Crazy how time flies, huh? March 8th, 2020, Elimination Chamber was the last WWE PPV to be held in front of a live crowd. Almost a year later, the 2021 offering was held in the WWE ThunderDome. The show underwent a number of changes in the days building up. Lacey Evans revealed she’s legitimately pregnant, and thus withdrew from the show. As a result, Asuka’s Championship defence was scrapped. Keith Lee was also not cleared to compete, so a Fatal Four-way was held on the pre-show to determine his replacement. John Morrison won the match, defeating Mustafa Ali, Elias and Ricochet.

Despite all the issues, this was a very strong show from start to finish. Every match had major ramifications, in one way or another, as we continue towards the most important date(s) in the WWE calendar. With two Chamber matches and four Championship defences, there was barely a moment for the audience to catch their breath. With that in mind, let’s have a look at what went down.

Elimination Chamber Match – Winner Challenges Universal Champion, Roman Reigns later in the night
Cesaro vs Daniel Bryan vs Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn vs King Corbin vs Jey Uso

Bryan and Cesaro started the match, while the other four were confined to their plexiglass pods. It seemed very fitting that two of the best wrestlers started this match off, with a series of chain wrestling holds, each of them appearing evenly matched. They each tried for early pinfalls but to no avail. Cesaro targeted the left knee of Bryan until Bryan locked Cesaro in an armbar. Cesaro landed a stalling vertical suplex for a two-count before the countdown started.

King Corbin entered the match and immediately targeted Cesaro. Bryan made the save, so Corbin targeted him instead, using the chainlink as a weapon. Bryan hit a series of running dropkicks to Corbin and Cesaro in opposite corners. Cesaro landed uppercuts to Corbin and Bryan, before Corbin landed a Deep-Six to Cesaro and then Bryan, but only earned a two-count for each. The three men then battled outside of the ring, where Corbin used the ring post to inflict further damage to Bryan’s knee. Back in the ring, Corbin landed a back suplex to Byan for another two-count. Corbin put Bryan in a Tree of Woe as the timer counted down again.

Sami Zayn’s pod was the next to open, but Zayn was reluctant to come out and tried to hold his door closed. Cesaro targeted Zayn with a series of uppercuts. Zayn survived the onslaught, but missed an attempt at a Helluva Kick, on Bryan, crashing into Owens’s pod instead. A DDT outside the ring, on Cesaro, only earned Sami two. Zayn ended up atop the Jey Uso pod, where Cesaro followed, and the two men battled atop. Sami scaled the wall in the attempt of an escape, but Cesaro was quick and kicked Sami back to the floor. Back in the ring, Corbin exchanged blows with Cesaro, until Cesaro landed a flying uppercut, and then swung Corbin around. He transitioned into the Sharpshooter and Corbin tapped out.

King Corbin eliminated

Time expired again and Kevin Owens entered the match. Sami tried to forge an alliance with Owens. Kevin had none of it and repeatedly slammed Sami into the pods. In the ring, Bryan applied a sleeper hold to Kevin, but Owens fought out of it. When Bryan, Cesaro, and Zayn each ended up sat in the corners, Owens landed a series of Cannonballs. Cesaro landed an uppercut to Zayn. Bryan landed a Running Knee to Cesaro, then Owens landed a Pop-Up Powerbomb to Bryan.

Jey Uso entered the match. and Owens went straight after him. All remaining competitors battled outside the ring. Owens climbed to the top of a pod and landed a Moonsault to all his opponents. In the ring, Owens landed a Stunner on Zayn for a three count.

Sami Zayn eliminated.

As Zayn left the Chamber, Uso trapped Kevin’s arm in the main door. With Owens helpless, Uso targeted the arm, before landing a Superkick, followed by a Uso Splash for another three-count.

Kevin Owens eliminated.

Cesaro landed an Uppercut followed by an elbow drop, to Uso, for a two-count. Outside the ring, Cesaro swung Uso into the chainlink wall. Back in the ring, Bryan got near falls on Cesaro following a backslide and a Yes Kick. Bryan’s left knee appeared to be suffering as he tried to climb the turnbuckle. Cesaro caught Bryan up the top with a series of uppercuts. Cesaro landed a gut-buster from the top rope and then swung Bryan around. Uso landed a Superkick to Cesaro, followed by a Frog Splash for the elimination.

Cesaro eliminated.

Down to the last two, Uso landed another Frog Splash, but Bryan kicked out at two. Daniel Bryan landed a Running Knee, for the victory, and the right to challenge Roman Reigns.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Verdict: After almost two decades of this stipulation, I don’t think there’s anything that hasn’t been done in the Chamber. This match was not a classic, but it was still damn entertaining and full of memorable moments.

An exhausted Bryan could barely move on the mat to celebrate. Then Roman’s music hit, and out came the Universal Champion. Bryan gets his match, but he had no time to prepare for it.

