On Sunday night, the Toyota Center in Houston, TX hosted WWE’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. The card was a short one, as there was only seven matches total with one being on the kickoff show.
The main match stipulation of the Elimination Chamber where we saw the WWE title defended in one while the other was to crown the first ever Women’s Tag Team Champions. Here is my review for the entire night.
Cruiserweight Championship – Buddy Murphy (c) def. Akira Tozawa (pre-show)
Another PPV, another WWE Cruiserweight Championship on the pre-show as Buddy Murphy defended his title against Akira Tozawa, who was looking to become the third superstar to hold the title twice in its short history.
Tozawa attempted a suicide dive early in the match but wound up on the receiving end of a suplex onto the arena floor. The challenger fought from underneath and sent Murphy to the floor with a hip toss. The action came back into the ring, as a superkick stunned Murphy and allowed Tozawa to create some momentum.
He continued his attack with kicks and quick strikes. He tried for a superplex but the champion powered out. Tozawa caught him in the air with a snap head scissors for a near victory.
The action picked up and Tozawa floored Murphy with two straight suicide dives. He delivered his signature falling senton across the back of his opponent. The crowd got into it as Murphy shot his shoulder off the mat at two. Tozawa tired for a submission, but the champion escaped and delivered Murphy’s Law to secure the victory.
Murphy once again produced a great match and has shown he a legit competitor, even if the 205 Live matches get stuck on the pre-show. It’ll be interesting to see what the plan is for Murphy and the rest of the Cruiserweight Division heading into WrestleMania.
The inaugural Women’s Tag Team Championship – Sasha Banks & Bayley last eliminated Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose in an Elimination Chamber match
The historic Elimination Chamber match kicked off the main show to crown the first ever Women’s Tag Team Champions. The teams of The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection (Bayley and Sasha Banks) and Fire and Desire (Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville) started off at 1 and 2, which was expected after both triple threat matches during last weeks Raw and SmackDown matches
Banks and Bayley started off hot, overwhelming their opponents, which led to an assisted cross body block from Banks to Deville and Rose on the chamber floor. The heels fought back, sending both Banks and Bayley face-first into the steel chain on the side of the chamber.
After Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan entered with a Bayley superplex to follow, The IIconics’ Billie Kay and Peyton Royce entered the match. They set their sights on Banks and Bayley, wearing them down and scoring more than one near-falls. This followed with Carmella and Naomi entering the match next and delivered a series of seated corner sentons.
After weeks of build between the two, Naomi finally went up against Rose. It did not last long, as Kay and Royce rolled her up for the first elimination of the night. Nia Jax and Tamina Snuka entered the match last, obliterating anyone in their path. They eyed The IIconics, who ended up hiding inside a pod. They pried open the pod, pulled the Aussies from the pod and swung them like ragdolls into the cage. A double Samoan Drop ended The IIconics night.
Bayley and Banks recovered and turned their attention to The Riott Squad but Rose and Deville interrupted. Logan and Morgan then launched themselves off the top of one of the pods and delivered cross body blocks, wiping the opposition in the process. It was the end of the night for them after, as Jax delivered a Samoan Drop to Morgan and Tamina followed with a splash for the elimination. Jax and Tamina were the powerhouses early and took down everyone until Jax went crashing into the pod after Banks dodged out of the way in time. This left Tamina at a disadvantage as Bayley, Banks, Rose and Deville teamed up together to take down Tamina and eliminate the once dominant team.
The final four came down to the teams we originally started with. Rose climbed the chamber but quickly found herself joined by Banks and Bayley on top of a pod. Deville tried to join but was knocked down as well as Bayley, who landed on the support beam of the pod. While Banks was checking on her partner, she was sent into the pod, making for one of the high spots of the match.
After some back and forth between both teams, Banks was able to make Deville submit to a modified Bank Statement to become the first ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. Post-match, Bayley and Banks cut a heartfelt promo celebrating their victory.
This chamber match was better than I expected. WWE learned from the last tag team chamber match to not have the match crowded too early and everyone was able to get some offense in. Jax and Tamina were booked great here and having more than one team take that down was good storytelling. Rose and Deville also get props here for a good showing and potentially put them in the title picture for a while longer.
