(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)
February 17, 2019
Welcome to a special BONUS review! I said I would do one for the new year, so I decided to review Elimination Chamber 2019. No, It’s not just because it took place in my hometown. I watched it live and thought it was a pretty good show, so I figured I’d try my hand at reviewing something current. Don’t worry. I’m still going to focus primarily on classic shows. I will post my Royal Rumble ‘92 review this Saturday, as scheduled!
Before I begin, let me set the stage for this event. There are two Elimination Chamber Matches on this show. The first will crown new women’s tag team champions for the first time since the late 80s. WWE had teased the idea of bringing them back for months before finally pulling the trigger. It’s the right time to do it because the women have been on fire lately. WWE held an all-women’s PPV last year named Evolution and it was easily one of the best shows they did all year.
The second Chamber Match is for Daniel Bryan’s WWE Title. He has to defend against five other men. The main story in this match is that Mustafa Ali was originally scheduled to be in it. Ali started out on 205 Live as a cruiserweight, but he impressed WWE enough to graduate to the main roster and was heading for a decent push. Unfortunately, he got injured and had to be replaced in the Chamber. WWE chose Kofi Kingston to replace him. Fans have long been wanting a member of The New Day to get a singles push and Kofi has been in the company for eleven years, so he’s a sentimental favorite. WWE decided to run with that idea and had Kofi go nearly an hour in a gauntlet match to determine who would enter the Chamber Match last. Orton would ultimately win the gauntlet, but Kofi’s performance only heightened the buzz from the crowd. It went a long way towards making this Chamber Match feel special.
The other major story for this show is the suspension of Becky Lynch. She won the Women’s Royal Rumble and chose to face Ronda Rousey at Mania, but the storyline was that she hurt her knee in the process. The McMahons raised concerns about this, but she insisted she was fine. She would get into an argument with Stephanie because she thought they were looking for a reason to remove her from the WrestleMania match and she slapped Steph. She even slapped Triple H. She was suspended for 30-Days, but they agreed to lift it if she apologized. She eventually did, but Vince thought she was insincere and disrespectful, so he increased her suspension to 60-Days and replaced her in the Mania match with Charlotte. This angered fans since Becky is easily the most popular star on the roster right now, but this is most likely leading to a Triple Threat at Mania.
The show opens with an ominous video package that’s narrated by—the chamber itself!? He tells the competitors to kindly stop breaking his doors. I’m kidding, of course. The chamber says that every year superstars come to him awaiting their destiny. Then, the voice turns evil. He says he will challenge their courage, test their resilience, and applaud those who succeed. I’m pretty sure if the chamber started applauding, then the competitors and the fans would probably panic. The video also hypes the other matches while the theme song, “Don’t Stop the Devil” by Dead Posey, plays. I honestly thought it was the band, Dorothy, because it sounds very similar to them.
Then, we are told that this PPV is brought to us by the Paige biopic Fighting with My Family, which is in theaters soon. Michael Cole welcomes everyone to Houston and says that this will be the 23rd Elimination Chamber Match in WWE history. He also says that they will crown the first ever Women’s Tag Team Champions tonight. I’m pretty sure the Glamour Girls and Jumping Bomb Angels would take offense to that. Thankfully, Beth Phoenix is nice enough to reference them later.
Tag Team Elimination Chamber Match for the Women’s Tag Team Titles: Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose vs. Nia Jax & Tamina vs. The IIconics vs. Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan vs. Naomi & Carmella
Beth Phoenix joins Corey Graves, Michael Cole, and Renee Young on commentary for the match. I couldn’t help but notice a fan behind them dressed like a Conquistador. Someone on Twitter joked that it was Edge and he was keeping an eye on Corey because Corey is sitting next to Beth (Edge’s wife). I won’t go into the drama surrounding Corey, but if you’ve heard the rumors, you know the reference. Meanwhile, Greg Hamilton explains the rules and then The Riott Squad (Morgan & Logan), The IIconics (Peyton Royce & Billie Kay), Nia & Tamina, and Naomi & Carmella all enter pods, which means Sasha & Bayley (The Boss & Hug Connection) will start the match against Sonya & Mandy (Fire & Desire).
