour. Perfect for his current resurgence, but overall did the spot lead to anything? No. So it didn’t feel poignant
Cesaro eliminates King Corbin with a swing and a sharpshooter.
Zayn tries to appeal to Owens by actually saying actually some true stuff “they don’t want us”, “we’re not the poster boys” But Owens bounces him off the pods for his troubles.
The pace of the match begins to pick up here with some signature moves being busted out and everyone getting offence in.
Jey Uso comes out of his pod and him and Owens immediately go for the Kevin Owens “hold on and punch each other” shtick. Owens throws Jey Uso into a pod and knocks out a plastic panel on the exterior of the chamber... “No escaping the chamber” I think was said earlier....
Anyway, Owens does a dive, hits some stunners and eliminates Sami Zayn.
Jey Uso then does something pretty different and uses the door to trap Owen’s arm, give him a few superkicks, rolls him in the ring and does his splash to eliminate Kevin Owens. Nice heel work.
Uso then sells this for A LONG time while Daniel Bryan and Cesaro go back and forth with some good trades and some near falls. Cesaro does an amazing one-legged swing on the knee Daniel Bryan has been selling since early on before it’s interrupted by Uso who then hits a frogsplash on Cesaro to eliminate him leaving just Daniel Bryan and Jey Uso. Jey Uso gets a near fall on Bryan then goes for a big splash from the top of the pod but Bryan gets the knees up before hitting a running knee and pinning Uso.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Rating: 3.5 Stars
This match fairly decent, nothing happened which was bullshit or completely stupid, just a good case of 6 guys trying to win a championship match. I expected either Owens or Uso to win, so Bryan winning here was a nice surprise.
Post-match: Roman Reigns then enters... So, I guess we’re getting this match right now!
Announcers do a good job of selling Daniel Bryan’s exhaustion and current physical state.
WWE Universal Championship match
Roman Reigns (C) v Daniel Bryan
From the bell Roman tries a spear but gets put straight into the Yes! lock! But it comes to nothing as Reigns pulls himself out of it and sets about brutalizing's Daniel Bryan seemingly knocking him out with strikes and a powerbomb, but winning with a choke when Bryan was already out.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Rating: 1 Star
It only gets that because for a second, I thought Daniel Bryan was going to win with the clever Yes lock.
Post-match: Edge comes out of nowhere and hits Reigns with a spear and points to the Wrestlemania sign before calmly putting his hands behind his back and whispering in Reigns’ ear just like was done to him on Raw. The expected Edge v Roman Reigns match at Wrestlemania it is. Good.
Segment: Bad Bunny promo, talking about him being a fan, being on SNL putting over how much they love him. This leads into Bad Bunny talking to Sonya Deville before being interrupted by the Miz asking him what he’s doing here. Bad Bunny says he’s the 24/7 champion, what is Miz doing here, he’s not a champion. The leads to pushes and slaps and Damian Priest arrives to protect Bad Bunny. Pointless.
WWE United States Championship Match
Riddle v John Morrison v Bobby Lashley (C)
Pre-match notes: Riddle is wearing a red white and blue ensemble treating the US title like a gimmick and we get a new commentary team.
Apparently, John Morrison won a match on the pre-show to be here?
MVP is selling the knee injury from Raw, Lashley is the best US champion WWE have had in years I’d hate to see him lose it here.
Morrison stays out of it while Lashley goes after Riddle, but Morrison is soon made to look stupid for this.
Lashley almost killed the referee when running to hit the ropes. It took one hell of a dash for the ref not to get squashed. This made me laugh.
Lashley is dominant for a long period of time, he has to be going for a World Championship soon? Surely. He’s never looked better. Anyway, Morrison and Riddle agree to team up on Lashley, because that always works out... SPOILER! It doesn’t work out.
The announcer states “This is the one title that has alluded John Morrison in his distinguished career” SPOILER! It’s not.
Riddle and Morrison go back and forth for a bit which is okay, Lashley comes back in, eats a Floating Bro and a Starship Pain in quick succession but he kicks out. MVP talks shit to Morrison, who steals his crutch. Morrison then aims at Lashley who turns it into a full nelson, but Riddle picks up the crutch and hits Lashley with it a couple of times before pinning Morrison.
Winner and new WWE United States Champion: Riddle
Rating: 3 stars
It was an okay match which I assume was purposefully designed to almost look like a handicap match at times where it took a distraction, a weapon and not being pinned himself to beat Lashley. This does a good job to protect him going forward.
