Welcome to the TJR review of the 2019 edition of WWE’s annual February pay-per-view known as Elimination Chamber. Here’s the Kickoff Show match.
The announcers for the Cruiserweight Championship match are Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness and Aiden English, who are the usual 205 Live announce team since English was added to it recently.
Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy vs. Akira Tozawa
There were some hard chops to the chest by Tozawa early on, Murphy went for a chop on the floor, Tozawa moved and Murphy hit his right hand off the ring post. Back in the ring, Murphy launched Tozawa into the air. Tozawa kicked Murphy out of the ring. Tozawa went for a suicide dive on the floor, Murphy caught him and hit a suplex on the floor. Nice spot. Murphy chopped Tozawa down to the mat. They cut to a backstage scene with Kayla Braxton trying to talk to Kofi Kingston, but Big E and Xavier Woods talked for him. I don’t think they should do interviews while a match is going on. Tozawa slapped on a submission match on Murphy’s arms and then Murphy hit a backbreaker. Chinlock by Murphy followed by an abdominal stretch. The interview was still going on with Woods and Big E saying that Kingston would be WWE Champion. The interview ended as the focus was back on the match with Tozawa giving Murphy a hip toss over the top to the floor.
Back in the ring, Tozawa with a superkick. Tozawa with a jumping kick to the head and he went up top with a missile dropkick. Tozawa with a pump kick to the jaw, backdrop driver slam and a Shining Wizard running knee to the head got a two count. Murphy with a boot to the face, Tozawa with another kick as they battled by the turnbuckle and Tozawa countered a Powerbomb with a hurricanrana out of the corner for two! That was an awesome spot. It drew a big pop from the crowd, who started a “this is awesome” chant. Tozawa up top, crossbody, Murphy caught him, Murphy with a slam into the knee, another knee to the face and a brainbuster by Murphy got a two count. They exchanged strikes with Tozawa hitting a punch to the face followed by a stiff clothesline and a delayed German Suplex by Tozawa got a two count. Tozawa to the turnbuckle and he jumped off with a reverse hurricanrana! That was cool. Tozawa with a suicide dive where he connected head to head. Tozawa back in and he connected again with a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Tozawa up top, Murphy to the apron and Tozawa hit a senton splash to the back of Murphy with the crowd popping big for that nearfall. Murphy with a stiff knee to the face. Tozawa with a roll through pin for two. Tozawa slapped on the octopus hold submission, Murphy broke free and hit his spinning slam known as Murphy’s Law for the pinfall win at 13:25.
Winner by pinfall: Buddy Murphy
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very good match. They had a nice mix of big moves, technical wrestling and a creative finish to the match as well. The crowd got into it more as the match got going too. That spot out of the corner with a Powerbomb into a hurricanrana counter by Tozawa was outstanding and it’s not easy to do something like that. Murphy is doing an awesome as a heel champion. I don’t know when he’ll lose the title or to who because there isn’t a face wrestler on 205 Live that stands out as the obvious next champion.
That was the only Kickoff Show match. Onto the main show.
WWE Elimination Chamber
Toyota Center in Houston, Texas
February 17, 2019
The opening video package covered the big matches for tonight along with clips of past Elimination Chamber matches. It ended by saying the road to WrestleMania comes through the Elimination Chamber.
There was a shot of the Toyota Center with the crowd looking fired up. The Elimination Chamber structure was set up around the ring. The Women’s Tag Team Title match is up first.
The team of Naomi and Carmella (settle down, Corey) entered first in matching green glow outfits. The Tag Team Titles were at ringside.
The announce team for the Women’s Tag Team Titles match is Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young and Beth Phoenix as a guest commentator for this match. The team of Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan entered. The Spanish announcers were shown at ringside. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay aka The IIconics made their entrance. Peyton’s hair is more of a brown color instead of black like Kay’s hair. Yes, I looked at her hair. That’s reporting. The German announce team was shown at ringside. Nia Jax and Tamina were up next as the fourth team that will be locked into a pod to start the match.
The team of Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose were up next as one of the two teams that will start the match since they lost on Smackdown. The final team is Sasha Banks and Bayley, who are in an opening spot because they lost a match on Raw.
Elimination Chamber Match for the New Women’s Tag Team Titles: Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville vs. Nia Jax and Tamina vs. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay vs. Naomi and Carmella vs. Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan
A team is eliminated if one member of the team gets pinned or submitted.
The teams of Bayley/Banks and Deville/Rose started the match with Banks and Bayley getting control with running knee attacks. Double neckbreaker by Bayley and Banks on the ropes. Banks hit a cross body block onto Deville/Rose on the mats outside the ring. Deville came back with a slam on Banks off the turnbuckle. Rose with a backbreaker on Bayley for a two count. When Graves talked about Mandy, Renee said it’s a little uncomfortable. Oh yeah, it sure is. The women battled on the mats outside the ring with Deville sending Bayley into the side of the chamber. They did a spot where Mandy’s foot was against the chamber and Bayley hit a neckbreaker.
