You know what’s the problem with the Road to Wrestlemania? All the other pay-per-view that come before it just don’t feel all that exciting. As much as I like the entire Elimination Chamber concept, having it just before the WWE’s biggest event of the year, even if it is a good solid two month before it, feels like they’re just padding in the shows. We typically don’t see any titles change hands, especially the “main” belts as this would change the Wrestlemania card drastically.
But there have been some major changes during the Elimination Chamber before. Who could forget Edge opportunistic cash-in on John Cena? This is generally the exception to the rule. But who knows? Maybe the WWE can surprise me this year with the Elimination Chamber! Maybe we’ll see Ruby Riott actually beat Ronda Rousey for the RAW Womans Champi… hahahahaha! Sorry, I couldn’t even get through that. Still, it’s possible the WWE can pull the wool over my eyes, can’t they?
Match #1: Boss and Hug Connection (Sasha Banks and Bayley) vs Fire and Desire (Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose) vs Samoan Slaughterhouse (Tamina vs Nia Jax) vs Fabulous Glow (Naomi and Carmella) vs the IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce) vs The Riott Squad (Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan) in an Elimination Chamber match to be the first ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions (Wow, that was a long and tiring title to write!)
Wasted enough time on just writing the participants! No more time to waste! Boss and Hug will win.
I do have to question the idea to crown the first ever Women’s Tag Team Champions under Elimination Chamber rules as there won’t be any tagging! But my expectations were still really high and the ladies disappoint. There were some moments at the start when things looked rough but things got smoother as more teams entered the Elimination Chamber.
There were some things that I really liked. I loved the antics of the IIconics and how they were the perfect mix of comedy and cowardice. Sonya Deville impressed me greatly and it makes me question why the WWE isn’t pushing her. However, things did get a little too hectic, leading to some spots that didn’t flow together well. It was like they were just winging it a little too much.
The final two teams were Sasha Banks and Bayley vs Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose, or as the WWE likes to promote them, Boss and Hug Connection (ugh!) and Fire and Desire (UHG!). Coincidentally, these were the first two teams in the match! Deville took out Bayley with a spear into one of the pods, leaving Sasha Banks to carry the team. Mandy Rose then slammed The Boss injured shoulder first into another pod and went for a cover, but Banks manages to kick out. Rose connects with a double underhook pancake slam but The Boss still kicks out.
God’s Greatest Creation tosses Banks into the ringpost to do more damage to the shoulder. Rose picks up Banks and holds her so Deville can go for a spear. But Sasha gets out of the way and Sonya slams into Mandy Rose. The Boss attempts to lock on the Bank Statement on Deville but is unable to because of the injured shoulder. Sasha then uses a modified Bank Statement by using her leg to get Sonya Deville to tap out. The Boss and Hug Connection (ugh!) are the very first WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions!
Overall, this was a good match. I do kind of dislike that Bayley didn’t really do anything throughout the entire final stretch but seeing Banks overcome all the odds with an injured shoulder was fantastic. Some teams, like the duo of Naomi and Carmella, seemed like non-factors in the grand scheme of things but they had to fill out those additional pods somehow. By the way, I really hate the names the WWE gave them. Fire and Desire? Yeach!
Rating: 8.0 of 10.0 awful tag team names
Match #2: Shane McMahon and The Miz vs. The Usos for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship
I see Miz and McMahon squeaking a win here but they’ll plant the seeds of a breakup for the two to feud by Wrestlemania.
Before the match started, The Miz brought out his wife, Maryse, to announce they’re having another baby. Weird thing to announce before a match but I’ll go with it. I honestly don’t like how they make Shane McMahon the better and more dominant wrestler than The Miz. This is how they’ve been booking the duo; Miz takes most of the hits while Shane makes the big comeback. This was no exception and I’m getting really tired from it. I also think they’re overusing Shane’s repertoire. I like seeing the Coast to Coast as much as the next guy because he would bust it out on special occasions. But now, he’s been performing it with every match he’s in! It doesn’t feel as special anymore.
