Hey, it’s WWE Elimination Chamber! It’s that PPV that’s not a PPV!
The show started with the WWE Tag-Team Championship match in the Elimination Chamber. The Prime Time Players came out first, and were joined by Los Matadores (with Torito, who positioned himself on top of their pod), Tyson Kidd & Cesaro (with Natalya, who did not position herself on their pod), and The New Day. All three members of The New Day crammed into their pod, a result of a decision made by Kane on the pre-show as a reward for their “help” on Smackdown.
Speaking of that pre-show, I didn’t watch it this time out. Because sleep is so very precious. But they had a match on it and Stardust beat Zack Ryder for all you completists out there. Like it matters, right?
Anyway, back to the match, and with all the teams in their pods it was left to The Ascension and The Lucha Dragons to kick things off. And they did, with The Lucha Dragons dominating early on, at least until Kalisto couldn’t get his shit together on top of a pod and The Ascension took over.
Tyson Kidd & Cesaro were out first, and they did some stuff. Cesaro was probably the MVP of this match, with some cool spots involving his uppercuts and his strength. Somewhere in here, Jerry Lawler called Michael Cole “JR”.
Los Matadores were out next and Torito came into the match with a headscissors on Cesaro. Kalisto tried to climb to the top of the Chamber and did an underwhelming spot, and that was really the story of the match.
The Ascension eliminated Los Matadores, and then The Lucha Dragons, before The Prime Time Players came out and quickly eliminated them. The Prime Time Players and Kidd & Cesaro went at it, and then The New Day were released from their pod. The two other teams stopped fighting and hit a triple-suplex on The New Day, which looked cool.
Cesaro then locked Xavier Woods in a pod and he & Kidd hit the big swing/dropkick combo on Kofi Kingston, but Darren Young rolled Cesaro up to eliminate he & Kidd. Kidd looked shocked. He wasn’t the only one.
The New Day freed Woods and then trapped Titus O’Neil’s head in the Chamber wall, before going after Darren Young. O’Neil got free and ran wild, but the superior numbers caught up with him and The New Day piled on for a triple pin to retain the titles.
This wasn’t without its highspots but it a mess. Someone on Twitter compared it to a computer versus computer match on a videogame and I think that’s a great description. Nothing seemed to make much sense.
The announcers told us that Rusev was out of the WWE Intercontinental title match, due to a fractured foot. They showed a tweet from the Bulgarian where he said he’d have fought if it wasn’t for the American doctors, and the announcers said there’d be a replacement in the match announced later.
Backstage, Dolph Ziggler and Lana had a moment. Horrible, horrible, horrible.
Hey, it’s Nikki Bella! She came out for the WWE Divas championship match against Naomi and Paige. The Authority banned Brie Bella and Tamina from ringside, because reasons, so it was a plain old three-way. And it was AWFUL.
It was boring and full of botches and had some of the most audible move-calling ever seen outside of a John Cena match, mostly by Paige. Nikki won to retain her title with the Rack Attack. If I were a woman I’d hang in my vagina after watching this.
They showed a video package on the brief but tight feud between John Cena and Kevin Owens. In two weeks they’ve built a compelling story. Lessons should be learned from this.
And then Owens came out for the match, wearing a new t-shirt apeing an old Cena design. He paced around like a caged animal waiting for Cena to arrive. And then Cena did arrive, and this being a house show crowd (because the PPV was a late change after tickets had already been sold) he got a good reaction, although there were a smattering of “Fight Owens Fight!” chants.
These guys had a hell of a match. Owens went on the attack early doors, with brutality and attrition being the right words to describe his tactics. Cena came back and they went back and forth, trading finishers and nearfalls, with Owens even hitting the Attitude Adjustment and the Five Knuckle Shuffle, like the prize dick he is.
After a heavy period of Owens offense, Cena made a brief and firey comeback but Owens hit a pop-up powerbomb out of nowhere for the pinfall victory. The crowd were shocked – let’s face it, we were all shocked – and Owens got on the mic’ afterwards, to tell the crowd that everyone knew who he was now – the guy who started a fight with John Cena, and the guy who just finished that fight. He then offered Cena some “veteran advice” – it was time for Cena to go because “the champ is here!”
The pre-show panel discussed the show so far as the crowd went for food, merch, and pee-pee. Think of this as the half-time break, yeah?
Hey, it’s Bo Dallas! He came down to the ring and cut a talky, telling Neville that he could fix him if he only “Bo-lieves”. Neville then came out and they had a match.
It was a competent match but it was a boring match. That’s quite something considering Neville is in it and he’s all about the flip-flop-fly, right? But it just wasn’t much of anything, really, and Neville won with the Red Arrow.
Backstage, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns were just hanging out, like a couple of dudes. HHH walked up and banned Reigns from ringside, saying that if he interfered then Ambrose would be disqualified. He didn’t ban J&J Security and Kane so FUCKING INTERFERENCE is guaranteed.
Back in the arena, they lowered the Elimination Chamber again, this time for the WWE Intercontinental title match. First out was the surprise replacement for Rusev… Mark Henry. Yeah, that Mark Henry, not an exciting new one that might have popped people or anything. The same old boring Mark Henry.
He was joined by Sheamus, then R-Truth (who was no longer the token black man in the match), and finally The Ryback, and they were all locked away in their pods. Bad News Barrett and Dolph Ziggler came out to start the match.
Well, this was a sloppy mess. Ziggler and Barrett did their usual stuff before R-Truth’s buzzer went off and Barrett attacked him before he could properly leave. He beat Truth up for a while and got a nearfall with Winds of Change. Soon after, Barrett threw Ziggler into Henry’s pod and the door broke. I’m not sure if it was supposed to – Henry’s hesitation suggested otherwise – but Henry tentatively entered the match regardless.
The Ryback came into the match and R-Truth then pinned Barrett. Yeah, you read that right. Poor Barrett. The buzzer went off for Sheamus to enter but his door didn’t open. The referee on the outside was struggling to open it and Sheamus got frustrated at not being able to get in. While all this was going on, The Ryback pinned R-Truth.
Ziggler and The Ryback went at it while Henry rested, the poor lamb, and then Sheamus revealed that he’d been keeping the door locked himself to earn more time. Only it wasn’t done very well and lots of people still probably think it was a fuck-up. He came into the Chamber and got into it with Henry, and survived a nearfall from a splash to hit the Brogue Kick for the elimination pinfall. That left Sheamus, Ziggler, and The Ryback in the match. Ziggler dominated and then got pinned out of nowhere by Sheamus.
If you asked a billion people what their dream match would be, I doubt any of them would say The Ryback versus Sheamus. Even The Ryback and Sheamus. But dreams so seldom come true and so we were left with these two schlubs, and they did five minutes until The Ryback got the win with the Shell Shock. A fitting winner for the kind of match it turned out to be.
After the match, Daniel Bryan, who had been watching silently from ringside, got into the ring to present The Ryback with the title belt and put him over big. He led the crowd in “feed me more!” chants and The Ryback looked like he was going to cry. I’m not entirely sure he knows it’s a work.
The announcers plugged the Money In The Bank PPV, and announced that there would be a re-match between John Cena and Kevin Owens on that show. Huh. That’s not the way I would have gone but let’s see, eh?
They also announced the first six names for the Money In The Bank match: Dolph Ziggler, Neville, Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Kofi Kingston. One of those guys is doing his own thing…
Hey, it’s our main event! It’s Seth Rollins versus Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Heavyweight title! Rollins came out first, with Kane and J&J Security, and then Ambrose came down to a HUGE reaction.
Ambrose started off on top early doors, but Rollins came back after a distraction by Jamie Noble, the sneaky little fuck. They reset after a double-crossbody spot, and Ambrose fired up. They exchanged nearfalls and the goons on the outside looked concerned. Ambrose looked for a bulldog out of the corner but J&J Security pulled Rollins out of the ring. Ambrose then hit a topé suicida onto the assembled throng, skittling them like nine-pins into the announcers. That was cool.
Back in the ring, Rollins tried a roll-up with his feet on the ropes but the referee spotted it, and then they traded more nearfalls before spilling out of the ring again. Ambrose chased J&J Security away but got caught by Rollins, who hit a Buckle Bomb into the barriers, so I guess it was a Barrier Bomb. Rollins rolled Ambrose back into the ring and got a nearfall, taunting him after and almost getting pinned himself with a tornado DDT.
Ambrose fired up and got a couple of nearfalls before more distraction (yawn) allowed Rollins back into the match. Rollins hit his own topé suicida out onto Ambrose, before dragging him back into the ring and hitting a Buckle Bomb which Ambrose rebounded out of with a clothesline. Ambrose then climbed to the top but, instead of hitting his flying elbow, dived out onto Kane and J&J Security.
Rollins came out to grab Ambrose again and threw him back in but he rebounded back once more with a lariat. Back in the ring, Ambrose went up top but Rollins pulled the referee in the way, and he took a shot and rolled out of the ring. Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds but there was no referee to count the pin! Suddenly, another referee ran out and counted the 1-2-3 and Dean Ambrose is your new WWE World Heavyweight champion!
You know what’s coming, right?
The original referee recovered and told the new referee that he was disqualifying Rollins. So Ambrose still won, but the title didn’t change hands. Classic Dusty Finish. And, like every Dusty Finish ever, the crowd chanted “bullshit!” and it got exactly the wrong kind of heat. They never learn.
Ambrose, however, would not give up his belt. Rollins, Kane, and J&J Security surrounded him and then rushed him, wrestling the belt away from him. Suddenly, Roman Reigns’s music played and he hit the ring to make the save. Dean Ambrose Sidekick Reigns is the BEST Reigns.
Reigns came down the ramp and hit a Superman Punch to Rollins, and then a spear to Kane. Ambrose picked up the belt and Reigns hit J&J Security with Superman Punches. Ambrose then grabbed a mic’ and announced himself as champion, and then said that the champ was buying the beers, and he & Reigns escaped into the crowd with the crowd popping around them.
This was a Below Average Show. It had one great match, one good match, one entertaining but a bit shit match, one sloppy mess, and two boring contests. The crowd was flat, despite some hot moments. As an experiment it’s a failure but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try it again. Just do it better, eh?