The next team entered after five minutes of action: Morgan and Logan. There was a running knee by Logan on Banks against the cage. Logan whipped Banks’ hand into the pod and a headbutt to Bayley. The Deville/Rose and Morgan/Logan teams got into a slugfest with Deville hitting a knee on Logan after Morgan knocked down Rose. Hard slap to the face by Morgan on Deville. There was a kick to the face from Deville to put down Logan. All six women were down until Bayley got a two count on Morgan. Bayley was on fire with a clothesline and a belly to back suplex. They did a Tower of Doom spot out of the corner with Bayley taking a superplex and two of the girls were taken down with powerbombs. Everybody was down. The clock ticked down again although it wasn’t five minutes this time. It was about four minutes.
The duo of Royce and Kay covered everybody in the ring for multiple two counts. They complained to the referee about it. Royce and Kay whipped a couple girls into turnbuckles, double knees to rose and a front suplex on Deville. The IIconics pulled Rose and Logan off the ropes to slam them down. Banks was still out by one of the pods as Royce hit a knee on Bayley and then Banks showed up to save Bayley. Banks was favoring a left arm/shoulder injury while having tape on her shoulder. Banks was driven into the knee of Kay and a spin kick from Royce got two. The IIconics continued to attack Bayley and Banks on the mats outside the ring with Royce hitting a dive onto Bayley. The clock ticked down again 13 minutes into the match.
It’s Naomi and Carmella as the fifth team in the match. Naomi with a springboard cross body block on the IIconics. Carmella and Naomi hit bronco busters on the other women in the ring. Naomi hit a jumping kick on Royce. Kay and Carmella climbed the cage for some reason, Kay grabbed her and Carmella hit a flying headscissors that sent Kaye into a pod. Superkick by Carmella on Logan and Naomi with a split legged moonsault on Logan for two. Carmella cross body block on Logan, Bayley with a belly to back suplex on Carmella. Royce with a Gory Special on Banks, Morgan with a running knee and Rose slammed Morgan down. Logan with a Fisherman’s Suplex on Rose, Deville with a Spear on Logan and Carmella with a superkick. That was a lot with everybody hitting a move and then taking a bump. Everybody was down around the ring. Naomi and Rose got into a stand off with Naomi hitting her Rear View attack on Rose. Kay and Royce double-teamed and pinned Naomi at the same time to eliminate her.
Carmella and Naomi eliminated by The IIconics
The final team in the match are Nia Jax and Tamina as the crowd booed them. Jax and Tamina stood in the ring while the other teams were out of the ring. Royce and Kay were hiding in a pod, but Jax and Tamina pulled them out. Jax and Tamina whipped Royce and Kay into the cage repeatedly. Jax and Tamina hit double Samoan Drops on Kay and Royce leading to pins to eliminate the IIconics.
Peyton Royce and Billie Kay eliminated by Nia Jax and Tamina
Morgan and Logan went after Jax and Tamina with double team moves, but Jax broke up a pin attempt. Deville with kicks on Jax and Rose with a running knee on Jax. Bayley and Banks got back into it with punches. Bayley and Banks with knee attacks on Tamina. Double team slam by Bayley and Banks on Morgan and a double slam on Logan for a two count. Bayley did a slingshot on Deville that sent her into the turnbuckle and Rose moved even though it looked like the other girls wondered why she moved. Banks with a double stack double knee attack on Rose and Deville for a two count. Jax and Tamina put down Bayley and Banks with running body attacks. Logan and Morgan climbed a pod. Jax whipped Rose into the cage. That led to Logan and Morgan jumping off the pod with cross body blocks onto some of the girls and Logan got a two count on Deville. Jax hit a Samoan Drop on Morgan off the second rope. Tamina went up top for her shitty Superfly Splash to eliminate Logan and Morgan.
Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan eliminated by Nia Jax and Tamina
Analysis: The cross body blocks off the pods meant nothing since they were beat like 30 seconds later.
They did a spot where Jax charged at Bayley, who moved and Jax went running through the glass off the pod. That drew a huge ovation and it was a loud noise. Banks hit the Meteora double knees on Tamina and Bayley hit the Elbow Drop off the top rope. All four women pinned Tamina, so her and Jax are out.
Nia Jax and Tamina eliminated by Bayley and Sasha Banks
Analysis: The spot with Jax running through the glass was typical for a Jax match where she always runs into a post.