Bayley and Banks winning was the right move as they have been the favorites to be Women’s Tag Team Champions. The women’s tag division has a lot of potential and I am excited to see where this goes.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship – The Usos def. The Miz & Shane McMahon (c)
Before the match began, The Miz brought out his wife Maryse to announce that they are expecting their second child. Congrats to the couple!
Miz and Shane McMahon showed solid chemistry early as they took the fight to one of the best tag teams in the WWE, The Usos. Jimmy and Jey did isolate Miz after the early showing. He finally created separation and hot-tagged McMahon in. After some solid strikes and a DDT, he connected with his signature Coast to Coast to Jimmy. He tried second but ran into a superkick from Jey. Miz broke up the pinfall and McMahon tagged him in officially.
Miz had some momentum but a Samoan drop from Jey halted that. He recovered with a DDT for another near-fall. The action went to ringside as Miz tore apart the announce table and dodged a flying attack that sent Jimmy into Jey. This allowed McMahon to get his one high spot in and delivered an elbow from the top onto Jey and through the table.
While that was happening, Jimmy received a Skull Crushing Finale from Miz. Jimmy, however, countered into a roll up for the win and become six-time tag team champions.
The match was exactly what I expected with Shane McMahon having one big high spot combined with a solid showing from Miz and The Usos. This now looks to be the falling apart storyline of one of the shortest tag team reigns in Miz and McMahon as they probably look to starting up their singles feud heading into WreslteMania 35. As for The Usos, they’ll look to go up against another team in SmackDown’s star-studded tag division.
Intercontinental Championship – Finn Bálor def. Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush in a Handicap match
Finn Bálor was set for revenge after the past weeks of attacks from Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush in a 2-on-1 Handicap match for the Intercontinental Championship.
Lashley had the strength advantage from the beginning, overpowering the smaller Bálor. A distraction from Rush allowed Lashley to continue his assault. Rush then entered and unloaded with strikes.
Lashley re-entered the match and grounded Balor. Rush tagged back which lead to a short comeback from Bálor but only to be brought crashing back to the mat from Lashley again. He was able to fight back again, this time focusing on Rush with Lashley down at ringside. He ultimately delivered the Coup de Grace to Rush to win his first WWE title since 2016.
Post-match, a frustrated Lashley obliterated Rush with a spinebuster, looking like their partnership has come to an end.
While Bálor winning the title was great and much deserved, the primary focused seemed to be Lashley. The new IC champ pinned Rush, which protects Lashley and gives a reason that they’ll fight once again.
The post-match ending of Lashley and Rush felt unnecessary as both have worked really well together and Lashley needs a manager like Rush to be his mouthpiece during promos
Raw Women’sChampionship – Ronda Rousey (c) def. Ruby Riott
Before Ronda Rousey went up against Ruby Riott, Charlotte Flair joined Charly Caruso for a promo in which she talked about Becky Lynch’s suspension and said she will watch from ringside during the match.
Rousey dressed as Sonya Blade from the new upcoming Mortal Kombat game, where she did the voice work for that character.
The champion overpowered Riott early and threw her around the ring. By that time, chants of “we want Becky” echoed the arena. Rousey surprisingly squashed Riott, making her tap to the armbar.
Rousey then stared down at Flair post-match. While both were in the ring, Becky Lynch came into the picture, using her crutches to make it ringside. A furious Lynch attacked Flair with one of the crutches as Rousey watched.
Rousey grabbed the crutch and inched toward Flair before Lynch blasted her with the other crutch. Lynch continued to unload on both, which got a huge pop from the crowd. She was eventually escorted out of the arena.
The Lynch beatdown was brutal and fun to watch. It was expected she would do this after getting her WrestleMania opportunity screwed over by the higher-ups.
However, it was disappointing to see how Riott was used here. She is one of the most underrated in-ring workers in the women’s division and was basically jobbed out to set up the three-way feud. It would have been nice for her to get at least some offensive in but at least the post-match fiasco was fun to see.
Baron Corbin def. Braun Strowman in a No Disqualification match
In a match we have seen numerous times on Raw, Braun Strowman went up against Baron Corbin this time in a No Disqualification match.