Post-match: Lashley looks near to tears in fury which you’d think makes him look weak... it does not! Which does a good job of making me wonder just what he’s going to do next.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match
Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair v Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (C)
Pre-match notes: Michael Cole refers to the 6-person tag on Smackdown containing 5 women as a “6-man tag”.
Instead of just having the entrance of Sasha & Bianca... they’re in an interview segment... WHY? This was interrupted by Reggie who sucks up and says he’s going to get a little bit of the bubbly. Belair teases making her Wrestlemania decision. Then at last we get the entrances. I won’t lie. Sasha & Bianca are in my top three-way fantasies, but I digress.
Side note... If Nia Jax screams about her “hole” the rest of the match will get fast-forwarded.
Nia is AWFUL. She sells a dropkick from Belair horrifically, then a few seconds later takes a bulldog from Banks by landing on her knees with her face landing about a foot from the mat. She’s awful on offence, awful at selling, I’m not really sure what her strengths are.
Baszler on the other hand is decent. Just looking like she is out to hurt the opponent. Her use of joint manipulation is on par with Pete Dunne. That’s a compliment.
Nia and Shayna get most of the offence cutting Sasha Banks off from Belair, it’s almost like somebody who knows tag wrestling put this match together. Sasha does the babyface in peril thing and cannot get the tag, BUT then this all ends in a cold flat-footed back-slap tag instead of the hot tag they were building up. I take back what I said before about the agent involved knowing tag team wrestling. Banks does another back-slap tag which would be the fourth in this match... THESE AREN’T LEGAL TAGS.
Anyway, Reggie comes out with some champagne and throws Sasha the bottle which causes an unnecessary distraction where she tells him she won’t use it and the ref takes it away. Nia Jax and her hole get the pin.
Winners: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
Rating: 1.5 stars
The fundamentals of a basic tag team match were started and then forgotten straight within minutes. To keep the titles on Jax & Baszler this match should have been Sasha & Belair losing because of an in-match misunderstanding or one making a mistake which then causes Belair to pick Sasha for Wrestlemania if that’s the direction they’re going on.
Segment: MVP is shown talking to The Miz with no audio. We're getting an assisted cash in aren't we? Ugh. I'll discuss my issue with this if this comes to pass.
WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match
Jeff Hardy vs Randy Orton v Drew McIntyre (C) v Kofi Kingston v AJ Styles v Sheamus
Pre-match notes: This ring announcer is doing a good job of impersonating Justin Roberts. That is NOT a compliment. AJ Styles is accompanied by Omos who’s staying ringside but why is Omos allowed to stay ringside when Sami Zayn’s film crew were not? This tells me he’ll have a part to play. Entrances take FOREVER.
Randy Orton & Jeff Hardy start in the ring and within seconds, literally seconds, it’s outside of the ring and Hardy is being thrown into pods. I’m sure that camera operators were never in the chamber before... when did this happen? I hope they’re getting paid extra danger money. But some camera angles in this match look awful and having the camera guy right there in the corner of the chamber itself so far this match is heavily distracting.
McIntyre is in next, he does an okay job of taking over and looking strong.
Oh shock! A camera operator gets in the way as McIntyre longdarts Hardy into a pod and McIntyre looks legit annoyed by him being in the way saying “I told you move”.
Moments later Kofi comes in to the match and goes straight for Randy Orton where he eliminates him with the shittiest looking pin I have seen since Stone Cold pinned Owen Hart with a broken neck. Orton then hits Kofi with an RKO for his troubles.
Remember the panel that I mentioned fell off the pod accidentally earlier? Well, we now find out it’s because it’s been gimmicked and Omos pulls it off to free AJ Styles. AJ runs around and enters through the open door that Randy is leaving through meaning he gets in before his time is allowed. If it’s no DQ, why didn’t he take Omos in there with him? If you’re going to break the rules, break the rules properly! Anyway, Adam Pearce comes out and ejects Omos. AJ doesn’t use this to get the elimination on anyone and so he just gives himself more time in the match actually disadvantaging himself. So this is a wet popcorn fart of an in-match angle and serves to make AJ look dumb. If he’d have got in early and eliminated one or even two guys, this would have looked smart.