The fans were chanting “yes” repeatedly as we are down to the final two teams: Banks and Bayley vs. Deville and Rose. They did a spot where Banks hit a Backstabber on Deville and Bayley hit the Bayley to Belly on Deville for a two count with Rose making the save at the last possible moment. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Rose climbed the Chamber and got onto a pod with Banks and Bayley going after her. Bayley and Banks sent Rose back first into the glass. They teased a double suplex off the pod, which was unrealistic and Deville went to save her partner. Bayley kicked Deville down while Rose kicked Bayley down. Deville was tackled back first into the black support beam of the pod. Banks went down to check on Bayley, who sold it like she was in a lot of pain. Rose went up behind Banks and whipped her into a pod. Back in the ring, Rose hit her double underhook sitout slam for a two count as Banks kicked out. Deville went for a Spear on Banks, who moved and Deville ended up hitting the Spear on Rose. Banks went for the Bank Statement on Deville, but her arm was hurting, so she used the leg and Deville tapped out. Big pop for that. Banks and Bayley win at 33:10
Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose eliminated by Sasha Banks and Bayley
Winners by submission and New Women's Tag Team Champions: Sasha Banks and Bayley
Analysis:h ***3/4 That was a really good Chamber match that was just under four stars out of five. Getting 34 minutes meant that they had a lot of time to tell a story and I liked the way Banks sold that shoulder injury right until the end of the match. I liked the way that Jax/Tamina were booked in a dominant way, then Tamina made a mistake and it cost her team the match because the other girls were smart enough to attack Tamina. It’s smart booking. That was the best match Rose/Deville have ever been a part of. I don’t say that because they are bad because I like their potential, but it’s the biggest match they have had and they did very well. Royce and Kay had some fun moments in there as well. I think the right team got the win because it’s smart to put over the babyface tag team of Bayley and Banks as the first champions for those new titles. That’s the right way to book it.
Banks and Bayley celebrated with the Women’s Tag Team Titles. Charly Caruso went into the ring with them. The fans gave them the “you deserve it” chant. Banks said that they are there for a purpose because they will continue to do what they do best. Banks said that they are the Boss N Hug Connection, your new WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions and they held up their titles. The fans cheered. Bayley and Banks hugged.
The announcers talked about how big of a moment this is and they were all crying even though they weren’t crying on commentary. Beth Phoenix might have been. Anyway, Banks and Bayley posed some more.
The Smackdown announce team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton took over.
A video package aired for Shane/Miz vs. The Usos for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles.
The Miz entered for a promo. He congratulated Banks and Bayley for winning the Women’s Tag Team Titles. Miz said he’s dedicating this match to his dad, his daughter and his wife. Maryse appeared to say that she’s pregnant with another baby for her and Miz. That led to cheers from the crowd. I think there was a “you still got it” chant, so that’s funny. Shane McMahon entered and hugged Miz and Maryse as the guys went down to the ring.
Analysis: Congrats to Miz and Maryse on another Baby Miz joining the world. They'll have two little ones running wild at once, so that's a lot of work. I'm sure they'll be fine.
The Usos made their entrance looking ready to go. Rough week for Jimmy after an arrest in Detroit when he got into an argument with a police officer. It wasn’t a major thing, but it’s still not a good thing to deal with an arrest like that.
Smackdown Tag Team Titles: Shane McMahon and The Miz vs. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso)
Miz and Shane were wrestling in white shirts. Miz started for his team for about a minute. Shane tagged in with a sunset flip for a two count. Miz tagged in with a running kick on Jey, Shane with an elbow drop and a double team clothesline sent Jey out of the ring. Miz and Shane with a double team clothesline on Jimmy out of the ring. Miz worked over Jey with kicks against the turnbuckle and Jimmy tagged in to send Miz throat first into the top rope. Jey with a running forearm on Miz against the turnbuckle. Jimmy back in with a chinlock on Miz, who broke free and then Jimmy decked Miz with a clothesline. Jey worked over Miz a bit, Jimmy back in and he whipped the Miz shirt at Shane. Jimmy with a running clothesline on Miz against the turnbuckle similar to how Miz does it. Miz with a running clothesline on Jimmy. Shane got the hot tag to not much of a reaction. Shane hit a jumping pump kick (Brogue?) on Jimmy and a back body drop. After Shane punched Jimmy down, Shane hit Jey and Jimmy with DDTs leading to a two count for Shane. With an Usos against the turnbuckle, Shane hit a Coast to Coast dropkick on Jimmy. Shane went up another turnbuckle, jumped off and Jey decked him with a superkick! Nice spot. Jey went up top and hit a Superfly Splash on Shane for a two count as Miz made the save on the pin. Miz tagged in and hit a double axe on Jey. Miz with a boot to the face, but Jey hit a Samoan Drop. Jey with a running attack, Miz moved, Jey hit a turnbuckle and Miz hit a DDT for a two count. Miz with a running dropkick that sent Jey to the floor. Miz cleared off the English announce table. Jimmy with a flying attack out of the ring, Miz moved and Jimmy took out Jey on the floor by accident. Miz kicked Jimmy down. Miz put Jey across the announce table and he told Shane to go up top. Miz worked over Jey with punches. Shane did a slow climb, he looked wobbly and Shane hit a flying elbow off the top rope onto Jey through the announce table! That was huge. It led to a mild “Holy Shit” chant from the crowd. The match continued with Jimmy and Miz going for pinfalls on eachother and Jimmy hit a superkick. Jimmy went up top, he jumped off, Miz got the knees up and an inside cradle got two. Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Jimmy for the two count because Jimmy hooked the arms of Miz and got a pinfall win at 14:10
Winners by pinfall and New Smackdown Tag Team Champions: The Usos
Analysis: *** The match was pretty good with a finish that I didn’t expect because I thought it might be a few more weeks before a title change. The finish was clever with Jimmy hooking the arms of Miz to win in a clean way, which showed how crafty the Usos are. The title reign of Miz and Shane only lasted three weeks, which makes it seem pointless even though it was a big deal when they won. Plus, Jimmy Uso had that arrest last week, yet here he is winning a title. I don’t know what kind of message that sends to the locker room. I like the Usos and I don't think the arrest was a major thing, but it was still bad publicity for the company. That’s the 6th Tag Team Title reign for the Usos.