Strowman got the momentum early and brought a table in the mix which the crowd was excited for. A rake to the eyes from Corbin got some separation but found himself on the receiving end of a chokeslam and a powerslam through the table. Drew McIntyre’s music played and provided a distraction that allowed Bobby Lashley to come in from out of nowhere to attack Strowman.
A three-on-one beatdown started and despite efforts from Strowman to fight them off, it was not enough. The trio stacked two tables on top of each other and set up the steel steps in front of them. They set up and delivered a triple powerbomb to Strowman through the table which led to Corbin getting the pinfall victory.
The match would have been okay if we did not see this week in and week out on Raw. The trio of Corbin, McIntyre and Lashley seemed like a random pairing and you wonder what the point of this alliance was.
WWE Championship – Daniel Bryan (c) last eliminated Kofi Kingston in an Elimination Chamber match
The “New” Daniel Bryan had a tough task ahead as he defended his WWE Championship against Kofi Kingston, Jeff Hardy, Randy Orton, Samoa Joe and AJ Styles in Sunday’s main event.
Bryan and Joe started the match. Joe grounded Bryan and trapped him in a submission, only for the champion to escape and deliver a dropkick to the knee. They went back and forth until Kingston entered at No. 3, already getting cheers from the Houston crowd.
Bryan climbed the top of a pod but Kingston leaped to the top and pounded away. With Bryan and Joe down below, Kingston threw himself off the cage with falling senton, for one of his many high spots in the match.
Styles entered the match fourth and went right after his former rival Joe and Bryan. The champion climbed the cage but received Phenomenal Forearm that knocked him to the chamber floor. During a Styles and Kingston bout, Joe joined back in but was eliminated after a Phenomenal Forearm from Styles.
Jeff Hardy entered the match next hot with a series flurry of strikes and a double leg drop to the midsection of Styles. Hardy then launched himself over the top rope and onto Bryan. Hardy had his high spot as he delivered a Swanton to Styles, who was laying across the top rope. When Hardy got up, he ate a double knee from Bryan to be eliminated.
Orton entered the match last and was ready to become champion once again. Styles tried for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Orton caught him on the top rope and hit him with an RKO to eliminate Styles. Orton tried for another RKO but caught a charging Bryan with a powerslam. This gave the opening for Kingston to deliver Trouble in Paradise to eliminate The Viper, which the crowd got really excited for.
No one expected Kingston to be in the final two but here he was close to finally capturing the title that he never has been able to win. Chants of “Kofi” erupted the arena as both he and Bryan were battling back and forth.
At one point, Bryan delivered a running knee and what looked to be the ending. Kingston kicked out at two and arena somehow erupted even louder than before. A frustrated champion stomped the face of Kingston but could only keep him down for two. A series of roll-ups followed but they kept getting broken up at two.
Towards the end, the superstars teased a superplex from the top of the pod. They kept interrupting each other to bash the other’s head into the plexiglass side of the chamber. A kick from Kingston finally sent Bryan down and Kingston had to advantage. Kingston missed a cross body block from the top and Bryan delivered another running knee to secure the win.
Post-match, Kingston was immediately joined by New Day teammates Big E and Xavier Woods. Chants of “Thank you, Kofi” poured the arena as his teammates helped him to the back. The New Day stood at the top of the ramp as the show was coming to an end.
I said this in my predictions that this had the potential to be one of the best Elimination Chamber matches we have ever seen. This no doubt delivered here. Even before Kingston and Bryan were the final two, the match was already fun to watch.
While WWE fans would have welcomed Kingston being the new champion, it makes sense to keep the belt on Bryan heading into WrestleMania. However, with no opponents really set for Bryan, what happens here?
I think we should see Kofi Kingston in the title picture once again. His long tenure in the company and consistently putting on great matches no doubt earn him a nice run with WWE’s top prize. If this past week on SmackDown and E.C. were to show anything, it is that Kingston is more than capable of being champion.
A solid pay-per-view and it was a lot better than I expected. With very little build between the Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber, WWE did a nice job with both Chamber matches as well as the pre-show Cruiserweight Championship match.
Strowman/Corbin was repetative while the Rousey/Lynch/Flair segment was entertaining to see how the road to WrestleMania turns out. Before ‘Mania 35 happens, WWE will have one more PPV, Fastlane, March 10.