WWE Elimination Chamber Chatter (Full Review)
The WWE Elimination Chamber festivities kicked off with a pre-show hosted by Jonathan Coachman, Booker T, Beth Phoenix, and Sam Roberts. The Bar and Heavy Machinery came in between video packages to pepper in their awesomeness while news about Charlotte Flair reinjuring Becky Lynch at a house show after she came out from the crowd during Flair’s match with Asuka was relayed.
Before you ask for the real gossip, you know Charlotte brought Ken, her favourite boyfriend, to that match! Backstage we were treated to a scene with Charlotte and the Riott Squad, followed by more hosting and a promo of Alexa Bliss looking cute and giving Tamina and Nia Jax her support in their fight to be the first Women’s Tag Team Champions.
Her lashes were perfectly on point. In the same way, Xavier Woods and Big E talked about supporting Kofi Kingston, who was competing in the World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber match.
A note: Screw strobe lighting SO HARD. Get me that pyro any day.
The Cruiserweight Championship held by Buddy Murphy was up for grabs versus Akira Tozawa, which was a great match, with several brutal combos and reversals. Murphy retained. Kevin Owens cut a promo about supporting Riott Squad members, Becky Lynch, and Finn Balor. I think he was talking to us from a parking garage. Mark Henry supported The IIconics, the commentators wrapped up, and it was time for the show to open!
Fighting With My Family is a sponsor? I’d never have guessed. Renee Young’s flirty micro-houndstooth sleeveless pantsuit was stunning. It feels a lot like someone’s holding Renee’s leash tight on commentary over the last few weeks, and that continued tonight. We won’t talk about Corey Graves.
The first-ever Women’s Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber match was a stacked card: Samoan Slaughterhouse (Nia Jax and Tamina) v The Riott Squad (Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan) v Fire & Desire (Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose) v The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce) v Boss and Hug Connection (Sasha Banks and Bayley) v Naomi and Carmella. Naomi and Carmella’s entrance was insanely well choreographed for an entrance with black lights. Beth Phoenix joined the RAW commentary team at this point, and The Riott Squad looked so badass; it’s great to see Sarah Logan with a makeup look that suits her character. She’s fresh-faced and I’m about it!
The IIconics debuted royal blue, black, and white outfits in their signature fabrics, and Billie Kay’s new extensions were no joke. Tamina and Nia were next, and Jax debuted blue and gold ring gear. That left the two starting teams: Fire & Desire with their new black and gold gear, and the Boss and Hug Connection in matching yellow and silver gear. During the first portion of the match, the energy was low and something happened to Mandy Rose’s front teeth (I think a makeup issue because she wasn’t spitting blood). The camera work made me a little sick, I hope they dial that mess back about 20% before Mania.
The Riott Squad came out throwing hands and feet AND other opponents. There were loads of people thrown around at that point, and the next team released was the IIconics. They make me giggle like Pokemon’s Team Rocket, and they gave it their best shot by near-fall pinning all of the women who weren’t standing. They’d have tried to pin the referee at that point. Naomi and Carmella came out looking agile, and watching those two is a blast. And as the IIconics eliminated them, it almost elevated the IIconics. #NiaJax and Tamina were the final team to enter the ring, and after a royal butt kicking all the way around, the IIconics bolted themselves back in their pod. Nia and Tamina forced the pod open and hauled them out, for a double Samoan drop and double pin, eliminating the #IIconics.
The Riott Squad was eliminated by the Samoan Slaughterhouse. Everyone left went in together to take out Jax and pin Tamina, eliminating the Samoan Slaughterhouse. Sonya Deville tapped out to the leg-modified Banks Statement, and Sasha Banks and Bayley were crowned the inaugural Women’s Tag Team Champions. Slow start, brutal finish, it was a great first match if only because it gradually warmed the crowd. That warmth and good will lasted throughout most of the show, especially since the crowd wanted Banks and Bayley to win. Everyone cried a lot. It was pretty darned historic as advertised on the tin.