After the match, The Usos left with the Smackdown Tag Team Titles as the new champions.
The Miz and Shane were both sad about the loss. Miz left the ring to check on Shane on the floor. Shane put his arm around Miz and they walked around the ring together. The fans cheered them as the camera faded out.
Analysis: There’s probably going to be a Miz heel turn on Shane soon to set up a WrestleMania match between them. Miz has been a face for a couple of months, but we all know he’s better in the heel role. I think it might come as soon as Tuesday on Smackdown.
A commercial aired for Fastlane on March 10. That’s the last PPV before WrestleMania and it’s only three weeks away.
There was a promo from Paige plugging the “Fighting with my Family” movie about her life that is in theatres on February 22. Some clips aired from the movie and the people that put the movie together, including The Rock, commented on the film.
Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush were backstage with Dasha Fuentes showing up to interview them. Rush said they had the advantage because nobody is more dominant than Lashley and Rush. Rush said that Finn can’t win while Dasha pointed out that Finn pinned Rush two weeks ago.
Lio Rush and Intercontinental Champion Bobby Lashley made their entrance for the Handicap IC Title match. The Raw team of Cole, Graves and Young were back on commentary. The international announcers were shown: Portuguese, Russian, Japanese (hi Funaki), Hindi (one of them was way too excited), French (bonjour Ray Rougeau) and the Mandarin team.
Finn Balor got a nice ovation as usual.
Intercontinental Championship: Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush vs. Finn Balor
Balor can win the IC Title if he beats Lashley or Rush. Lashley and Rush must tag in and out of the ring.
Balor got some offense in early, so Lashley went to the floor. Back in the ring, Lashley sent Balor face first into the turnbuckle. Balor with a jumping kick to the head of Lashley. Rush with a distraction, Balor sunset flip on Bobby and Lashley stomped on the ribs of Balor. Back body drop by Balor sent Lashley over the top to the floor. Balor ran the ropes, Rush grabbed his foot and Balor chased Rush leading to Lashley slamming Balor back first into the barricade. Lashley sent Balor spine first int the side of the apron. Elbow to the chest by Lashley. Rush tagged in with kicks on Balor. When Balor got back up, Rush tagged Lashley back in and Lashley knocked Balor down for a two count. Lashley with a flatliner on Balor for a two count. Rush tagged in, he slapped on an abdominal stretch on Balor and Balor hit a hiptoss to send Rush across the ring. Rush broke free again leading to Lashley tagging in and shoulder tackles to the ribs of Balor. Lashley with a running shoulder tackle to the ribs of Balor. Lashley with a one armed spinebuster for a two count. Rush tagged himself in, Lashley didn’t like it and Rush missed a Frog Splash because Balor moved. Balor got a hold of Rush, punch to the head, double foot stomp on Rush, Slingblade by Balor on Lashley and a clothesline sent Lashley out of the ring. Balor sent Rush out of the ring. Balor with a somersault dive on Rush and Lashley on the floor. Balor quickly brought Rush back in the ring, Balor with a running dropkick on Rush into the turnbuckle and Balor up top with a Coup de Grace double foot stomp on Rush for the pinfall win at 9:30.
Winner and New Intercontinental Champion: Finn Balor
Analysis: **1/2 It was okay with Balor selling for most of the match with Lashley getting in a lot of offense while Rush screwed up every time he was in the ring with Balor. They went with the finish of Balor isolating Rush and finishing him off easily while Lashley was out in the ring. I didn’t predict a title change because I thought they might save it for WrestleMania. I’m fine with the title change because Balor is great, so no complaints from me. I just thought it would be better at a bigger show, but I can see why they did it this way too.