The two teams quickly spill out of the ring and Sasha hits an assisted flying cross body. Sonya & Mandy fight back and ram them into the chain-wall, but Mandy ends up getting her foot caught in the chain. Bayley takes advantage by hitting a nasty looking neckbreaker while Mandy is caught. Then, The Riott Squad enter the match. Sarah Logan rams Sasha’s injured shoulder into one of the pod doors and then they turn their attention to Sonya & Mandy. They trade forearms and punches and soon the potatoes start flying because Liv accidentally stiffed Sonya. Bayley returns and gets caught on the top rope. Sonya & Mandy look to superplex her, but the Riott Squad join in for a tower of doom spot. Next, the IIconics enter the match while everyone is down and start trying to pin everybody! They can’t get anything more than a 2 count so they scream at the ref. They even show some surprising aggressiveness by shoving Sasha & Bayley’s faces into the chain and Peyton hits a somersault double leg drop that nearly hits Bayley in the face. Naomi & Carmella enter next and start hitting everyone with double team moves, but Billie lures Carmella into following her up the wall. Billie attempts to powerbomb her, but Carmella turns it into an awkward hurricanrana. Soon, everyone is hitting moves until most of the competitors are down, but Carmella manages to reverse a jackknife pin into the Code of Silence on Sonya. It’s broken up and Naomi squares off with her rival, Mandy. Naomi hits the Rear View, but the IIconics both roll her up for the first elimination. (Elimination: Naomi & Carmella)
Peyton & Billie celebrate and pose, but they’re soon surrounded by everyone else. However, the countdown ends and Nia & Tamina enter the match. While they clean house, the IIconics close themselves in one of the pods. Nia & Tamina spot them and force the doors open before rag-dolling the IIconics into the chain-wall. Then, they take them into the ring and hit stereo Samoan Drops for the elimination. (Elimination: The IIconics) The Riott Squad then jump Nia & Tamina and hit an assisted standing Diamond Dust on Tamina, but the pin is thwarted. Sasha & Bayley return and toss around the Riott Squad before stacking Sonya & Mandy in the corner for a double knee-drop by Sasha. Soon, the Riott Squad climb a pod and hit stereo flying cross bodies onto Nia & Tamina, but Liv goes back to the well and Nia grabs her. Nia hits a falling Samoan Drop off the turnbuckles and Tamina hits the Superfly Splash to eliminate them. (Elimination: Riott Squad) Next, Nia looks to shoulder block Bayley through a pod, but Bayley moves and Nia crashes through the pod door. Tamina is left alone, so everyone jumps her. Sasha hits the Meteora and Bayley hits a flying elbow drop to eliminate Nia & Tamina, much to the delight of the crowd. (Elimination: Nia & Tamina)
Only Sasha & Bayley and Sonya & Mandy are left in the match. They brawl and Sasha gives Sonya the backstabber, which bounces her into a Bayley-to-Belly, but Mandy breaks up the pin attempt. Mandy climbs on top of a pod and Sasha & Bayley join her, but she knocks them down again and Sonya rams Bayley into one of the support beams. Then, Mandy rams Sasha into a pod door and takes her into the ring to hit the Angel’s Wings, but she only gets a 2 count. Mandy then holds Sasha for a spear, but Sasha ducks and Sonya accidentally hits her partner. Sasha capitalizes by going for the Banks Statement, but her hurt shoulder becomes an issue. She ends up using her shin to do the crossface and gets the tap out for the win. (Final Elimination: Sonya & Mandy)
This was a great Chamber Match. There were only a couple of shaky moments, but otherwise, everyone performed well. The IIconics were highly amusing during the early portion and the second half was filled with some great spots. The only thing I would change is I think there needed to be at least one elimination earlier in the match. The first half dragged a little at times. However, it was still quite solid. It also helped that the crowd was hot for this match. It got a great reaction.
