A huge weekend for Bad Bunny, who hung out with Regé-Jean Page on Saturday and slapped the WWE champion on Sunday. I’m certainly jealous. It didn’t seem like anyone else’s weekend was nearly as eventful, given that Elimination Chamber mostly provided us with well expected outcomes- with the exception of Sasha serving another fringe jacket that was even better than previous versions. The woman simply never misses.
John Morrison def Mustafa Ali, Ricochet, and Elias
Keith Lee was unable to compete on Sunday, so the kickoff hosted a fatal fourway to determine Lashley and Riddle’s opponent. Ali came out backed by Retribution, who helped break up any pins on their leader. Ricochet almost put Mustafa away with a 450, but T-Bar and Mace sent him into the ring post on the outside. As Ali celebrated having tall friends, Morrison slid in to get the roll up and send him to the triple threat. This was quick and easy, and Morrison was a fine pick to get tossed around by Lashley.
Universal Championship #1 Contendership: Daniel Bryan def Jey Uso, Kevin Owens, Cesaro, Sami Zayn, and King Corbin (Elimination Chamber Match)
Bryan and Cesaro started us off, with the Swiss Superman looking for some early pins. Bryan got some steam with a clothesline and a very show offy flip off the top rope. Kevin Owens shouted tips from his plastic prison as Cesaro took his advice and went for Bryan’s knee. A stalling suplex got Cesaro a 2 count, and Corbin was out to join. He ran Cesaro into the pod wall and beat him down, until Daniel nailed him with an elbow. Corbin took over, controlling both the faces until Bryan cameback with some running dropkicks. This turned into running uppercuts from Cesaro, until he ran straight into a Deep Six. Sami called Corbin an idiot while the King ran both Bryan and Cesaro into the chamber walls and bounced them off Zayn’s pod. Sami was the next competitor picked, but he tried to keep the door shut. Bryan hit Corbin with a knee, much to Sami’s glee, but Cesaro came from behind and dragged him into the match. Bryan beat on Zayn, and Corbin returned the favor with a right hand to Daniel’s head. Sami knocked down Corbin and took advantage, trying for a Helluva Kick on the outside, but Bryan sidestepped to send poor Sami’s foot into two inches of plexiglass.
Sami fled to the top of a pod and Cesaro followed, but the master liberator continued trying to climb to freedom in an enclosed structure. Cesaro rammed Sami’s face into the chamber wall, then hung from the ceiling to deliver a double stomp and send Sami flying. He even did some pull ups for good measure. Cesaro got an uppercut and put Corbin in the swing, then sunk into the Sharpshooter to score the first elimination. KO was out next, but was stopped by Sami, who proposed an alliance given everything that’s ever happened between them. Owens responded by sending Sami into the pod walls and once again crushing friendship for everyone. All four guys hit their big moves and laid each other out, no one able to capitalize, while Uso was the last man in. Owens went after him right away, tossing him into the pod and knocking out the plastic door. A moonsault from KO wiped out all the other men, and he followed up with stunners all around. Owens eliminated Zayn and went after Uso once again, but Jey was ready this time. He slammed the door on Kevin’s arm and landed several super kicks. A splash from Uso eliminated Owens, making Roman Reigns a very happy camper. Cesaro hit a huge uppercut for a 2 count on Uso, then sent him swinging into the walls. Bryan still caught him coming off the top rope with a sharp kick, then stomped away on that handsome Swiss face. A gutbuster from the top rope left Bryan reeling, but Uso interrupted the swing to hit a super kick and a splash, eliminating Cesaro. Another splash to Bryan got a very close 2 count, so Jey figured he might as well hit his best again, and tried another from the top of the pod. Bryan got his knees up to break it, then hit a running knee, scoring himself a dance with Roman Reigns. This was a fun opener; Bryan and Cesaro were certainly the real highlight. I could watch their back and forth for an hour straight.