Buzzer goes and Sheamus is in last. McIntyre waits for him and they stare at each other before punching each other over and over and over and over. Kofi and Hardy get involved, only to get thrown out of the ring so Sheamus and McIntyre can go back at each other.
A bullshit stack powerbomb superplex thing happens with everyone except Kofi, then some pins and a “let's all stand and wait for Kofi to jump on us” spot. So far, this match hasn’t been exactly inspiring. Some hard hits here and there, but nothing amazing. Moment later Sheamus eliminates Kofi Kingston after a Brogue Kick.
Jeff Hardy has a twist of fate which Sheamus sold as a stunner and then another for McIntyre. This is followed by an awkward moment where you can clearly see AJ contemplating breaking up a pin before realising that would be stupid. Hardy then gives AJ a Twist of Fate and then goes to top of pod and hits a splash onto Sheamus and McIntyre, then goes back to AJ and hits a Swanton Bomb before McIntyre gives him the Claymore for the elimination.
AJ gets puts to a side to allow the focus to go back on McIntyre and Sheamus, then in a lull he comes back into it making McIntyre look strong by kicking out of two springboard splash moves.
Sheamus starts talking to AJ whilst hitting him and dragging him around. There’s a lot of talking in WWE matches these days huh?
Back to McIntyre and Sheamus before Sheamus hits a Brogue Kick on McIntyre followed by AJ Styles giving Sheamus the Phenomenal Forearm and eliminating Sheamus.
AJ then goes for a springboard move but gets hit by a claymore to win the match
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Rating: 3 stars
An okay match with some decent spots, this wasn’t as good as the first chamber match. The personal story of McIntyre and Sheamus just wasn’t told well enough for me and that hurt the match overall.
Post-match: Bobby Lashley attacks and brutalises McIntyre. This follows MVP talking to The Miz a little while ago. I’m guessing we’re getting a cash-in momentarily. YUP! Here’s the cash in!
So we get...
WWE Championship Match
Drew McIntyre (C) vs The Miz
The ref gets Drew McIntyre standing. Miz runs at him and hits a DDT, McIntyre kicked out of the following pin. Skull Crushing Finale into the pin to win.
Winner and new WWE Champion: The Miz
Rating: 0 Stars
Because The Miz being WWE Champion was great before right? I can only assume MVP was talking The Miz into giving Lashley a WWE Championship shot. Probably at Fastlane, seeing Lashley walk into Wrestlemania as the WWE Champion against Drew McIntyre. Because anything else at this point would just be ridiculous. Think about Sheamus... 2 weeks ago he ended a 20 year friendship to get the title right? And now, his former friend doesn’t even have the belt. So... That's point 1. Point 2 is WHY THE FUCK WOULD LASHLEY HELP THE MIZ AFTER MIZ'S FRIEND IS THE REASON HE NO LONGER HAS THE US CHAMPIONSHIP? Why isn't Lashley more pissed at John Morrison? So this obviously leads to Lashley being promised the first title match... but then that begs.. why would The Miz make this deal? There's no massive upside to this. If he cashes in tonight, McIntyre has already been through 30 minutes of Elimination Chamber match, surely him and Morrison making the attack with some chairs and cashing has the same effect without now confusing everything.
So now we have this confusing situation...
- Miz is a champion nobody wants, who's mad at Bad Bunny for slapping him and Damian Priest for staring him down.
- Lashley is no-doubt mad at Morrison for losing his title and mad at Riddle for winning it.
- McIntyre is mad at The Miz for a coward cash-in, Lashley for assisting and Sheamus for breaking up their friendship.
- Sheamus will be mad at McIntyre because, he already is, he'll be mad at Lashley for taking the championship match vs McIntyre away from him and The Miz for being the champion now (as that was his initial problem with McIntyre).
- John Morrison is probably still mad at Bad Bunny by association who is backed up by Damian Priest who also.
So how does this all get resolved? It's stupid.
This is now a mess of intermeshed bullshit that just feels unnecessary.
Overall, it was an okay show RUINED with a hugely disappointing end because I can’t think of a person alive wanting to see The Miz actually win the WWE Championship. It’s not even a good heel thing, it’s a proper “go away” kind of title reign we’ll get with boring gloating and bullshit AND as you can see... it's just super confused everything going towards Wrestlemania.
Also.. here's the important counters:
"Title / Championship Opportunity" was said 14 times.
"Road to Wrestlemania" was screamed by an announcer 8 times.