Smackdown Live Men’s Tag Championship was on the block next, and Maryse accompanied the Miz to announce another baby! Mini Mizanin #2 is on the way, and the crowd let Miz know he’s still got it. Don’t worry, everyone’s well aware at this point! Congratulations, Maryse and Mike!
Shane entered with his title on, and he sadly did look like he was rockin the bad kind of “dad bod”. When you’re in the ring with The Miz, who has a very different “dad bod”, it’s more noticeable. The Greatest Tag Team Of All Time united in the ring, ready to defend their titles.
The Usos hit the ring ready to rip someone’s throat out. It felt like Jimmy Uso’s Worst Weekend Ever would continue. It didn’t last, however, as McMiz fought hard and sweaty but Jimmy made Mike take the pin. Looks like it became the Best Weekend Ever, after all! And your new Tag Team Champions!
Promo time! FWMF had its commercial and Dasha Fuentes interviewed incumbent IC champ Bobby Lashley and his valet Lio Rush. Finn Balor was Lashley’s challenger and Lio Rush made it a handicap IC title match. Everyone wanted Balor to win, and no one really wanted to pay attention. That said, Finn was quite um…happy to be there. This wasn’t helped by the camera angles that seemed tailor-made to show off Finn’s business.
Another note: By this point in the show, the obnoxious quick zoom editing had calmed significantly. Maybe one day we can have more pyro and less strobing to go with sensible action broadcasting!
Balor ejected Lashley from the ring and pinned Rush for the win. Finn running like a kid late for school punctuated this quick match! And your new Intercontinental Champion!
YAS KING SLAY, this marks his first title since dropping the Universal Championship due to injury. And then Lashley kicked Rush’s ass. Where does that leave Lio Rush in Monday Night RAW, now that he’s no longer Bobby’s valet?
Charlotte Flair came out to watch the RAW Women’s Championship match and give us the next part of the Dark Charlotte Saga. The crowd was full of Free Becky signs, and that warmed my little black heart!
Give Ruby Riott a real chance, WWE. That’s all I’m gonna say. #RondaRousey, the champion, came out dressed as Sonya Blade from Mortal Kombat 11, whom she voiced. Her makeup was so sweet, but her gear was so savage and cool looking! I hope she single-handedly brings crop tactical jackets into fashion! Rousey made Riott tap out and retained her title. Charlotte came out to the ring to face down Ronda, and Becky Lynch came out on crutches in the best Jean Grey ‘New X-Men’ costume I’ve ever seen.
Crutches, it turns out, are a great blunt object in a pinch! Ronda just hung out in the background, vaguely impressed, until Becky offered her a crutch with which to beat Charlotte. She, of course, took it and Becky hit Ronda with a cheap shot from behind. Becky was escorted out in handcuffs by security, Charlotte escaped, and Ronda got her head busted open. These things happen, and I hope they happen again at Wrestlemania 35. The match and aftermath fulfilled their purpose!
Baron Corbin v Braun Strowman was the penultimate match of the night, and it was a ‘No Disqualification’ match. It was the match no one wanted and should have been bumped for the Cruiserweight Champ fight IMO. Corbin immediately found Dark Charlotte’s boyfriend Ken under the ring and things got interesting as three-ways generally do. Was that a small child that Corbin just threw? Was it Lio Rush? No, just a chair! The stairs were next, and I didn’t hold out a lot of hope for the Spanish announce table. Braun got a totally separate table from under the ring apron (who stores this stuff under a ring? I’ve wondered that for like at least 30 years now). Drew McIntyre hauled ass to the ring at a pace copyrighted by the horror movie villain’s union, and he brought Lashley and a chair or three. Everyone proceeded to go after Strowman, and it sure looked like someone was gonna put the ‘oh hell no’ in ‘no DQ’. It also put a W beside Corbin’s name as Strowman took the pin, battered by Corbin’s new croneys.
Next came commercials, recaps, and a backstage scene between The Miz and Shane. The Miz got really upset at himself for eating the pin and losing the titles, and Shane sent him home to cool his head. For some reason, Lacey Evans showed up next in a very impractical skirt to walk around and be pretty. No, really, I was expecting trash talking or EC3 posing or Dean insulting her handbag. Nothing. Sigh.
