Elimination Chamber is in the books. The main event for the blue brand is set while the RAW side of the card has been thrown into complete chaos. Let’s go through the show…..
Kicking things off on the preshow was a fatal four way match between Mustafa Ali, John Morrison, Elias, and Ricochet with the winner replacing the injured Keith Lee in tonight’s US Title match. As far as the match quality, the match was fine, but I’m really not a fan of the way they’re booking Ali. How did he go from a Mania title match against Bryan to leading a faction where all he does is lose? I don’t get it, but in a surprise, it was John Morrison that got the win. This would make sense later on in the night….
Moving on the main card, the Smackdown Chamber match kicked off the show. In my opinion, it was the better of the two chambers tonight and was well booked. They got rid of King Corbin (seriously how long has he been King now? Surely his reign has expired by now right?!) early on and the match really flowed well. Most people were expecting Kevin Owens and many were hoping for Cesaro but it was Daniel Bryan that came out on top and it made sense considering what happened in the immediate aftermath.
The head of the table himself came out for his contractual title defense and obliterated the Yes Man. I was pulling for Cesaro but if the end result was just to take an immediate squash loss to Roman, then Bryan was the right call. Following his win, Roman turned around and was immediately met by a spear from Edge. One sign point later, and we had the main event of Wrestlemania set. It’s a great choice that will no doubt deliver.
Before we move on, shoutout to Jey Uso. He’s gone from being completely off the show before SummerSlam to becoming a bonafide singles star that didn’t look out of place here at all. He got an opportunity and has run with it.
We see highlights of Bad Bunny’s performance at SNL (with the 24/7 title in tow!) and then he has another run in with Miz, slapping him across the face. When Miz turns back around, there is Damien Priest. Simple, but effective. Bad Bunny is celebrity done right in wrestling. He’s a huge star with a big following and he’s a big wrestling fan. I love it. It’s good advertising for WWE and it helps when the celebrity is a fan that cares about the product.
Headed back to the ring and we have Lashley defending against Riddle and John Morrison. I thought going in that perhaps Keith Lee was going to win the title here so it wasn’t a total surprise that Riddle won, which he did, pinning Morrison to finally capture the U.S Title. What was most important was that he didn’t beat Lashley and needed MVP’s crutch to help get the win. Lashley has been the most dominant midcard champion that I can ever remember and to see him lose a match of any kind these days is kind of jarring. Surely something bigger has to be coming for him right? Stay tuned…..;-)
Next up on the card was the women’s tag team title match. I’ll be honest, I’m looking forward to the match at Wrestlemania, but I don’t get the story that has been told the last month between Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair. They got a tag title match because Reginald pinned Nia Jax last week? I’m not sure, but it made for a weird tag match that saw the babyfaces dominate throughout. In the end, it was attempted interference from Reginald backfiring and costing Sasha Banks the win. The right result, but this felt unnecessary. Sasha vs. Bianca is a money match but getting there might not be smooth sailing. Sasha’s babyface turn has fallen flat. I think they’re better off turning Banks and letting Bianca really shine as the single babyface in the program.
The main event was the WWE Championship match between six former champions. In reality, the winner was never truly in doubt. Drew McIntyre outlasted Jeff Hardy, Kofi Kingston, Randy Orton, Sheamus, and lastly, AJ Styles. It was mildly surprising that there was no interference. No Bray Wyatt to come after Orton, no Ali to come after Kofi. The story of the night came at the end when Lashley emerged to lay out Drew Mcintyre and that led to the Miz cashing in.
Yes you read that right, less than 2 months before Wrestlemania, the NEW WWE Champion is The Miz. Where does this leave Drew? Certainly he’s not going to take losing the title lightly and he’s unresolved issues with both Sheamus and Lashley. I can’t imagine this will last long term, but for the first time in awhile, RAW is going to be must see as the Road to Wrestlemania has taken a sharp detour and that’s AWWWWWESOME!
By Dylan Creighton (@DylanJames_77)