Winners: Sasha & Bayley (33:00)
After the match, Sasha & Bayley collect their belts and hug each other. Charly joins them for an interview and I get the feeling that Sasha & Bayley weren’t expecting to have to talk. Bayley is at a loss for words and asks Sasha if she wants to speak. The fans start chanting, “You deserve it,” so they soak in the reaction before Sasha finally talks. Sasha says that no one knows how hard they fought to get these. She says that they do it for the fans and everyone in the women’s division and then promises there is more change to come. Once Sasha got going, she cut a pretty good emotional promo. I feel like this might have been Vince testing them on talking without a script. If that’s the case, Bayley might have dropped the ball. She might be one who is more suited to being scripted. I like Bayley and when presented correctly, she can be a lovable and sympathetic babyface, but I have a bad feeling Vince probably wasn’t happy that she didn’t have anything to say.
Next, they switch to the Smackdown commentary team of Corey Graves, Tom Phillips, and Byron Saxton before recapping the Smackdown Tag Title feud. They show Miz’s attempts to convince Shane McMahon to be his partner and they also show them winning the titles at the Royal Rumble. Then, they show the new champs on an edition of MizTV that they dubbed, “McMizTV.” Their celebration was interrupted by The Usos, who called it disrespectful that Miz & Shane were calling themselves the greatest tag team in the world. Miz & Shane taunted them, so the Usos gave them a double superkick.
Smackdown Tag Team Title Match: The Usos vs. The Miz & Shane McMahon (c)
Shane McMahon won the supposed World Cup at Blood Money—oh, excuse me, Crown Jewel. It was supposed to be The Miz, but he hurt his knee in the match and Shane took his place. Ever since then, The Miz started a campaign to win Shane’s approval. He apparently saw money in the two of them becoming a team. Miz even said that Shane was his Dad’s favorite wrestler and it would make him proud if they teamed together. Miz spent weeks buttering up Shane and eventually convinced him to form a team. They would go on to win the tag titles from The Bar at the Royal Rumble. However, The Miz, in an effort to impress his Dad, would continually convince Shane to do reckless stunts during their matches. Shane would usually come out the worse for wear because of it. It’s clear they’re building to a match between these two at WrestleMania, but it’s unclear who will turn heel. There is a couple of different ways they can go with this. It’s not the most thrilling storyline, but I’ll give them credit for making a decent go of it, so far.
Before the match, The Miz brings out his wife, Maryse. They announce that they’re having another baby. They’re having another one so soon? I don’t think WWE has to do a wellness test on Miz. He’s clearly not on the gas with that level of virility. Some fans chant, “You’ve still got it,” at him, which got a chuckle from me. Then, the Miz dedicates this match to his family and his unborn child.
The Miz & Shane go for a Coast-to-Coast early, but Jimmy stops them. Shane trips Jimmy and then enters the ring with a slingshot sunset flip. That move happens a lot on this show. I’m glad to see it making a comeback. Miz & Shane keep knocking the Usos out of the ring, so they regroup, but the Miz retains control until the Usos hit a double team hotshot on him. Then, the Usos use ref distractions, cheap shots, and quick tags to keep Miz under control. Jimmy even removes Miz’s jersey and throws it at Shane before mocking Miz with his own corner clothesline. Jimmy attempts another one, but Miz cuts him off and tags Shane, who hits some rapid punches, a bicycle kick, and some sloppy float-over DDTs that would have the Rock shaking his head. Shane then hits the Coast-to-Coast on Jimmy, but he makes the mistake of going for one on Jey and gets superkicked out of the air. Miz eventually makes a tag and hits a springboard flying axehandle that surprises even himself. However, the Miz then gets a foolish idea. He clears the announce table and puts Jey on it before convincing Shane to hit the flying elbow from the ring. Somehow, that’s not a DQ. Then, Miz and Jimmy fight and reverse through an O’Connor Roll before Jimmy hits a superkick. He follows it up with a flying splash, but Miz raises his knees. He then gives Jimmy the Skull Crushing Finale, but Miz makes a nonchalant cover and Jimmy turns it into a crucifix pin for the surprise win.
This was a fun match. It told a good story and had enough Shane McMahon craziness to keep it exciting. I am a little surprised that the Usos won the titles, given Jimmy’s recent arrest, but I guess WWE doesn’t want them leaving. The Usos consistently put on good matches, so there was no surprise this was solid. It got everyone where they need to go to continue the Shane/Miz storyline, so I would call it a job well done. It’s a shame that Miz let down his unborn child. That kid is cursed now. Well—more than he or she already would have been with the Miz for a dad.
