WWE returns to The Elimination Chamber with 100% less blood. While WWE has yet to put on a top to bottom classic ppv/Network special, this show featured a must-see match and the crowning of a new champion. Let’s break it down!
Tag team Elimination Chamber: New Day (c) vs. The Lucha Dragons vs. The Ascension vs. Los Matadores vs. Kidd & Cesaro vs. The Prime Time Players
Cesaro and Kidd are rocking matching jackets and headphones. Now they’ve just gotta get matching tights to finalize the united team look. Thanks to aiding The Authority on SmackDown, all three members of New Day are going to be able to compete in the match. Well that seems unfair. Lucha Dragons and The Ascension start things off. New Day finds a way to get involved by grabbing Kalisto atop their pod. Cesaro/Kidd come out next as Lawler has a slip up and calls Cole ‘JR.’ Wonder if that’s any indictment on his feelings on the match?
Kalisto scales the cage and after thinking it over for a long time, drops down in a scary bit as no one caught him especially well. El Torito tries it and gets caught by The Ascension, who wipe out Los Matadores and the Lucha Dragons with the Fall of Man. The commentators mention this is the best The Ascension has looked and they’re right.
The chamber can be used to rehabilitate wrestlers who have been stagnant and this definitely helped improve The Ascension’s stock. PTP are released and they seem motivated, eliminating The Ascension. New Day is released, but their advantage doesn’t quite work since they’re actually down 3 to 4.
Darren Young sneaks up and shockingly gets the pin on Cesaro leaving The Prime Time Players and The New Day. New Day now gets to take advantage of the numbers to get the win.
Rating: 3 out of 5. Hard work from all the teams even if it wasn’t the spectacle it could have been considering the teams involved. The end result was right, but the PTP’s strong showing was a surprise. Wonder if we’ll see a follow-up with PTP calling for a one on one match with the champs or a Number 1 contender feud between Cesaro & Kidd and the PTP?
Cole announces what most WWE fans already knew. Rusev is out with a fractured foot and won’t be competing in the Intercontinental Title Elimination Chamber match.
— Rusev MACHKA (@RusevBUL) May 31, 2015
Dolph Ziggler is in the back with Lana as they discuss his chances of winning the chamber match. This pairing is frozen and the fans seemingly have no interest in it. Hopefully Rusev can have just a shred of his heat when he returns.
Divas title championship: Nikki Bella (c) vs. Paige vs. Naomi
Cole breaks down Naomi’s rivalry with Paige, but not so surprisingly omits mentioning The Bellas spray tanning and otherwise Being a Star bullying Paige. Nikki seems off tonight, missing moves she’s worked hard to improve on in the past year. As you’d expect, the match is at its best when Naomi and Paige are left alone and Nikki is on the outside.
Paige and Naomi also have some miscommunication and the near silence from the crowd isn’t helping them either. Naomi hits a reverse hurricarana that looked better before the replay. The fans weren’t buying that as the finish and immediately after Naomi tosses Paige out, Nikki hits her with the Rack Attack for the win. Brie comes out randomly to celebrate and remind us that the Bellas are a package deal.
Rating: 2 out of 5. Nice effort, but the botches and fan disinterest really killed this one. With yet another clean win I don’t know where Nikki goes unless she’s just going to hold the belt until one of the NXT Divas comes up. I don’t like Nikki’s chances against Charlotte.
Champion vs. Champion [John Cena vs. Kevin Owens]
Still no clarification if this is a title vs. title match as the vague ‘champion vs. champion’ tag doesn’t explicitly state if anything is up for grabs beyond pride. Ah the crowd wakes up big time for this one. Owens has a new T-shirt in U.S.A. colors to mock Cena’s U.S. champ shirt. That still puts him about 63 behind Cena on the T-shirt front.
In a matter of weeks, WWE have successfully made this a dream match and they did it by not treating Owens like some chump from the minor league. The commentators don’t act like they have no idea what he’s done — Lawler even mentions he’s fought Owens — and it’s made all the difference in this match presentation. I’m even more impressed with Owens for being one of those special heels who can get the majority of the fans behind Cena and not have an even split between them.
JBL says they haven’t seen Cena like this in awhile clearly forgetting last year’s SummerSlam. Owens delivers some great trash talking ‘Never give up. It’s time to give up John boy.’ The match is laid out well with both guys having their moments to lay out their offense before it cranks up another notch as they began alternating between hitting their signature moves and countering their opponents. Both guys get rattled as the match continues on at their inability to get the win, which we don’t see nearly enough. Owens is busting out his full repertoire from a springing moonsault, package powerbomb, a top rope brainbuster and senton while Cena fails to get the victory with all of his big moves as well. Finally, Owens hits the pop up powerbomb for the clean win.
The camera crew gets some great shots of fans stunned that Cena was pinned while the commentators do an excellent job of selling how important this victory was for Owens. Owens grabs the mic and says he’s the man who started a fight with John Cena and also finished that fight. Owens offers some veteran advice that Cena’s time is up and Owens is here because the champ is here. That’s how you pay-off the making of a new main event player.
Rating: 5 out of 5. Regardless how the rest of the show turns out, it’s worth seeing for Owens/Cena alone. This was an excellent clash of titans matchup. Owens has been on a roll since arriving in NXT, but this was Cena’s best match since facing Daniel Bryan at Summerslam 2013. I wonder exactly what this means for the future of the WWE. Owens, a relative newcomer to WWE comes in with years of experience under his belt yet hasn’t fully been brainwashed into working the full WWE style and delivers a legitimate Match of The Year candidate.