To make matters worse, they made The Miz look like a chump at the end of the match. Shane McMahon had taken out one of the Usos by smashing him through the announce table. The Miz took on the other Uso and went for a Skull Crushing Finale. Jimmy Uso managed to get out and nail a superkick. Jimmy then climbed the top rope and went for a Samoan Splash but The A-Lister got his knees up in time. Miz rolled his opponent up for a pin but Jimmy kicked out. Miz then connected with Skull Crushing Finale but couldn’t flip Jimmy face first in a timely manner. This allowed the Uso sibling to recover enough to roll Miz up in a crucifix during the pinfall attempt to become the NEW Smackdown Tag Team Champions with his brother.
Despite me hating the Shane and Miz dynamic, this was an okay match. The action was okay but I will still dock it some points because of my personal bias regarding how they’re mistreating The Miz.
Rating: 6.0 of 10.0 babies for Miz and Maryse
Match #3: Finn Balor vs Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush in a 2-vs-1 handicap match for the Intercontinental Championship
There’s no way the WWE will have another title change hands, will they? Bobby Lashley will retain but with Lio Rush pinning Finn Balor… because the WWE doesn’t know how to use Finn Balor properly.
Gosh, I feel sorry for Lio Rush as everyone besides his mother was calling him the “weak link” of the team. Foreshadowing? Anyway, this was a rather old-school match where the more powerful heel would dominate the smaller face while the cowardly manager-type would tag in to get in a few licks before tagging out when the face got the upper hand. Call me crazy but I’m a sucker for these types of matches as it makes you root for the good guy to show up the bully. Balor did a fantastic job of selling Lashley’s power and Rush also played his role as the cowardly bully to a hilt.
The finish came shortly after the clip above ended. Balor tossed Rush back into the ring and dropkicked him into the turnbuckles. Finn then scaled the top turnbuckle and nailed the Coup de Grace double foot stomp to become the NEW Intercontinental Champion. After the match, Lashley took out his frustrations on his former (?) hype man.
This felt like an old-school throwback to the classic days of wrestling where someone like Hulk Hogan would take on some big guy like King Kong Bundy who was teaming with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. I thoroughly enjoyed this kind of simplistic storytelling. I do hate how they kept on harping that Lio Rush was the “weak link” which really spoils the surprise. While nothing special and forgettable in the long run, it was a nice change of pace for me.
Rating: 6.0 of 10.0 weak links
Match #4 (and Segment #1): Ronda Rousey vs Ruby Riott for the RAW Women’s Championship (with Charlotte Flair at ringside and special guest appearance of Becky Lynch)
Ronda Rousey will win this. I just hope they follow the “classic” Rousey match pattern and give Ruby Riott some offense; she kind of needs to show her stuff, you know.
While there was a match, that wasn’t the point of this entire segment. This was mainly here as an excuse to build up Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey at Wrestlemania. Anyway, Charlotte Flair, who is currently slated to face Rousey at this year’s Wrestlemania, was at ringside. When the bell rang, Ruby Riott tried to play it coy by frustrating Rousey with tactics like rolling out of the ring. Riott got a few strikes in before The Baddest Woman on the Planet scooped her up in a judo throw. One Piper’s Pit and arm bar submission later and Rousey picks up the quick win and retains her RAW Woman’s Championship. Poor Ruby Riott.
Charlotte then enters the ring to taunt Ronda Rousey but Becky Lynch makes her way through the crowd on crutches! The Man rolls into the ring and blindsides Charlotte, beating her down with one of her crutches. Ronda got the other crutch and wanted to get payback on Charlotte for Survivor Series but Lynch attack the RAW Woman’s Champion from behind! WWE Officials finally take control and escort Lynch to the outside, leaving a bleeding Charlotte and Ronda Rousey in the ring area.
The match itself was a dud and I really hate how they’re making Ruby Riott look like a wimp but, like I said, that wasn’t the point of having this match. This was simply here to add fuel to the entire Becky Lynch-Ronda Rousey-Charlotte Flair situation. They’re making Becky Lynch into this generation’s Stone Cold Steve Austin, which I totally approve of. But I do hope they ease of the gas just a smidge or else we’ll see through it and turn on Lynch. Decent segment and I will give props to both Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey to allow Becky Lynch to legitimately wail on them with a steel crutch. I mean, those strikes must’ve hurt, especially if they drew blood.
Rating (for the entire segment): 6.5 of 10.0 poor Ruby Riotts
Match #5: Braun Strowman vs Baron Corbin in a No Disqualification match
I don’t see the point of this match but since it’s a No Disqualification match, I’m guessing Baron Corbin will use this stipulation to his advantage to get one over Braun Strowman.