Winners: The Usos (New Champions) (14:10)
Then, they show a commercial for Fastlane before Paige introduces a clip of Fighting with My Family. The movie is apparently getting pretty good reviews. It didn’t look like much to me, but I could be wrong.
Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush are backstage talking about their Handicap Match with Finn Balor when Dasha joins them. She asks Lio if he’s the weak link in the team, which is rather rude of her. Lio rightfully takes offense, so she clarifies that she meant Finn could isolate Lio and become the new champion without pinning Lashley. I’m not sure how that’s any better than what she first said. Lio says he knows that, but they have the advantage in this match because Finn is stepping into the ring with the top of the food chain. Then, Lio says that no one is stronger and more dominant than Bobby Lashley—and Lio Rush. Bobby gives him a funny look, so Lio explains that Bobby is the steak and he’s the sizzle. Dasha stirs the pot some more by bringing up the fact that Finn pinned Lio and she asks if he’s concerned. Lio says no, but his music starts playing and Bobby says it’s time to leave. I’ll give Dasha credit for showing a little more personality than she used to, but could they telegraph the end of this match any harder?
Handicap Match for the Intercontinental Title: Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley (c) & Lio Rush
After Finn’s star-making performance against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble, he was attacked by Bobby Lashley and his hype-man, Lio Rush. Lashley claimed he was better than Lesnar. I guess they’re dropping hints for that eventual match. Balor wanted a shot at Lashley’s Intercontinental title, but Bobby said he had to beat Lio first. Balor managed to do just that, despite Lashley attacking him and this Handicap Match was eventually signed.
Lio teases starting the match, but he immediately tags in Bobby. Finn shows some early fire, but Lashley soon takes control for a while. Any time Finn shows signs of fighting back, Lio trips him or interferes. Lio enters the match when Finn is down, but he tags out at the first sign of life. Once Finn is down again, Lio returns and locks Balor in an abdominal stretch while posing for the crowd. However, Finn breaks free and hip tosses him, so Lio tags Bobby. He shoulders Finn into the corner and slams him before setting up for a spear, but Lio tags himself into the match. Rush then misses a frog splash and Finn cuts off any attempt at a tag. Then, Balor hits a double stomp on Lio and Bobby tries to interfere, so Finn gives him the Slingblade and clotheslines Bobby out of the ring. He then tosses Rush out and hits a somersault plancha onto both men, but he only rolls Lio inside. Finn follows it up with the Coup de Grace and picks up the win.
This match was slow and dragged when Lashley was in control. There wasn’t a lot to his offense other than forearms and shoulder blocks. Lio was entertaining, but it wasn’t enough to save this match. I am glad to see Finn win the IC Title because they need to do something with him after that performance at the Rumble, but that’s the only real positive from this match. Lashley has been largely disappointing since he returned.
Winner: Finn Balor (New Champion) (9:30)
After the match, Lio apologizes, but Lashley grabs him around the throat. Bobby starts to have a change of heart and lets him go, but he rethinks it and slams Lio anyway. He then leaves in frustration. I’m not sure this is a good idea. Lio was a good addition to the Lashley character and the only reason he was remotely interesting.
Cole then announces that the 2020 Royal Rumble will be at Minute Maid Park in Houston. I might have to go to that. I’ve always wanted to attend a Rumble live.
Next, they show a recap of the RAW Women’s Title situation. Vince suspends Becky Lynch for 60-days and introduces Charlotte as her replacement. He also tells Becky, “You’re not the man! I’m the man!”. Then, he says that he picked Charlotte because she knows her lane and stays in it. That sounds like a hint that something will happen at Fastlane. They also show a clip from a house show in Alexandria, Louisiana. Becky interrupted a match between Charlotte and Asuka, but Charlotte fought back and attacked Becky’s knee with a chair.