After the match was over, Balor left with the IC Title while Graves joked that Finn won’t wear the title around his waist because he doesn’t want to cover his abs.
Lashley and Rush were left alone in the ring with Lashley looking upset about the loss since he wasn’t beat and he lost his title. Lashley grabbed Rush around the neck as fans cheered. When Lashley put Rush down, the fans booed. Lashley picked up Rush and gave him a one-armed Spinebuster into the mat. Lashley left looking pissed off while Rush was out in the ring.
Analysis: Lashley let out his frustrations on Rush for costing him the title. That makes sense. It was not a face turn by Lashley as we would see later.
The announcers mentioned that Houston gets Royal Rumble 2020 at Minute Maid Park, which is the Astros baseball stadium. It was announced a few days ago.
A commercial aired for a WWE Network documentary about Mark Henry that premieres after Elimination Chamber. The announcers talked about the Henry documentary. The Raw Women’s Title is next.
A clip aired from last week’s Raw when Vince McMahon suspended Becky Lynch for 60 days and said that Charlotte Flair will now challenge Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women’s Title at WrestleMania. Another clip aired from last night’s Smackdown house show when Becky tried to attack Charlotte Flair, but Flair kicked Lynch in the injured left knee and hit Lynch’s knee with chair shots.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance in street clothes looking good in black. She entered the ring. Flair was interviewed by Charly Caruso as she said that she’s going to WrestleMania and she got to do what she loved last night when she beat up Becky Lynch. Flair said that Becky needs the approval of the fans and they booed her. Flair said when she looks in the mirror, the reflection gives her the love and approval that she needs because she knows she is the very best on Raw, Smackdown and in the WWE. The fans chanted “Becky” to try to shut her up. Flair said she’s going to sit ringside to see this Ronda Rousey match to see who main events WrestleMania against The Queen and she pointed at the WM sign.
Analysis: I enjoy the heel Charlotte promos. She’s more comfortable in this role and it shows every time she’s out there.
Ruby Riott entered as Ronda Rousey’s opponent for the Raw Women’s Title. Ronda Rousey made her entrance to a good ovation and a serious look on her face dressed up like Sonya Blade from Mortal Kombat 11. Charlotte Flair was watching at ringside.
Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey vs. Ruby Riott
Riott attacked with a kick followed by punches, but Rousey came back with two arm wringers leading to Rousey bailing to the floor. Riott stalled on the floor. When she went back in the ring, Riott hit a forearm and a kick. Rousey with a takedown. Rousey with the Piper's Pit slam, a point at the WrestleMania sign and the armbar submission led to the tapout win. The match was over at 1:40.
Winner by submission: Ronda Rousey
Analysis: 1/2* Easy win by Rousey. I said in my preview that it should be under five minutes and it was even shorter than that. It makes Rousey look dominant to win like that. People might bitch that it hurts Riott, but so what? Rousey is the WrestleMania main eventer. She doesn't need to go 15 minutes to win a match. Dominant wins should happen for a champion to add to their credibility.
Charlotte Flair got into the ring and had a staredown with Rousey, who was looking off in the distance and there was Becky Lynch. That led to Lynch heading down to ringside by using crutches to help her. Lynch could barely get to the ring, but she got there. Even though Lynch is suspended in the storyline, nobody tried to stop her.
The fans chanted “she’s the man” for Lynch. Lynch threw a crutch at Flair and attacked Flair with the other crutch with Flair rolling around the mat in pain. That looked like a rough attack. Rousey watched the whole thing. With Flair writing around the ring in pain, Rousey grabbed the other crutch that Lynch had. Lynch told Rousey to attack Flair as well. When Rousey was about to attack, Lynch attacked Rousey with a crutch and knocked Rousey down. Lynch hit Rousey with a crutch repeatedly. Referees and security guys finally went down to the ring after about 30 total shots of the crutches. Lynch looked at the crowd, who gave her a big ovation and a “Becky” chant. Lynch was taken away by the two security guys that are really indy wrestlers in a vision that reminded a lot of us "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, I'm sure.
Analysis: Good segment in terms of adding more fuel to the fire of this three way feud that will eventually lead to a WrestleMania match with Rousey, Flair and Lynch. It’s bad in terms of realism because Lynch is suspended in the storyline, yet she was allowed to be in the ring for about five minutes beating on these women with crutches while referees and security were slow to get her out of there. From a logic point of view, they could have booked it better, but it was very effective in giving the fans what they want.
Baron Corbin made his entrance and Braun Strowman was up next to a big pop.
