WWE Elimination Chamber
Corpus Christi, Texas
May 31, 2015

The Elimination Chamber Kickoff show was an hour long. It was hosted by Renee Young with Booker T, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton as the panel. I’ll recap any matches or key segments. Most of the time is filled by the panel talking about the matches.

I missed a few minutes at the start, but caught a backstage segment where Kane was approached by all three members of The New Day. The trio noted that they helped The Authority on Smackdown, so they wanted to be rewarded. Kane said all three of them could be in the Elimination Chamber match. Woods asked for a bigger pod because he’s claustrophobic. Kane didn’t seem interested in that, so Kingston and Big E took Woods away.

Rusev is out of Elimination Chamber. That’s no surprise since it was well known he legit hurt his ankle at the Smackdown taping on Tuesday.

For the Divas Title match with Nikki Bella defending against Naomi and Paige, there will be nobody allowed at ringside so Tamina and Brie Bella are banned. I’m still picking Naomi.

Zack Ryder vs. Stardust

This match was added with no build, but that’s fine. Ryder hit a dropkick followed by an arm drag and then he hit a clothesline over the top to the floor. Another Ryder dropkick sent Stardust to the floor. Back in the ring, Stardust hit a knee to the back. Stardust with a clothesline and then an armbar. Ryder hit a neckbreaker to start his comeback. Ryder with boots to the face, but Stardust avoided another dropkick attempt. Stardust clothesline, then Ryder hit another dropkick off the apron and the announcers were rambling on about the Love Boat for some reason. Back in the ring, Stardust grabbed the ropes and the ref caught him. Stardust nailed a Side Effect. Ryder was able to come back with a Broski Boot for two. Stardust hit the Queen’s Crossbow (JBL said that’s the name) even though it was the Cross Rhodes with JBL saying it was some new move. That was enough for the win after six minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Stardust

Analysis: ** Solid work by two guys that have been doing this for a while. Even though there was no build, they had an entertaining match. Stardust is feuding with Stephen Amell of the TV show Arrow. Amell actually tweeted that there’s no match between them at SummerSlam, but I’m pretty sure it will happen. They just don’t want to give that away three months early. Stardust needed that win because he’s lost so many matches. He has lost too much of late, but he’s still a level above Ryder.

There was an “#AskLana” Twitter segment hosted by Tom Phillips where she answered fan questions. She said that she has a good time with Dolph Ziggler. A fan asked about what she thought about the USA now that she gets cheered and she just offered up a generic babyface answer. She said that she chooses to be happy and free in her life.

MizTV with Daniel Bryan as the guest

Summer Rae introduced The Miz, who is back after missing over a month. He was filming a movie that I won’t watch. Miz is wearing some ridiculous black costume that is hard to describe escaped to say it’s some cape looking thing that I’d wear only if I wanted to get beat up. Daniel Bryan entered to a huge ovation. Lots of “yes” chants.

They sat down in the ring for the interview with Miz saying he wished Bryan a speedy recovery. He asked Bryan how he’s doing. When Bryan tried to talk, Miz cut him off saying that it’s been a difficult time for him. He said he put a lot of time and effort in helping Bryan from when he was helping him on NXT. Miz was over the top in taking credit for Bryan’s success.

Bryan said that his career is not over: “I will be back.” Bryan plugged his book that is out on July 21. Miz said when people write books, usually their careers are over. Miz said everybody wants him to help Bryan because he knows Bryan has some Five Hour Energy deal. He questioned Bryan’s look. He told Bryan he should be wearing makeup. Miz talked about how he has people that come to his house to help him tan. He kept on rambling, so Bryan told him to shut up.

Bryan said he’s there to present the IC Title to whoever wins it. He repeated: “My career is not over. I will be back.” Miz said Bryan’s lucky that Miz can’t hit him right now. Bryan said people are tired of Miz and he finds Miz to be boring. Bryan said he had something to fix this.

Here comes Damien Sandow aka Macho Mandow dressed like Macho Man. He also brought out AxelMania aka Curtis Axel. Mandow went into the ring, Miz took him down with punches, then AxelMania hulked up. Boot to the face by AxelMania and the leg drop. The music played to end that. Miz bailed. Bryan posed with the imitators to end the segment.

Analysis: There was a bit of story continuity at the end with Sandow going after Miz, but he really didn’t get much revenge on him. Bryan was there to plug his book. He didn’t even mention his DVD that comes out in June. I’ll get both. Miz did a really good job of being an egotistical jerk. I like his promos as a heel although I really doubt he ever becomes a main eventer again.