Charlotte comes to the ring before the next match and joins Charly for an interview. Charly asks her when she found out she was replacing Becky at Mania, but Charlotte ignores that question. She says that life is good when you’re Charlotte Flair because she’s going to WrestleMania and she got to do what she loves, which is decimating the man. She then says that Becky got herself suspended because she couldn’t let it go. She also accuses Becky of pandering for approval. Charlotte says that when she looks in the mirror, that’s all the approval she needs. Somewhere, Mojo Rawley cries gimmick infringement. Charlotte then says she knows she’s the very best, so the fans start chanting, “Becky.” Finally, Charlotte says she will sit at ringside and watch the Women’s Title Match to see who she will face at Mania.
RAW Women’s Title Match: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Ruby Riott
After the Rumble, Ronda issued an open challenge. The Riott Squad answered and both Liv and Sarah made an attempt, but they failed. Ruby refrained because she claimed she was more worried about her teammates, but she said she could beat Ronda any time. Something tells me that’s not going to happen. There’s kind of a more important storyline going on already. This is clearly a placeholder feud.
Ronda makes her entrance in a Sonya Blade costume because she’s doing the voice work for the new Mortal Kombat game. It’s a good look for her. She should keep it. She finally found gear that she doesn’t have to adjust every few seconds.
Ruby stalls a bit to begin the match, but soon she gets arm dragged a couple of times and then Ronda locks in the armbar for the quick win.
This was nothing more than a squash. I get that they want to make Ronda look strong, but this is why they need to bring back jobber squashes on TV. Sacrificing your serious talent is unfortunate.
Winner: Ronda Rousey (1:40)
Charlotte joins Ronda in the ring and they stare at each other, but there is a commotion. Becky Lynch emerges from the crowd on crutches and climbs into the ring. Charlotte mocks her for struggling on her bad knee, so the fans start a loud, “She’s the man,” chant. Then, Becky tosses one of the crutches at Charlotte and starts wailing on her with the other one. Ronda simply watches with a smirk on her face. Becky sees this and tells Ronda to pick up the other crutch and join the fun. Ronda picks it up and turns toward Charlotte, but Becky starts hitting Ronda. The second crutch shot hits Ronda right in the head and opens a gash on the side. She also cut Charlotte’s arm, so she needs to be a little more careful. I’m sure Vince gave her an earful about it. Finally, security and officials arrive and escort Becky away from the ring, while the fans cheer for her. This was a great and intense segment, but it became a little reckless.
Ronda and Charlotte don’t even leave the ring before Baron Corbin’s music starts playing for the next match. I know this show isn’t going long because it actually ended early, so I’m not sure why they rushed.
No DQ Match: Baron Corbin vs. Braun Strowman
These two have been feuding for a while. Corbin used to be the RAW GM, but he caused Braun to lose to Lesnar. Braun retaliated by costing Corbin his job as GM. The feud then escalated to Corbin, Lashley, and McIntyre breaking Braun’s elbow. The problem is, most fans don’t care about this feud and yet it continues. The endless beatdowns were a big reason people hated the RAWs in late 2018.
Corbin tries a few things to get the advantage early. He throws his vest at Braun and even uses a Kendo stick on him. He then sets up the stick in the corner and tries to whip Strowman into it, but Braun reverses it. Corbin rolls out of the way, but Braun shoulder blocks him into the barricade. Then, Braun circles the ring and tries again, but Corbin throws one of the commentator’s chairs at him. Corbin finally sends him into the steps and then rams the steps into Braun’s elbow. Eventually, Strowman fights back and hits a clothesline, corner splash, and big boot before setting up a table in the corner. Corbin blocks a running powerslam attempt, but Braun hits the second one through the table. However, Drew McIntyre’s music begins playing. Strowman is focused on Drew, so Lashley attacks him from behind with a chair. Braun valiantly tries to fight but Drew hits the Claymore Kick. Then, they set up the steps and stack two tables on top of each other before triple-powerbombing Braun through the tables. This is enough to give Corbin the win.
This is the same kind of beatdowns they were doing for months. It’s the same thing over and over again. I don’t care about this feud or Corbin and neither did the fans. You know how little the fans care when even a triple-powerbomb barely got a reaction. Braun deserves better than this. Vince apparently pulled Braun from the Universal Title Match at the Rumble because he didn’t want to feed Braun to Lesnar again, but he has no problem letting Corbin beat him.