No Disqualification Match: Baron Corbin vs. Braun Strowman
Corbin was in control early with a kendo stick to Strowman’s face and kendo stick to the leg. Strowman managed to take control by sending Corbin into the turnbuckle and grabbing the kendo stick. Strowman broke the kendo stick because he said he didn’t need it. They left the ring with Corbin taking control by hitting Strowman with the steel steps repeatedly. Corbin mocked Strowman with a loud yell. Back in the ring, Corbin with a punch to the face. Strowman came back with a punch to the jaw and a boot to the face. Young got excited about it and Cole said she’s supposed to be impartial. Announcers don’t have to be impartial actually – it’s WWE. Strowman grabbed a table from under the ring. Strowman set up a table against the turnbuckle. Corbin went for an attack off the ropes, Strowman grabbed him and gave Corbin a powerslam into the table against the turnbuckle. Drew McIntyre’s music hit as Drew walked down to the ring with a steel chair. Bobby Lashley showed up in the ring from behind Strowman (Strowman never saw him) with a steel chair and he hit Strowman in the back with a chair. McIntyre worked over Strowman with chair shots. When Strowman got back up, Lashley hit a Spear on him. The heels set up two steel steps in the ring. Strowman tried to fight back, but Corbin hit Strowman in the back with a chair. Corbin and McIntyre brought two tables into the ring. McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick on Strowman. The heels stacked the two tables onto eachother by the steel steps. Corbin and McIntyre moved Strowman over to where Lashley was and they went for a Shield-like 3-man Powerbomb off the steel steps through two stacked tables. Corbin got the pinfall win at 10:50.
Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin
Analysis: *1/2 This is one of those instances where I say it was an angle more than the match. When the match was first announced a Strowman win made sense, but as the week went on and WWE made it a No DQ match, it made me think Corbin would win thanks to some help and that’s what happened. It also makes Strowman look like a jerk since nobody tried to help him, but that’s not something the announcers are going to mention. Anyway, that match was about as cheap as it gets with the heels winning.
There was a video that aired about the Special Olympics 2019 World Games in Abu Dhabi. Some of the athletes from Texas were shown in the crowd.
A replay aired of Miz and Shane losing their Smackdown Tag Team Titles earlier in the night.
Shane was getting looked at by a “doctor” with Miz being angry about the title loss. Shane told him to calm down, he said it’s alright and told Miz to go home. Shane said he’ll see him on Tuesday. Miz walked away angrily.
Analysis: I think the Miz heel turn on Shane is coming on Smackdown with Miz looking angry in that scene. They could do the turn at Fastlane too, which would lead to a WrestleMania match.
Lacey Evans made her entrance in her street clothes. She walked down the ramp, then walked back up the ramp and that was it. That was odd.
There was a graphic that let us know that WrestleMania is 49 days away.
The Smackdown announce team mentioned the two matches we know for WrestleMania: Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins for the Universal Title and Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair for the Raw Women’s Title. Becky Lynch will get added to that, but they have time to get to that.
There were commercials for WWE Shop and Fastlane.
It was time for the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Title as the main event. The chamber was lowered on the ring.
The introductions took place for the Elimination Chamber match: Kofi Kingston was first, Jeff Hardy in blue/white face paint, Randy Orton (#6 in the match) entering his 7th Chamber match and AJ Styles was the last man to enter one of the pods.
Samoa Joe entered as one of the first two men to start the match. That means the other man to start the match is WWE Champion Daniel Bryan, who had the big man Rowan with him.
Bryan was booed by the fans while saying that he is being punished by management for making the fans the authority. Bryan complained about being first in the Elimination Chamber (fickle!), first in the gauntlet (fickle!) and referees ordered that Rowan has to go to the back. Bryan said he didn’t want us to call him a martyr, but he is suffering for the greater good while the small minded people repeat one stupid phrase over and over again while fans chanted “What?” at him. Bryan said that the people and the planet needs him. He said that there is still hope that Bryan will raise the beautiful championship and still be the WWE Champion. Bryan took his time to getting into the ring.
Analysis: Bryan has become my favorite promo guy in WWE. He's so great at these heel promos.
WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton
The match started at 9:37pmET. Bryan tried to get away from Joe, but he wasn’t able to get too far because there’s nowhere to run inside the chamber. Joe worked over Bryan with chops, he slapped on a Boston Crab submission, then a crossface submission and Joe pulled back on the arm of Bryan. Bryan managed to come back with a kick to the knee of Joe. Bryan whipped Joe into the edge of the pod. They got into a slugfest with Bryan hitting Joe with chops, but when Joe came back with chops on his own, Bryan had big red marks on his chest. Bryan sent Joe into the turnbuckle. The five minutes were up and it’s onto the next entrant.