WWE Universal Championship 
Roman Reigns (C) vs Daniel Bryan

Roman immediately tried for a Spear, but Bryan transitioned into the Yes Lock. Roman fought out and rained heavy fists down onto Bryan’s skull. Bryan appeared to have nothing left and the referee went to call the match off. Roman applied the Guillotine and Bryan passed out.

Winner: and still Champion, Roman Reigns

Roman celebrated with his Championship, then Edge appeared from out of nowhere and nailed Roman with a Spear. Edge pointed to the sign, indicating his choice for WrestleMania.

Verdict: That’s exactly what anybody should have expected. Bryan goes the distance in the Chamber but has nothing left in the tank. Roman pulls off a quick and relatively easy victory. That wasn’t really a match, and it wasn’t supposed to be. But it served its purpose of cementing the villain character of Roman Reigns and set-up the run-in from Edge. It looks like we now know our Mania main event.

WWE United States Championship Triple Threat Match
Bobby Lashley (C) vs Riddle vs John Morrison

Lashley immediately went after Riddle and dominated him in the corner. Morrison held back and then went to pick up the scraps. This infuriated Lashley. Riddle tried for a Sleeper, but Lashley immediately fought out. Lashley focused on Morrison, before throwing him out of the ring and into the barricade. Outside the ring, Lashley applied the torture rack to Morrison and then slammed him into the ring post. Riddle got thrown to the ringside floor and comedically oversold. Morrison and Riddle briefly teamed up against Lashley. But even together they weren’t strong enough to threaten the All-Mighty. Lashley Speared Riddle into the corner.

Riddle managed to outsmart Lashley and send him tumbling over the ropes. He floored Lashley with a Floating Bro before Morrison attacked Riddle. Back in the ring, Riddle and Morrison exchanged their best striking attacks. Riddle hit Morrison with a German suplex for a two-count. Lashley got back in the ring where he suffered another Floating Bro and Starship Pain, but Morrison only got two.

MVP, hobbling on a crutch, started taunting Morrison. Morrison took the crutch and went after Lashley, but he walked into the Hurt Lock. Riddle got in the ring and attacked Lashley with the crutch. As Lashley tried to recover at ringside, Riddle hit the Bro-Derek to Morrison for the victory.

Winner: and NEW Champion, Riddle.

Verdict: Easily transparent booking there for all to see. WWE take the US title off Lashley without him actually ‘losing’ it. They paint the illusion that Lashley would never have lost that title under a single match. It takes a stipulation where he could be hit with a weapon while somebody else was pinned. But why? An intriguing question, when you consider that Lashley has been built and protected as a ruthless killer in recent months. Could it be that Bobby is the one who is set to challenge McIntyre for the WWE Championship at Mania? Watch this space.
Personally, I really enjoyed Morrison in this match. It served as a reminder of just how good JoMo is and it seems a shame that he’s mostly relegated to a side act with the Miz.

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (C) vs Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks

Bianca and Nia started the match. They locked up, but Jax easily outpowered Belair. Bianca used her speed to evade and torment Jax. Bianca and Sasha exchanged frequent tags to make the most of their speed advantage and keep themselves fresh. The tide turned a little when Shayna tagged in. Baszler methodically targeted the left wrist of Banks. Nia tagged in and the reigning Champions double-teamed Sasha.

Sasha caught a second wind and tried to pick up a series of rollups, but to no avail. Belair tagged in but stumbled into the trap of a Kirrafuda Clutch. Banks tagged back in and landed a Frog Splash for a near fall. Belair tagged back in and hit the K.O.D, but Nia Jax made the save. Jax tagged back in, Bianca tried for another K.O.D but didn’t have the strength to lift Nia. Sasha tagged back in and hit a Meteora for two.

Reginald came out with a bottle of champagne with two glasses. Sasha locked in the Banks Statement, but Nia made it to the ropes. Reginald gave the bottle to Sasha, telling her to use it as a weapon. The referee confiscated it and Nia used the distraction to hit a Samoan Drop for the victory.

Winners: and still Champions, Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler

Verdict: Let’s be honest, that match was mainly thrown together in place of Asuka vs Lacey, which had to be abandoned. But, that aside, this match still held a number of useful purposes. First of all, it furthered the storyline between Sasha and Bianca – Belair is still yet to make her WrestleMania decision. Furthermore, it furthered the storyline between Sasha and Reginald. I’ve no idea what they’re really trying to achieve with this storyline and I don’t think it’s so wise to define down the Women’s Championship with comedy angles. I suppose the logic here would be that Reginald’s backfire enabled Sasha to take a pinfall loss without damaging her.

WWE Championship Elimination Chamber
Drew McIntyre (C) vs AJ Styles vs Kofi Kingston vs Sheamus vs Jeff Hardy vs Randy Orton

Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy started the match, with the other four in pods. We already knew ahead of time that Sheamus would be the very last to enter the match. Orton immediately targeted the limbs of Hardy. Outside the ring, Orton sent Jeff crashing into McIntyre’s pod. Back in the ring, Randy continued to methodically beat down Hardy. Jeff came back with his trademark atomic drop and basement dropkick combo. He followed with a splash from the second rope for a two-count, then time expired.