Dean Ambrose was interviewed by Eden backstage. He said he has nothing to lose and everything to gain. On the other hand, he’s feeling pressure in his guts because of his bubbling hatred for The Authority. He said that The Authority is probably plotting about doing something to make his life miserable. Ambrose said he was coming out swinging. Roman Reigns showed up to ask Ambrose if he got the ice and cold ones referencing a party. Reigns said he will be in his corner. Ambrose was happy.

Analysis: Segments like these are done to make people think Reigns will turn heel. I don’t see that as his future.

JBL was in the ring explaining the rules of the Elimination Chamber. The Chamber surrounded the ring. I’m not going over the rules. If you’re reading this you probably know them by now.

The panel talked some more and that was the end of the Kickoff Show.

WWE Elimination Chamber Main Card

There was a very good opening video package highlighting the Elimination Chamber as well as the two big singles matches on the show. These videos are always great.

Michael Cole referred to it as a “WWE special event” because it’s only on WWE Network and not on PPV in the US as well as most countries. The tag team title Elimination Chamber match is up first with the Chamber surrounding the ring. Cole welcomed us to the show along with John Bradshaw Layfield and Jerry Lawler. The Spanish announcers are there too.

Here’s the order of entry for tag teams: The Prime Time Players, Los Matadores with El Torito hanging out on top of the pod, Cesaro & Tyson Kidd with Natalya, The New Day trio of Kofi Kingston, Big E & Xavier Woods are all in the match. The final two teams are Lucha Dragons and The Ascension, so they start the match.

Elimination Chamber for the WWE Tag Team Titles: The New Day vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro vs. Prime Time Players vs. Los Matadores vs. Lucha Dragons vs. The Ascension

It looks like there was plenty of room in the pods even for the three New Day guys. No tags in this match. Lucha Dragons started with The Ascension and they dominated early on.There was a big move where The Ascension did a double slam move on Sin Cara. Kalisto tried to climb a pod, but he got his leg trapped in the cage. Sin Cara climbed a pod and hit a Swanton Bomb on Viktor. He was too hurt to cover. Kalisto was attacked by New Day, but then he broke free. They yanked down his leg so he was trapped again.

The 3rd team in the match are Cesaro and Kidd. Uppercut into a suplex move by them. Cesaro hit a forearm to the back of Viktor and then another uppercut by Cesaro on Konnor. Kidd went after Kalisto and then Cesaro hit a massive uppercut on him. Cesaro did a superplex off the top rope and off the top of the pod to bring Kalisto in the middle of the ring. Kidd hit a springboard elbow for a two count. Cesaro tossed Cara onto the cage outside the ring. Viktor slammed Kidd. Cesaro broke that up and then Kidd came back with a Sharpshooter on Viktor although Konnor made the save. Cara hit a spinning armbar on Cesaro as Lawler accidentally said JR, so Cole mocked him for that. Kalisto was sent into the cage, so he scaled the side of the chamber while Cara hit a slam on Kidd for two. Konnor hit a Dominator like move for a two count on Cara.

The 4th team in the match are Los Matadores, so El Torito hit a hurricanrana off the pod onto Cesaro. Kalisto climbed to the center of the cage. Everybody looked up at him, so he jumped down with a dive to take everybody out. It’s a spot John Morrison has done in the past, but it’s not easy to do. It looked like a nasty fall for Kalisto. El Torito also climbed to the top of the cage, but when he jumped off he was caught by The Ascension. The Ascension teamed together to hit the Fall of Man on one of Los Matadores to eliminate them.

Los Matadores eliminated by The Ascension

Lucha Dragons got some offense in, but it didn’t work. Kalisto was slammed down hard and then The Ascension hit Fall of Man to eliminate them.

Lucha Dragons eliminated by The Ascension

The 5th team is the Prime Time Players duo of Darren Young and Titus O’Neil. O’Neil dominated Viktor by slamming him into the cage repeatedly. Young hit a Gutbuster on Viktor and pinned him to eliminate The Ascension.

The Ascension eliminated by The Prime Time Players

Two teams left as Cesaro hit a huge clothesline to take down O’Neil and then a dropkick to Young, who was on the top rope. That was very impressive to get high enough to dropkick a guy that high up. They did a unique tower of doom style spot out of the corner with Cesaro giving Young a gutwrench suplex while O’Neil did the powerbomb part of it. Spinebuster by O’Neil on Kidd for two. All four guys were down in the ring as the clock wound down.