The third man to enter was Kofi Kingston with kicks, a jumping attack on Bryan and he wanted a DDT on Joe, but Joe fought it off. Kingston with a jumping kick to the face of Joe and up top with a Frog Splash to the back of Joe for a two count. Bryan suplexed Kingston onto the top rope and Bryan went up with a jumping knee attack to the back of Kofi’s neck for a two count. Joe decked Bryan with another hard chop to the chest. Bryan climbed the empty pod and sat on it to get away from Joe. Kingston got away from Joe, he jumped onto the pod that Bryan was on and punched him repeatedly. Bryan and Kingston walked across the crossbeams, Joe went after them, Kingston kicked Joe down and Kingston did a trust fall dive off the cage onto Joe and Bryan! That was a big fall as fans chanted “Kofi” for him. Bryan ran the ropes, Kingston with a leapfrog and a back elbow by Kingston on Bryan got a two count. Joe with a senton splash on Bryan’s back. Joe with a snap suplex on Kingston for two. Joe with more chops to the chest of Bryan.
It’s AJ Styles as the fourth man in the match. Styles unloaded on everybody with strikes including a clothesline on Joe. Styles with an elbow to the face and he hit a reverse DDT on Bryan and a regular DDT on Kingston at the same time for two counts on each man. The fans chanted “AJ Styles” for the former WWE Champion. Styles with a forearm smash to Joe. Bryan was climbing the chamber again, Styles saw him and Styles hit a Phenomenal Forearm to the back of Bryan to knock him down. Kingston blocked a Styles Clash with a kick to the head and Styles hit an Ushigoroshi knee to the back of Kingston’s neck for two. Joe whipped Styles into the steel cage and hit a back body drop. Joe caught Kingston into a Coquina Clutch submission, but Kingston countered into a pin for two. Styles got back into it with a Phenomenal Forearm on Joe to pin and eliminate him. It’s time for the fifth man.
Samoa Joe eliminated by AJ Styles
Jeff Hardy entered to a decent pop as the fifth man in the match. Hardy with a double leg drop and a low dropkick on Styles. Bryan back in, Hardy kicked him out of the ring. Hardy with a front suplex on Kingston. Hardy jumped on Kingston’s back and over the top onto Bryan on the outside of the chamber. Styles with a Pele Kick on Hardy. Bryan whipped Kingston into the cage a few times. Hardy and Styles battled on the top rope with Styles hitting his waist on the top rope. Bryan was working over the arm of Kingston. Hardy put Styles on the top turnbuckle and Hardy hit a Swanton Bomb on Styles. Bryan went back into the ring with a running knee on Hardy to pin and eliminate him.
Jeff Hardy eliminated by Daniel Bryan
Analysis: That was a great elimination with Bryan capitalizing on the situation as soon as Hardy got back to his feet. They timed it really well.
Bryan put Styles upside down against the turnbuckle and hit a running dropkick on him. Bryan went for a superplex on Kingston, but Styles curled himself back up and hit a German Suplex on Bryan, who suplexed Kingston in a unique Tower of Doom spot. The buzzer went off for the last man in the match.
Randy Orton entered as the final man while the other three guys were down in precarious positions. Orton slowly worked over everybody a bit. Kingston managed to take down Orton with a dropkick and Styles hit a modified backbreaker on Kingston. Styles with a forearm on Kingston. Styles was going for a Phenomenal Forearm, he went to the top and Orton hit a RKO on Styles to pin him. Great spot.
AJ Styles eliminated by Randy Orton
Analysis: The rumor is Styles vs. Orton at WrestleMania, so maybe they will use that elimination to start the setup for that.
Kingston with a rollup for two on Orton. When Kingston went up top, Orton tripped up Kingston to crotch him and Orton hit a draping DDT off the top rope. Orton managed to hit a belly to belly slam on Bryan. Orton wanted a RKO on Kingston, but Kofi pushed him off and Kingston hit a Trouble in Paradise kick on Orton and pinned him to eliminate him. That drew a big pop.
Randy Orton eliminated by Kofi Kingston
Bryan and Kingston had a long staredown as the final two in the match. Kingston went for a Trouble in Paradise kick, Bryan ducked it and hit a dropkick to the legs. Bryan with the kicks to the chest and Kingston managed to hit the SOS for a two count. The crowd is fully behind Kingston and thought that was it, but it was just a two count. The crowd was loud in their support for Kingston with “New Day rocks” chants as Graves said that the world is believing in Kofi Kingston. Bryan worked over Kingston with more kicks and Bryan hit three running dropkicks. Bryan with a fourth running dropkick. Kingston out of the corner with a double foot stomp to the chest for a two count. Bryan rolled under the bottom rope to get out of the ring. Kingston sent Bryan face first into the chamber about six times. The crowd was loving it. Kingston tried to send Bryan into the pod, but Bryan lifted him and sent Kingston hard into the pod, which led to a loud crash as Kingston’s legs took the brunt of that blow and a rough landing on the back/head for Kingston too. With Kingston staggering in the ring, Bryan hit the running knee to the face for a two count, which drew huge cheers and Bryan had a stunned look on his face. Bryan stomped on Kingston’s face. Bryan charged in, Kingston hit Trouble in Paradise and Bryan got a cradle for two, but the director cut away to the crowd for some reason! That was dumb. Anyway, Bryan got a two count out of that. Bryan went for a LeBell Lock submission, but he couldn’t get it locked in and Kingston got to the ropes while Bryan released the submission. I think Bryan released it because he was tired, not just because Kingston got to the ropes.