Elimination Chamber panel of Renee Young, Booker T, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton and they all pay homage to Owens. Cena has taken several losses in pay-per-views over the course of his career as a main event star, but on few occasions have the commentators done the necessary follow-up and make as big a deal of it.
Bo Dallas vs. Neville
This is a solid cool down match. Small NXT chant breaks out. After doing some a great job calling the Owens/Cena match, the commentators revert to their old terrible habits of talking about everything except the match currently in the ring. Bo gets more offense than I expected and gets to spend some time and even works in some character moments. In the end though we get the correct result with Neville hitting the Red Arrow for the win.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5. Nothing special, but a serviceable match to calm the crowd down from two guys with experience working together.
Reigns and Ambrose in the back. Triple H says if Reigns gets involved in the title match, Ambrose gets DQ’d. Cue the screwjob ending predictions.
Elimination Chamber: IC title — Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev vs. King Barrett vs. Ryback vs. R-Truth vs. ?
Instead of Bray Wyatt like was rumored, it’s Mark Henry who fills in the spot. This would seem to make it Sheamus’ path to the title even easier now. Barrett and Ziggler start off the match to very little interest from the fans.
R-Truth comes out next and Barrett hammers away at him before he gets out of the pod. The fans are dead for this one. For all the complaints about Cena there still remains a massive chasm between his popularity and everyone else.
Barrett tosses Ziggler to Henry’s cage and he comes out to run mild. Ziggler, Ryback and R-Truth finally team up and hit some of their signature moves allowing Truth to get the pin and eliminate Barrett.
Sheamus’ chamber is ‘stuck.’ After realizing Sheamus can’t get into the mix, they go after Henry and ignore the fans’ request to break Sheamus’ cage. While the others pound away on each other, Sheamus finally exits the cage. The commentators seem to miss that Sheamus was keeping his pod locked with his Celtic cross. Ryback gets the Shell Shock on Truth for the elimination leaving Henry, Ziggler, Ryback and Sheamus. The fans have decided they’re backing Ryback since he’s the only one that has a catchphrase — Ziggler really needs to work on that. The fans start to get interested, but it’s telling that they’re still nowhere near Cena/Owens level.
Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick to eliminate Henry. Ziggler hits the Famouser on Sheamus, who completely no sells the finisher and hits the Brogue Kick to eliminate Ziggler. We’re down to Sheamus and Ryback. They battle on the steel portion, which they should scrap from the playbook since there’s no way we’re going to see any blood despite the fact they’re fighting on steel mesh.
Ryback hits the Shell Shock for the win and Intercontinental title. Cole mentioned a story of Ryback talking to a young kid and guaranteeing the good guys will win tonight, but that kind of foreshadowing seemed way too obvious for the WWE. Good for Ryback though as he’s worked hard to get back near the top of the promotion again.
Rating: 3 out of 5. The guys worked hard, but it was hard for them to tell much of a story once Barrett was eliminated and it just became a battle of somewhat over fan favorites. Daniel Bryan is here and he presents the Intercontinental Title to (The) Ryback and gets a ‘Yes!’ chant going. Well that was an unexpectedly nice moment.
Breaking news: Two weeks from now at Money in the Bank, Owens and Cena have a rematch. I don’t like it. Owens could go until SummerSlam bragging about beating Cena and the rematch would have more meaning if it was stretched out a bit. Cole goes over the participants so far for the MITB matchup: Ziggler, Neville, Reigns, Orton, Kofi and Sheamus. Not sure why King Barrett isn’t in ahead of Neville, but Cole assures us those are just the six that have been announced.
WWE World Title: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins (with The Authority)
Nice Ambrose-narrated video summarizing his feud with Rollins. This is one of the better video packages as it was more comprehensive than the typical what’s happened in the last four weeks that’s more the norm these days.
I can’t believe Ambrose got a ‘Justin Bieber’ chant going. We’ve seen this match a number of times, but these two have more than enough intensity to carry it through the overly familiar parts for fans who’ve watched them feud for nearly a year now.
Ambrose needs to expand his moveset a bit more as he has a bad habit of repeating moves throughout his matches. The Authority antics are somewhat distracting to the point I’m hoping the next encounter bars them from ringside to just let it be one on one.
Rollins pulls the ref in front of him as Ambrose hits a knee strike from the top rope. Rollins misses his Falcon Arrow, and Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds just as a second ref comes in to make the pinfall and declare Ambrose the new world champion.
I can almost smell the Dusty Finish from here… Yep, Ambrose celebrates as the original ref says Rollins pulled him so Ambrose wins by disqualification. Rollins obnoxiously revels in his victory like a great heel should. The fans are not happy as The Authority attacks Ambrose to get the belt back. Reigns’ music plays and he comes out to help Ambrose. Reigns is never as over with the fans than when he’s helping Ambrose. I feel like WWE is going to needlessly pit these guys against each other when they’re much better as on-screen allies/friends.
Ambrose says he won the match so he’s taking the title and he heads up the arena stairs like the old Shield days. This will no doubt be used to set up the final conflict between Ambrose and Rollins at Money in the Bank.
Rating: 3 out of 5. I didn’t see this going another way, but the fans definitely weren’t pleased that they were teased with a new champ only to have it yanked out from under them. That finish is only good for about once a year so hopefully WWE won’t bring it back anytime soon.
In my predictions, I was a bit better than 50%, but the end results made sense even if my Naomi bias would have preferred her beating Nikki Bella. The Owens/Cena match is definitely worth tracking down and the Rollins/Ambrose match made this a good show. It was just another two good or one more great match from being the clear-cut best show of the year, but I’d put this just below Wrestlemania.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pics credit: WWE.com