Look, I get they had to make Baron Corbin use weapons to actually hurt Braun Strowman. But Strowman is supposed to be a guy who can flip an ambulance! You’re telling me he can be taken down by a bamboo sword? This is essentially what happened, with Corbin using a kendo stick to momentarily get the upper hand on the Monster Among Men. Sure, it’s a foreign object but it still makes your Monster Among Men look like a typical mortal! Anyway, Braun eventually starts to dominate but out comes Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley to help Corbin. The trio then beat Strowman down with various weapons.
The finish came after the clip above. The trio set up two tables on top of each other. They then performed a triple powerbomb ala The SHIELD, tossing Strowman through the two tables. Baron Corbin then gets the pinfall victory.
I get the WWE wants to protect Braun Strowman’s “Monster Among Men” image but still want him to lose now and again. But this was just an ugly match. There was no drama and it serves no purpose at all. I do like the slam through two tables as the carnage looked grand but still incredibly safe for Braun but that’s about it.
Rating: 2.0 of of 10.0 tables Braun Strowman got powerbombed through
Match #6: Kofi Kingston vs Jeff Hardy vs AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe vs Randy Orton vs The “New” Daniel Bryan in an Elimination Chamber match for the WWE World Championship
Wow, WWE. You’re really tempting me to believe that you’ll actually have another title change since that’s been the theme of the entire Elimination Chamber so far. But you can’t fool me! The “New” Daniel Bryan will retain here.
This one felt really good as everyone was utilized in one way or another. The best thing is that they focused on the strengths of each Superstars’ skillset while pacing it in such a way that it didn’t come off as tiring. Samoa Joe’s strikes on The “New” Daniel Bryan looked vicious. Jeff Hardy’s Swanton Bomb off one of the pods looked fantastic. My favorite has to be AJ Styles getting nailed by an RKO just before he launched himself from the ropes for a Phenomenal Forearm. It actually looked more vicious than if the RKO connected while Styles was flying in the air. I guess what sold it for me was how AJ Styles still tried to fight out of it as Orton wrapped his arm around his head.
The final two competitors were The “New” Daniel Bryan vs New Day member, Kofi Kingston. Now, normally, there’s no way anyone would even remotely think that the WWE will have Kofi Kingston win the World Championship but… I can’t help it! There was just something about tonight that really made me believe it was possible! There was just a lot of intensity and great in-ring storytelling between the two. Lots of near falls that just pumped up the intensity here. It’s just great!
The finish came after Kofi Kingston broke up the LaBell Lock by Bryan by reaching the ropes… which shouldn’t be the case since an Elimination Chamber match is a No Disqualification match. Anyway, The Planet’s Champion climbed the top turnbuckle but he got clocked by a big kick by Kingston. The competitors then scaled one of the pods and they teased a suplex to the bottom. Kofi eventually got the upper hand and Bryan fell to the mat. Kingston then went for a big splash from the top of the pod but Daniel Bryan rolled out of the way. Bryan capitalized on the mistake and nailed a running knee on Kingston to get the pinfall victory to retain his World Championship. After the match, the other New Day members tried to console Kofi Kingston while the crowd chanted “Thank you, Kofi” which was weird since it’s customary to only chant that when someone’s retiring. Do they know something I don’t?
As much as I liked the Elimination Chamber match itself, it was the one-on-one match between Kofi Kingston and The “New” Daniel Bryan that elevated the match to legendary status. I liked everyone in the match but it was the final two facing off that sealed the deal for me.
Rating: 9.0 of 10.0 Thank you Kofis
Overall rating for WWE’s Elimination Chamber (2019)
I fully expected this year’s Elimination Chamber to be one of those uneventful shows. I was wrong. We got a new Women’s Tag Team Championship, a couple of titles changing hands and a superstar making performance from Kofi Kingston. Sadly, the entire Braun Strowman vs Baron Corbin and company does bring the show down significantly as it was just terrible beyond belief. Even so, this was a surprisingly good pay-per-vew so close to Wrestlemania.
Rating: 7.5 of 10.0 career defining Kofi Kingston matches
Have you seen this year’s Elimination Chamber? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!