Bryan went up top and Kingston tripped him up. The crowd chanted “this is awesome” and “Kofi” for Kingston. Bryan went up to the top of a pod, so Kingston went after him. Kingston sent the back of Bryan’s head into the chamber walls a few times. Kingston teased a suplex off the top of the pod, but Bryan blocked it. Bryan turned it around, he sent Kingston’s head into the glass of the cage. Bryan was kicked off the pod, Bryan was on the top turnbuckle and Kofi kicked him into the ring. Kingston was on top of the pod and he jumped off with a splash, but Bryan moved out of the way leading to Kingston hitting the mat hard! Bryan hit the running knee to the face again and Kingston did a flip bump. Bryan pinned Kingston to retain his title after 36:40. Great final two sequence!
Kofi Kingston eliminated by Daniel Bryan
Winner by pinfall: Daniel Bryan
Analysis: ****1/2 That was an excellent match and one of the best Elimination Chamber matches there’s ever been thanks to the performance of Bryan and Kingston. The others were not really booked as threats to win, but that’s okay because it made the performances of Bryan and Kingston stand out more. It was such a cool atmosphere to see the crowd cheering so loudly for Kingston in a way that I have never heard for him. They were popping for all of his spots that always get nearfalls, yet for some reason, the fans thought maybe he could do it this time. That’s great storytelling. It worked because of how well Bryan sold for him, how Bryan took a beating to put over Kingston and then Bryan outsmarted him after Kingston made the mistake on the dive off the pod. Bryan’s the crafty heel that didn’t need to cheat this time. I loved the way he was booked as the focal point of the match that found a way to win clean.
Bryan left the ring with the WWE Title in his hands while Rowan showed up to help him to the back.
Kingston was alone in the ring with his buddies Big E and Xavier Woods helped him. The fans chanted “Thank You Kofi” and Big E told Kingston he deserved that. Woods and Big E embraced Kingston in the ring while the fans gave Kingston a standing ovation. Kingston sat on the steps of the Chamber for a bit to think about what happened while Big E and Woods were right there with him. They walked up the ramp, they turned back to face the crowd and the fans chanted “Kofi” one more time.
Analysis: If the Bryan vs. Kingston rivalry doesn’t continue I’ll be disappointed. I’d love to see it as a singles match at WrestleMania. Why not? Kofi has earned it. The fans are behind the guy. Give him a chance at the biggest show of the year. What's interesting is that as of Tuesday last week, Mustafa Ali was in the match and Kingston replaced him, so would Ali have gotten this same spot at Elimination Chamber? Maybe. I think Kingston has earned this spot and I hope there are better things ahead for him.
This show had a run time of 3:16:26 on WWE Network.
Five Stars of the Show
- Daniel Bryan
- Kofi Kingston - I think he and Bryan were about even in terms of their greatness. Awesome showing by both men.
- Sasha Banks/Bayley
- Mandy Rose/Sonya Deville
- The Usos
I picked more than five people this time and that’s okay.
It gets a 7.5 out of 10 from me.
The two Elimination Chamber matches were outstanding in terms of the length of the matches and the story told with people starting the match (Banks/Bayley and Bryan) finding a way to win. They were booked as well as any Chamber matches WWE has ever done. Trust me when I say that as a guy that has reviewed every Chamber match. Sometimes they are booked in a boring way, but this year I was really into both matches and so was the crowd. Awesome performances from Bryan, Kingston, Banks and Bayley. A lot of people did well, but those four really stood out to me.
I think the midcard was lacking a bit because they just didn’t have any standout matches other than the Chamber matches. Some of the story development was good, though, so it’s not like the non-Chamber matches were a total waste. Two title changes with Balor winning the IC Title and Usos winnning the SD Tag Team Titles does make the show seem like a bigger deal.
Overall, the show exceeded my expectations a bit because of how enjoyable the Chamber matches were. It’s not easy booking 35+ minute matches, but both of them were a lot of fun.
Here are my rankings of 2019 WWE PPVs so far with a ranking out of 10:
Elimination Chamber – 7.5
Royal Rumble - 7
Thanks for reading this review. My contact info is below. I’ll be back during the week with Raw and Smackdown reviews as usual.
Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook