Kickoff Show: Buddy Murphy Gets Past Akira Tozawa
The match started with a flurry of activity but mostly with Murphy stopping Tozawa in his tracks. There were quite a few chops initially with the action soon taking on a typical 205 pace. There were many surprise moves as well but Murphy was always a step ahead initially.
Once the match crossed the mid-way point, the action became a bit more even. It also got more airborne but Murphy ultimately prevailed by countering Tozawa’s Octopus Hold into a Murphy’s Law for the win.
Winner and still Cruiserweight Champion: Buddy Murphy
Our take from it: For a pre-show this was actually quite awesome. Unlike most cruiserweight matches, this one did not start off at high pace. Instead it chose to go slow at first and then pick up pace to the typical 205 frantic level.
Buddy Murphy was the right person to win here and while he is no Neville, he is the best the division has right now and WWE did the right thing by letting him retain.
We Have Our Inaugural Women’s Tag Team Champions [Elimination Chamber Match]
This match did have a few uncertainties as to how tag teams would compete in the Elimination Chamber but it wasn’t as chaotic as imagined. The Boss and Hug connection along with Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose started the match as had been decided previously.
The action was lukewarm until the Riott Squad enter the match. Things got a bit more brutal. The IIconics were the next team in and for a moment they looked like the strongest team in the ring. That lasted only till Naomi and Carmella joined the match and immediately cleaned house.
The expected confrontation took place between Naomi and Mandy Rose. Naomi managed to land a springboard rear view on Rose but was too caught up in the moment and got eliminated by the IIconics.
Naomi and Carmella are eliminated
The IIconics started gloating but it did not last long. Nia Jax and Tamina entered last and soon they were targeted by every other team in the ring. Soon, the IIconics got caught up in the melee and got eliminated despite hiding in one of the pods briefly.
The IIconics are eliminated
The teams all went at each from here on with Nia Jax and Tamina gaining the upper hand occasionally but never being in control completely. Morgan got hit by a Samoan Drop from the top rope by Jax followed by an awkward looking top rope splash by Tamina to eliminate the Riott Squad.
Riott Squad is eliminated
The highlight reel moment of the night was next as Jax tried to spear Bayley through one of the pods but ended up diving shoulder first into the pod as Bayley moved out of the way at the last moment.
Tamina becamethe target of everyone as she got hit by multiple finishers followed by a group pin by everyone remaining and the most physically intimidating team of this match up got eliminated.
Nia Jax and Tamina are eliminated
It’s down to just the Boss and Hug connection and team of Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose. After quite a bit of back and forth, Banks used her legs in place of her injured and useless hand to put Sonya Deville in the Bank’s Statement for the win.
Winners and First Women’s Tag Team Champions: The Boss and Hug Connection
Our take from it: The women were able to give a really good account for themselves and this was actually quite entertaining, probably beyond anyone’s expectations.
Apart from Tamina, everyone else brought their A-game. Every team got to put on a decent show and as important as the inaugural champs are to the division, the challengers are equally important if this division is to grow.
Tamina did stick out like a sore thumb but the rest were just impressive. In all, a very good match and a nice change up to the Elimination Chamber that had become quite formulaic.
The Best Tag Team In The World Has Its Reign Cut Short
The match started with the Co-besties on top. The Miz initially had the upper hand but was soon overcome by the coordination of the Usos. Shane McMahon managed to get the hot tag and cleared the ring but was unable to capitalize.
Soon the ball was back in The Usos’ court and their relentless energy and tag dynamics got the better of the Co-besties who lost their titles just weeks after winning it when Jey managed to roll-up the Miz for the win.
Winners and New SmackDown Tag Champions: The Usos
Our take from it: Apart from seeing the Usos become champions again, this match was great. It would still have been better to see another new team but it is what it is.
The match itself was quite good and while Shane was initially a bit slow, he managed to pick up pace. There is clearly a long game being played here between the Miz and Shane and as long as that is fun, the Usos becoming the champs again might not be that bad of a deal. This match gets a pass because of its potential in the long run.
Finn Balor Becomes The IC Champion
This was a match of two tales with Lashley being able to dominate but Balor being able to wrestle back control as soon as Rush was in the ring. There was also a bit of tag action between the two where Balor clearly was unable to rally. However, he managed to catch a break by diving over the rope to the outside on Rush and Lashley. While Lashley was still recovering, Balor managed to get Rush in the ring and hit the Coup de Grâce for the win and the title.
After the match, Lashley obliterated Rush with a spinebuster, severing the relationship between him and his mouthpiece.
Winner and New Intercontinental Champion: Finn Balor
Our take from it: This was probably the first match involving Lashley that was actually fun and part of the reason was the involvement of Lio Rush. That alone speaks volumes about how unenigmatic Lashley’s reign has been as the IC champion.
In a parallel Universe, Balor would be in a totally different place right now after that inaugural Universal Championship victory didn’t end in an injury but this could be the start of the next best thing. Let’s hope that WWE has the cajones to make this reign worthwhile.