Winner: Baron Corbin (10:50)
Shane McMahon is in the trainer’s room getting attention. The Miz is there and he’s frustrated over their loss. He apologizes to Shane, who tells him it’s okay, but Miz says it’s not okay. He freaks out because he made a promise to his Dad, his wife, his daughter, and his unborn child. He then throws some stuff around, so Shane tells him to calm down and go home. The Miz finally relents and leaves the room.
Then, Lacey Evans’ music plays. Lacey is a recent call-up from NXT. She has a legitimate background in the military and police, so her gimmick plays off of that. She’s patterned after the World War II era poster girls, like Rosie the Riveter if she actually served in the military. Her character is that she considers herself a classy throwback of a lady, but she has the heelish twist of looking down upon everyone else for not being classy. However, you wouldn’t know any of that from this segment because all she does is walk out, turn around, and then leave. What was that all about!? Here’s a dramatic reenactment of the segment:
That was riveting stuff.
Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Title: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe
Daniel Bryan finally returned to active competition last year, but Bryan felt his character was a little stale. He pushed for a heel-turn and got it. He won the WWE Title from AJ Styles by kicking him in the junk and then made a drastic change in attitude. He declared the Yes Movement dead and declared that he was now fighting for a greater cause. He is fighting for the planet. Much like CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society, Bryan used his ideals to portray himself as better than everyone. He took his vegan and environmentally conscious lifestyle and amped it up to eleven. He even added Erick Rowan as his muscle, but the best part was his new WWE Title belt. He deemed the leather belt to be disgusting and threw it in the trash before unveiling a WWE Title made from hemp and wood. This is great character development and he’s been killing it on the mic. I never knew Bryan had these kinds of promos in him.
Kofi, Jeff, Orton, and AJ all enter pods, which means Bryan and Joe will start the match. Bryan cuts a promo on the way to the ring. He says that when a genius like himself and Rowan try to enlighten the masses, they’re punished. He calls the fans fickle and blames them for the fact he has to enter the chamber first. While he’s talking, officials arrive and tell Rowan he has to leave, so Bryan yells, “NO!” He then tells the fans not to call him a martyr, but he’s suffering for the greater good because the people and the planet need him.
Bryan and Joe start and Bryan stalls as much as he can, but soon the two of them are trading chops hard enough to raise welts. Joe even locks Bryan in a plethora of submission holds, but Bryan breaks free. Soon, Kofi joins the match and attacks both men. He hits a flying splash onto Joe’s back, but Bryan attacks Kofi. Bryan drapes him over the ropes and drops a knee across his neck, but Joe starts chopping him again. Bryan has enough and climbs on top of a pod for safety, but Kofi joins him. They fight out onto the cross-beam in the wall and Joe pulls Bryan down, so Kofi hits a trust fall onto both men! Joe recovers and hits a senton splash that lands on Bryan’s arm and hip, which looked nasty. Then, AJ Styles enters the match. He goes for a moonsault DDT on Bryan and grabs Kofi to make it a two-for-one special. When Bryan recovers, he starts climbing towards a pod again, so AJ hits a Phenomenal Forearm to knock him off the wall. Meanwhile, Joe locks Kofi in the Coquina Clutch, but Kofi pushes off the ropes and lands on him for a 2 count. However, Joe doesn’t let go until Kofi hits a jawbreaker, which sends Joe stumbling into a Phenomenal Forearm from AJ for an elimination. (Elimination: Samoa Joe)