Drew McIntyre entered the match and went straight after Orton. Outside the ring, Drew ground Orton’s face against the chainlink. Drew threw Jeff, like a dart, into Kofi’s pod. Orton landed a Spike DDT on Drew, into the ring, for a two-count. Orton followed up with a backbreaker, but again, only got two, as time expired again.

Kofi Kingston entered the match and went right after Orton. Kofi caught Orton with a surprise pinfall.

Randy Orton eliminated

Orton went berzerk and hit both Kofi and Hardy with RKO’s. AJ Styles panicked and requested to be let out of his pod. Omos ripped out the back of the pod and Styles got out to the arena floor. But Orton calmly walked away, so Styles went into the Chamber and tried to eliminate Hardy and Kofi, but to no avail. Adam Pearce came out and sent Omos to the back. Despite the momentary distraction, Styles, the freshest man in the match, went after his three opponents, in turn, before Hardy sent him crashing into the chain wall. In the ring, Drew picked up a number of near falls on Kofi. McIntyre then hit a back body drop to Styles, followed by a neck breaker to Hardy for a two-count.

McIntyre was the only person left standing when Sheamus entered the match. The former friends went straight after each other, exchanging ruthless punches. The two fought outside the ring while Kofi went after Styles. The remaining competitors ended up back in the ring, where Sheamus and Kingston exchanged strikes. Kofi ended up atop a pod, whilst McIntyre crotched Sheamus on the top rope. McIntyre set up for a Superplex, but Hardy and Styles involved themselves, resulting in a powerbomb with carnage. Kofi jumped off the pod, wiping out all four men. Kingston and Sheamus went at it again, until Sheamus connected with a Brogue Kick for a three-count.

Kofi Kingston eliminated

Jeff Hardy landed Twist of Fates to Sheamus, McIntyre and Styles. Hardy climbed up to a pod roof, where he landed Whisper in the Wind on Sheamus and Drew. Hardy climbed another pod and hit a Swanton Bomb on Styles. But McIntyre then hit Hardy with a Claymore for another pin.

Jeff Hardy eliminated

Sheamus hit a bicycle knee strike to McIntyre for a close fall. McIntyre hit a Glasgow Kiss, but Sheamus responded with White Noise. Styles hit a Springboard Splash on McIntyre for a two-count. He followed up immediately with a Springboard 450, for another close fall. Sheamus was furious at AJ’s failure and began to viciously beat him down. McIntyre landed a Futureshock DDT to Sheamus. By which point, all three men were down. McIntyre set up for a Claymore, but Sheamus was quicker with a Brogue Kick. Styles then blinded Sheamus with a Phenomenal Forearm for the pin.

Sheamus eliminated

That left us down to the final two. Styles tried for another Phenomenal Forearm, but McIntyre caught him with a Claymore in mid-air for the win.

Winner: and still Champion, Drew McIntyre

Verdict: A brilliant match. Easily the best match of the night. It had a non-stop breakneck pace with a number of surprises, including Orton’s early elimination and AJ’s ingenious escape from his pod. The action between Sheamus and McIntyre was ruthless, while the finishing sequence was beautifully superb.

The Chamber was raised quickly while McIntyre was celebrating, so it was clear something was about to happen. Sure enough, Bobby Lashley appeared and viciously attacked an exhausted McIntyre. He sent the Champion into the barricade and announce table, before applying the Hurt Lock in the ring. Then, out came the Miz, with his briefcase and a referee to cash-in.

WWE Championship
Drew McIntyre (C) vs The Miz

The Miz hit a DDT but Drew somehow kicked out. The Miz followed up with Skull-Crushing Finale for the three-count.

Winner: and NEW Champion, The Miz

Verdict: As a WWE fan, first and foremost, I love it when I don’t know what’s coming next. That can be a rarity, as WWE often follows a predictable formula, so for the Miz to cash-in here, so close to WrestleMania, it completely shakes up the landscape on the RAW side. Just when it looked like McIntyre vs Sheamus could be a potential ‘Mania match, McIntyre no longer has the title. The Miz is the perfectly cowardly heel who could only have defeated McIntyre after a gruelling Chamber and a beatdown from Lashley. Speaking of which, The Miz has clearly made a deal with the Hurt Business, but what was the price and can Miz afford to pay it? And, was becoming the first-ever 2-time WWE Grand Slam Champion worth it?

We still have one more stop on the Road to WrestleMania, and that will be Fastlane on March 21st. So it may not yet be a guarantee that Miz will still be Champion when Mania rolls around. Whatever happens, you know you can’t afford to miss a moment of WWE. Remember to keep checking SteelChair for all the latest developments.

All pics courtesy of WWE