The 6th and final team was The New day trio. They did a very choreographed spot where the four faces suplexed the three heels at the same time. Cesaro and Kidd tossed Woods into a pod to trap him there. They did the Cesaro Swing spot into the Kidd dropkick on Kingston. Immediately after that, Young did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Cesaro and that was enough to eliminate Cesaro.

Cesaro and Tyson Kidd eliminated by Prime Time Players

Big E helped Woods out of the pod, so they worked together on the PTPers with Woods hitting a huge clothesline followed by Kingston hitting boots to the face on O’Neil. Young avoided a Big E slam attempt, then knocked down Woods and Kingston off the top rope while Big E missed a corner charge, so he hit the ring post as well as the pod. O’Neil and Young dominated by tossing the three New Day guys around, but Kingston took down Young with a hip toss onto the cage. O’Neil slammed Kingston into the cage repeatedly. O’Neil hit multiple clotheslines on Big E. Young hit a Gutbuster on Kingston for two. Looks like Kingston was grabbing the rope when he kicked out too. Big E hit a belly to belly on Young outside the ring. O’Neil with a huge slam on Big E. Woods jumped into O’Neil’s arm, then Kingston hit Trouble in Paradise and all three New Day guys covered for the win. The match went 25 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The New Day

Analysis: *** There’s nothing to really compare it to since that’s the first tag team Chamber match in WWE history. Good work by everybody in the match although it was tough to follow at times too. I was surprised the Lucha Dragons weren’t booked stronger because I thought they were next in line, but WWE chose to push the PTPers a bit more. It was a cheap win for New Day since they had three guys in the match and they also got to enter last likely because The Authority favored them. They have been champions for a little over a month, so it makes sense that they would retain.

There was a commercial for Money in the Bank on June 14. Game 5 of the NBA Finals is that night if it goes to five games (it probably will), so that’s tough for WWE. I’ll watch basketball live. By the way, Warriors in 6 for that series.

It was announced that Rusev has a fractured foot from his match on Smackdown when he landed hard going over the top rope. He’ll be replaced by a sixth superstar who we don’t know yet.

Dolph Ziggler was backstage and Lana went up to him wishing him luck. He said that when he comes back a champ it will be about them. She told him to be careful and wished him good luck.

Divas Title: Nikki Bella vs. Naomi vs. Paige

There’s no Brie Bella or Tamina at ringside since they are banned. Brie is probably listening to her awful theme song, which is the favorite WWE song of my pal Justin Sheppard. Naomi tossed Nikki into the announce table. Nikki’s got some fake hair blonde hair extensions. Paige went after Naomi in the ring and hit a fallaway slam. Nikki came back with a clothesline and then an Alabama Slam on Paige. Naomi made the save to get a rollup of her own for two. Nikki missed a kick on Naomi and Paige covered her for two. I think Paige was supposed to take the kick, but wasn’t there. Naomi tossed Nikki into the ring post to take her out again. Suplex by Naomi and then a legdrop. Nikki had Paige up in the Rack Attack, but Naomi hit the Rear View to break it up and she got a two count. Kick to the face by Naomi when Paige went for her PTO submission on Naomi. Paige had Naomi up in the air and Naomi did some reverse hurricanrana style move that only got a two count. That didn’t look great. Nikki hit the Rack Attack on Naomi and she retained after six minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Nikki Bella

Post match, Brie Bella came out to celebrate with her sister. My friend Justin Sheppard is mad they didn’t play the Brie Mode song. Poor guy.

Analysis: *3/4 The girls worked hard, but had to rush through the big spots and nearfalls since it was so short. Then again, 6-7 minutes is what they usually get. I was hoping they would get more time since it’s only a six match show. Nope. I thought that Nikki was going to lose to Naomi so that Naomi could feud with Paige, but that’s not going to happen now. Nikki’s reign has been pretty boring and the Bellas aren’t very good at being faces. Maybe Nikki is holding onto it so that she can drop it to Charlotte or Sasha Banks if one of them debuts soon. I’m not sure what the plan is.

There’s some WWE show called Swerved on WWE Network that is their version of a prank show.

John Cena vs. Kevin Owens is up next, so here’s the video package.