Universal Championship: Roman Reigns def Daniel Bryan
Reigns interrupted the artificial “yes” chants to give Bryan his prize; a one way ticket to getting slapped by a man in black cargo pants. Reigns went for a spear but Bryan caught him in the Yes Lock, and for half a second, it all looked possible. Reigns managed to power out and laid into Daniel with punches before slamming him with a powerbomb. Reigns locked him in the Guillotine until Bryan faded, retaining his title in a tight two minutes. An expected result, but fine for what it needed to be. The short matches are succeeding in making Roman even more hateable, and Bryan looked fantastic in the chamber match.
As Reigns held his title to celebrate, Edge ran in to deliver a spear and point threateningly at the Mania sign. Looks like we have our main event, and hot damn, what a match that’ll be.
United States Championship: Riddle def Bobby Lashley and John Morrison (Triple Threat Match)
After a brief break to let Bad Bunny slap Miz, we came back for the US title match, feat. MVP with a crutch. Lashley went right after Riddle, which would have been my move too. Lashley clotheslined him over the top rope, but ate a drop kick from Morrison. The Allmighty knocked him off the apron to MVP’s feet, then targeted Riddle again. Morrison and Riddle tried to double team him in the corner, but Lashley powered out. A spinebuster to Morrison and a slam to Riddle wiped both men out, but Riddle managed to dump Lashley to the outside. With Lashley wiped out, Morrison tried to get a quick pin, but Riddle fired back. Lashley came back in to eat a knee and a Floating Bro, but Morrison tossed Riddle off and hit Starship Pain. Still, Lashley kicked out, much to MVP’s delight. Morrison stole MVP’s crutch at ringside, but found himself in The Hurt Lock. Riddle grabbed the crutch and went to town on Lashley’s back like his lawyer goes to town on a sheet of label paper, then landed Bro Derek on Morrison to get the win. This sucked for obvious reasons, but also because Lashley has been great as US Champ, and there’s no reason to take it from him yet.
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler def Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair
Reginald cut a promo exhaling the talents of both Belair and Banks before the match, and promising them a special bottle of wine when they become tag champs. In my book, “special bottle” is anything that cracks $20, so that’s a pretty nice reward. Belair and Jax started things off, with Bianca delivering a kick straight to the hole. A drop kick to Jax left the champ still standing, and Banks tagged in to deliver a bulldog. A double drop kick wiped out Jax, who tagged Baszler. Shayna tripped up Bianca and went for the arm bar, but Belair was able to counter the submission magician. A meteora scored a 2 count, but Jax tagged in to run down Banks. Baszler came in and targeted her midsection, then tried to pop her elbow straight out of the socket. Nia hit Sasha with another slam, but only got a 2 count. Banks got a series of near falls on Baszler, then finally got the tag to Bianca. Shayna rolled through the Glam Slam to get the Kirifuda Clutch, but Sasha broke it up. A double team from the faces still only scored a 2 count on Baszler, so Bianca followed up with the KOD. Jax pulled her out of the pin and landed another spinebuster, but Banks broke things up. Reginald ran out to cheer the ladies up with some Prosecco. Emboldened by the idea of getting moderately drunk on somebody else’s fancy wine, Sasha locked in the Bank Statement, but Jax grabbed the rope. Reginald tossed her the bottle and suggested she give her opponent a concussion, but the distraction allowed Jax to land a Samoan Drop to retain. A very paint by the numbers heel win here, and the addition of Reginald in Banks’ life has done absolutely nothing for anyone, but I’m a simple woman and I’ll never complain about watching Belair and Banks wrestle together.
WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre def Randy Orton, Sheamus, Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, and Kofi Kingston (Elimination Chamber Match)
Hardy and Orton were our first two, with Randy trying to take Jeff’s knee out of commission. Orton slammed the 41 year old father of two into a pod wall, but Hardy briefly turned things around. He teed off on Randy for a minute, before Orton dragged him back in the ring and into a sleeper hold. AJ and Kofi offered their best sardonic commentary while Orton did his best to keep Jeff grounded. Hardy was making a comeback when McIntyre was released, going right after Orton. He controlled both men, slamming them on the outside and adding a beautiful hair flip to boot. He threw Hardy like a dart into the pod, but got caught in a draping DDT. Orton was unable to put the champ away as Kofi entered. A quick roll up on Randy got him the first elimination, but Orton wouldn’t leave without dishing out some RKOs. Omos ripped the plexiglass to gently help AJ out of his pod, like a toddler being coaxed into a swimming pool. Styles ran in to cover Kingston and Hardy, but both kicked out. Adam Pearce threw out an irritated Omos, while Styles shook the chain walls and cried out for his friend. It was all very sweet, actually. In the chamber, Kofi dropped AJ then landed SOS on McIntyre, but the champ kicked out. Styles sent Kofi over the top rope and into the wall, but Kingston quickly returned the favor. McIntyre stared daggers as Sheamus as he knocked out Hardy with a neck breaker, and Sheamus’ pod opened.
Both men laid into each other, each unable to get the upper hand. Kingston joined the fight but was taken out by Styles, until Kofi managed a trust fall onto a brawling McIntyre and Sheamus. Sheamus got Kofi up on the top turnbuckle, but Kingston tried to flee to the top of the pod. McIntyre dropped Sheamus crotch first on the turnbuckle, while Kofi took a breather up top. A four man superplex wiped out the competition, and as they finally got to their feet, Kofi followed it up with a trust fall from the pod. A Brogue Kick from Sheamus to Kofi unfortunately ended his dreams and eliminated the New Day member. Hardy ascended the pod to deliver Whisper in the Wind to McIntyre and Sheamus, then a Swanton to Styles in the ring. Before he could get the pin, McIntyre hit him with a Claymore and sent him packing. Sheamus got Drew with a thumb to the eye and a kick, but the champ barely kicked out. McIntyre hit a headbutt, but Sheamus got White Noise, and both men were stunned. Styles tried to take advantage with a 450, but couldn’t get the pin on either man. Sheamus went after AJ and delivered 6ish Beats of the Bodhran, but got a Futureshock DDT for his trouble. He countered a Claymore into a Brogue Kick, then ran headfirst into a Phenomenal Forearm to get eliminated. Styles went for another on Drew, but the champ met him with a Claymore to retain. This was fine; we knew the result about a week and a half ago, but it accomplished what it needed to.
Post match, Drew learned that nobody gets to celebrate anything in wrestling when Bobby Lashley hit him with a spear. He tossed McIntyre around ringside and got him in the Hurt Lock, then finished laying out the champion with a spinebuster. Miz’s music hit and the cash in finally happened- Miz landed two Skullcrushing Finales to win the title. Color me a little surprised but not disappointed that Miz got a successful cash in; yes, he’ll probably lose the title at Fastlane, but at least we had this moment for WWE’s third best wife-guy.
Was there an outbreak in the women's locker room??? Where is everyone??
- Miz vs Bad Bunny at Mania is what the people deserve. That’s a genuine statement.
- Belair and Banks continue to have fantastic chemistry- their match for the SD women's title might top just about everything else this company has done
- Edge vs Roman feels more then right, even if, in a perfect world, it would happen in front of thousands of people crying when "you think you know me" hits
- Lashley going after McIntyre was unexpected in the best way. Seeing him go for the WWE title soon enough would be more than deserved
- Cesaro was rocking those IG baddie trunks and he absolutely pulled them off
- Riddle winning was a huge bummer
- We couldn't get a replacement for Lacey in the Raw Women’s title match, even though she announced her baby Flair on Monday, and there was a 4-way for a replacement in a match that already had two people.... It really doesn’t add up
- Two elimination chamber matches are hard to sit through; it’s not the kind of gimmick that lends itself to a ton of variety. Two 30 minute men’s chamber matches with one women’s match all night? I'm just tired.
- Is Reginald French now? Has he always had an accent or did he just go for it last night?