The post match beatdown of Rush at the hands of Lashley probably signals the end of that association too which is a relief.
The Man Makes Her Statement
This part of the show started with Charlotte Flair gloating over her credentials and then looking on from ringside as Ronda Rousey took on Ruby Riott with her title on the line. The match was the epitome of a squash and Rousey made Riott tap out to the armbar in no time.
Charlotte got in the ring and had a face off with Charlotte. The crowd went nuts as Becky suddenly appeared and struggled to the ring. She used her crutches to decimate both Rousey and Flair before being led out of the arena in a Steve Austinesque fashion.
Winner and still RAW women’s Champion: Ronda Rousey
Our take from it: There is still no justification as to why Charlotte is even in this match but that is what the powers want to see. Beyond that point of contention, this is actually shaping out to be rather entertaining. The visuals of seeing Becky Lynch laughing without a care in the world after assaulting the Queen and the Baddest Women on the planet was somehow refreshing and nostalgic at the same time.
The last time such reactions were evoked were by none other than the Texas Rattle Snake. Even though WWE has tried to replicate that in the past, it is only now that they succeeded. This could be the feud the next generation of wrestling fans grow up with and it is so refreshing to have a woman at the centre of it all.
The Numbers Game Is Too Much Even For Braun Strowman
Corbin initially tried to be sneaky and even managed to get quite a few offensive moves in on Strowman but the Monster among men quite abruptly turned the tables on Corbin.
Strowman was initially reluctant to use any of the weapons available at his disposal and used his hands to dominate Corbin. Corbin managed to get in a bit more offense using the ring steps. Even then Strowman kept coming back.
Drew McIntyre then made his way to the ring and so did Bobby Lashley. They teamed up on Strowman and delivered a triple powerbomb through a stack of tables allowing Corbin to pin Strowman.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Our take from it: This is the best WWE can do with these men without having them in the title picture and with regards to that, this is actually working out quite well.
This match up is still interesting as it is mostly about big men trying to beat the living hell out of each other. This wasn’t the most original direction WWE could have gone in but until people like Strowman and McIntyre are deemed championship worthy, WWE can keep more of this coming.
An Awesome Main Event [Elimination Chamber Match For WWE Championship]
Eric Rowan got banned from ringside before the match was even underway. Daniel Bryan and Samoa Joe started the proceedings. Joe managed to inflict some early damage but it was pretty much even as they went back and forth.
Kofi was the next man to join them and straight away the crowd got behind him. Quite a few athletic spots followed which soon transformed into painful blows with the chamber wall being used as a weapon too.
Styles joined the action and went after everyone briefly becoming the only man standing in the ring. Joe tried to then put Kingston in the Coquina Clutch twice and both times Kofi managed to escape eventually managing to hit a jawbreaker on Joe. Styles capitalized and eliminated Joe with a phenomenal forearm.
Samoa Joe is eliminated
Jeff Hardy was released next and oddly he looked winded right away. He managed to counter a few moves by Kingston and Styles but got taken down by Bryan’s Busaiku Knee and got eliminated.
Jeff Hardy is eliminated
The action really picked up pace and Randy Orton was the last man to be released as decided last week. Orton did his slow walk around the ring trying to dispatch everyone methodically. He managed to eventually hit the RKO on Styles to eliminate him.
AJ Styles is eliminated
The action shifted to Kingston and Orton. Bryan briefly interfered and ate a powerslam. Kingston managed to pull out all the stops and hit Trouble in Paradise to eliminate Randy Orton.
Randy Orton is eliminated
What followed next was pure wrestling nirvana. Bryan who started this match and Kofi who starred in that brutal match last Tuesday were visibly tired but gave it everything they had. There were so many close calls that the crowd actually started believing that Kofi might finally win the world championship after 11 long years.
A lot of back and forth followed which culminated in a huge number of reversals and kick outs before Bryan rallied one last time to break Kofi’s resistance with a Busaiku Knee to retain his championship.
Winner and still WWE Champion: The New Daniel Bryan
Our take from it: While it would have been awesome to see Kofi finally win a world championship, Bryan was the right call here. It would have have been stupid to take the title off of him so close to WrestleMania.
The good news though is that Kofi is garnering plenty of support and that can only mean good things. The man has paid his dues many times over. This match was the perfect culmination of a truly wonderful PPV and had many defining moments that will be remembered for a long time to come.
Overall Review: Elimination Chamber had lost its appeal over the last decade mostly because it seemed like a lull between the excitement of the Royal Rumble and the anticipation of WrestleMania. This year it was very different as every match on the card delivered.
The first ever women’s tag team champions were crowned in memorable fashion and every other match served its purpose. The Man just keeps scaling new heights every week. The only gripe were the absence of the US title and the RAW tag titles. One of the best PPVs of the year.
Moment of the Night: A smiling Becky Lynch being escorted out of the arena
Overall Rating: 4.3/5