Gosh, a note! Fastlane’s PPV song is really awful. I hope they change it. There, I said it.
The main event, WWE’s World Heavyweight Championship #EliminationChamber Match featuring champ Daniel Bryan v AJ Styles v Samoa Joe v Randy Orton v Kofi Kingston v Jeff Hardy, came together next. The New Day came out as a unit to support Kofi Kingston, and Jeff Hardy followed. A strobe light entrance from Orton meant I had to look away AGAIN. I know I’m not the only one who can’t handle that nonsense. The Kaiju Among Men, Samoa Joe, looked ready to dominate, and the reigning Champion Daniel Bryan (with Rowan and a microphone) were next. There was a round of Whats and Fickles, and Rowan was ejected before he got down the ramp fully. DBry went on about suffering for the greater good and pulled a delightful toasty heat from the Houston crowd. I somehow missed AJ’s entrance, but eh. Whatever.
We’ve all seen it like 80 times. Daniel Bryan and Joe did their back and forth (mostly Joe going forth to kick Bryan’s back). Joe hauled him back to the ring when he tried to run away, because Samoa Joe knows Daniel can do this! They did some cardio and tandem yoga in the ring, and my heart was filled with Joe’s generosity. Good Friend Samoa Joe strikes again (mainly in the face). And all Daniel Bryan gave him in return were Yes kicks, what a jerk! Kofi Kingston came out of his pod and he’s been doing just fine. Everyone wanted him to win tonight.
Such notes there are: None of the men have new ring gear tonight. I guess if you’re not making history, you’re heading to CoinStar to save up for Mania.
AJ Styles found his way out of the pod next and came for #DanielBryan’s entire life. Jeff Hardy went for AJ when he entered the match, and Bryan eliminated him. Then we got to see AJ Styles become the kind of Good Friend that Samoa Joe needed! AJ knew that Joe had fought really hard, and he had to make sure Joe got some rest before he hurt himself. It’s good to see them being such Good Friends! Orton eliminated Styles, and Kingston saw what a Bad Friend Randy was being. He handily eliminated Orton and remained to face Bryan.
Several near-falls following brutal attacks came one after another after another, and the crowd was truly and fully awake. Every time Kofi’s luck seemed to run out, the audience went insane, chanting and clapping like they believed in fairies. Kingston was their champion going into this match, and he fought his rump off to leave it as everyone’s champion. But a high-risk flight from the top of one of the pods ended in him taking the loss, and the whole arena went silent as Daniel exited the chamber, retaining his WWE World Heavyweight Championship. I call it now: that belt is gonna get lit on fire at Mania. Pyro will return.
Kofi’s tag team partners Xavier and Big E came to the ring to get their beloved friend as the whole arena chanted “Thank you, Kofi”. Daniel Bryan may have won the battle, but Kofi Kingston seems to be winning a far bigger war.
Houston crowds can be brutal, but if a performer gives their all, they become engrossed and have a great time. This crowd had a few struggles to overcome, but they were a wonderful part of this event by buying into the finish of nearly every match. If only all cities were so invested!
I ended up being pretty Sports-Entertained, and I’d recommend checking this out on the Network if you missed it live. It wasn’t the reckless ride of the Royal Rumble, and it wasn’t the steaming pile like Crown Jewel. Sure, it served to get a belt on Balor, transition the Miz off for more filming and dad time, build #KofiKingston, and add hype to the Rousey/Flair/Lynch Wrestlemania main event. But the point of this PPV was always the debut of the Women’s Tag Team Championships, and since it happened at the beginning of the show right after a strong Cruiserweight Championship match on the pre-show, it was easy to forget the gravity of that.
Congratulations to our new champions Sasha Banks, Bayley, Finn Balor, Jey Uso, and Jimmy Uso! Congratulations to the retaining champs Daniel Bryan, Ronda Rousey, and Buddy Murphy! See you for more graps next time!
#LaurenGoodnight thinks you’re all numpties.
Follower her twitter @lulugoodnight
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