The next countdown ends and Jeff Hardy joins the match. He goes after everyone and hits a jumping elbow over the ropes onto Bryan. Then, he attempts a Twist of Fate on AJ, but Styles breaks free and hits a Pele Kick. Styles and Hardy fight on the top rope and AJ crashes out of the ring, so Jeff sets him up on the top rope again. Jeff then hits a Swanton Bomb from the top of a pod onto AJ, who is draped across the top turnbuckle. However, Bryan surprises Jeff with a running knee to eliminate him. (Elimination: Jeff Hardy) Bryan continues by locking AJ in the tree of woe and then places Kofi on the top rope for a superplex. AJ recovers and grabs them to hit a spider German suplex that sends both men into the ring, but he has a bit of trouble freeing himself. It looked painful. Finally, the countdown ends and Orton joins the match. He attempts an RKO on Bryan, who turns it into a backslide for 2. Orton responds by suplexing Bryan onto the ropes and Kofi attempts to capitalize. AJ stops him and turns Kofi inside out with a backbreaker before going for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Orton catches him on the ropes and hits an RKO for the elimination. (Elimination: AJ Styles) Orton gloats, so Kofi does a sunset flip for 2. Orton responds by crotching Kofi on the top rope and hits the draping DDT. He then looks for another RKO, but Bryan jumps him and Orton hits a powerslam. Randy then grabs Kofi for the RKO, but Kofi shoves him away and hits Trouble in Paradise for an elimination. (Elimination: Randy Orton)
It’s down to Bryan and Kofi, so the fans rise to their feet. They trade kicks and Kofi dares Bryan to bring it. Kofi misses another Trouble in Paradise, so Bryan kicks him while the fans chant, “NO!” Bryan then misses his head kick, so Kofi hits the S.O.S., but he only gets a 2. Then, Kofi misses a corner splash, so Bryan hits multiple running dropkicks until Kofi surprises him with a double stomp for another 2! They end up fighting to the outside and Kofi goes for a bulldog, but Bryan shoves him into a pod door and rolls him back inside. He follows that up by turning Kofi inside-out with a running knee—but he only gets 2! He attempts another one, but Kofi hits the Trouble in Paradise. Sadly, he only gets 2 because Bryan reverses the pin, but the camera nearly misses it because they’re showing the crowd! (Come on, Kevin Dunn!) Then, Bryan attempts the Lebell Lock. He can’t quite lock it in, so he rips at Kofi’s face until Kofi makes it to the ropes. That shouldn’t warrant a break and Mr. “I have until 5, ref,” should have known that! Next, the two of them end up fighting to the top of a pod and Kofi rams Bryan into the glass before attempting a superplex. Bryan blocks it and attempts his own, but Kofi blocks that. Bryan begins climbing down again, so Kofi kicks him into the ring and attempts a flying splash off the pod—but he misses. Bryan then hits the running knee to finally get the win. (Final Elimination: Kofi Kingston)
This was a great match. It was solid from the start, but the final minutes pushed it to another level. The crowd was on its feet. I haven’t seen that kind of emotional investment in a while. I hope WWE realizes what they have on their hands here. Thankfully, it was announced on Smackdown that Kofi will face Bryan at Fastlane, so we shall see where that goes. It’s moments like these that we see flashes of what WWE can do when they put their mind to it, which makes it all the more frustrating that it doesn’t happen often.
Winner: Daniel Bryan (36:40)
After the match, Big E. and Xavier Woods come to the ring and tell Kofi how proud they are of him. The fans give Kofi a standing ovation and chant, “Thank you, Kofi.” Big E. tells him he deserves this moment, while the three of them sit on the steps of the chamber and soak in the reaction. There’s a great camera shot of the three of them with the WrestleMania sign in the background. In the immortal words of Michael Cole, “Is this symbolic!?” In all seriousness, I hope they continue the push for Kofi. I even hope he wins the title, even if it’s a short reign. It’s far past time for an African-American WWE Champion and Kofi has the crowd support for it.
– Both Chamber Matches were amazing.
– The crowd reaction and emotional connection for Kofi were refreshing.
– The Tag Title Match was fun.
– The Ronda/Charlotte/Becky segment was intense if a bit reckless.
– The crowd was hot all night.
– The Corbin/Strowman match.
– That weird Lacey Evans segment.
– Poor Ruby getting squashed.
Performer of the Night:
There is only one person I can give it to. It has to be Kofi Kingston. He was the man of the night and his work in the Chamber Match was great.
This was a very solid show. It’s mostly because of the two Chamber Matches and the Tag Title Match, but those were more than enough to make up for the rest. There was a section in the middle of the show where it lost some steam, but it wasn’t enough to ruin it. It also helps that this show was only a little over three hours instead of the marathon five-hour shows.
Be sure to look for my Royal Rumble ‘92 review this Saturday!