Owens entered first. He’s wearing a new “Fight Owens Fight” shirt and he’s also got “Fight” on his shorts like he did last week on Raw.

Kevin Owens vs. John Cena

No titles on the line. The crowd came alive for this match as soon as the bell rang. That’s the Cena effect and some are chanting for Owens too. Cena hit a shoulderblock early on, but Owens stomped on him. After a Cena bulldog, Owens pounded him down again. Owens did a hard whip into the corner. Owens grounded him with a headlock. I’ve had people tweeting me about Cena calling spots. He’s always loud when it comes to that especially with a newer opponent. It doesn’t really bother me. Cena tried for the AA, but Owens planted him with a DDT for two. Boot to the face by Owens as the crowd was chanting for Cena. After Owens posed, Cena got a rollup for two and Owens followed up with a clothesline, punches and then a running senton for two. They exchanged punches, Cena hit a shoulder tackle, Owens caught him and hit a spinning slam for two. Owens hit a cannonball attack in the corner. When Owens went for the Popup Powerbomb, Cena slipped out of it. Cena hit the shoulder tackles, the spinning suplex and then the five knuckle shuffle. Owens shoved out of the Attitude Adjustment, sent Cena into the ropes and hit the Popup Powerbomb for two. This is Owens first match on the main roster and a guy kicked out of his finisher 10 minutes into it. That’s pretty rare.

Owens went to the top rope, but Cena tripped him up as the crowd did dueling chants. Owens to the top, he hit a picture perfect moonsault (he jumped forward to backward while on the top rope – very impressive!) and Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment for just two. They slugged it out with Owens hitting a superkick. Owens did the Cena hand taunt, but he got tripped up Cena, who applied the STF submission hold. Owens kicked out of it and Owens hit the Attitude Adjustment for two. That was interesting. Cena came back with a Tornado DDT out of the corner for a two count. Cena went to the top and hit his legdrop to the back of the head for at two count. Owens hit the Package Powerbomb for two. Wow. This match really is awesome.

Owens yelled at Cena to stay down because he was getting frustrated, but Cena kept on fighting. Cena hit the Springboard Stunner for a two count. He was mad that it only got a two count. Usually Cena doesn’t get upset, so the announcers mentioned that Cena is frustrated by it too. Cena went for a superplex that Owens countered into a suplex out of the corner! Wow! To the top rope, Owens hit a Senton (or Swanton Bomb) for a two count. Cena crushed Owens with a hard clothesline to take him down and then he hit another one. Cena went for another clothesline, Owens avoided it, hit the Popup Powerbomb and covered for the victory after 21 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens

Analysis: ****1/2 What a fantastic match. That Owens/Cena match is why we watch and like professional wrestling. What a great match that was arguably the best WWE match of the year. It was a star making performance for Owens and the fact that he beat Cena clean is a huge shock, but I’m so glad that it happened that way. People that get it love it and people that don’t will never get it, but that’s the kind of match that we want to remind us why we’re fans in the first place. Both guys deserve a lot of praise because Cena putting over Owens clean is HUGE for his career. An Owens loss would have sucked. I picked Owens to win, but even I didn’t believe that it was going to happen until I saw it with my own eyes. They did an amazing job of using innovative nearfalls and really getting the crowd into it although this crowd is pretty weak so far. Great moment for Owens, who worked so hard to get to WWE and to see him get rewarded by being booked so strongly in his main roster debut is an encouraging sight. He can be a top heel in WWE very soon. The only complaint is that Cena was pretty loud in calling spots. He usually is, but I could hear it even more likely because they are unfamiliar with each other. It’s still one of the best matches of the year.

Post match, Cena rolled out of the ring. Owens held his NXT Title. JBL put it over as the greatest called shot in WWE. Owens did a promo said that now everybody knows who Kevin Owens is. “I’m the man that started a fight with John Cena, but I’m also the man who just finished that fight. And now that I’ve beaten John Cena, I have some veteran advice: It’s time for you to go because your time is way up and my time is now because The Champ is here.” Owens left to some cheers.

Analysis: I’m glad he got a chance to do a promo to say “I told you so” after the biggest match of his career.

The panel talked about what happened.

Neville vs. Bo Dallas

I’m still writing praise for the previous match as this one begins. Neville hit a great diving attack outside the ring, but Dallas ended up slowing him down. He used the ring apron to smother Neville and hit some punches on him. Bo grabbed a chinlock to slow him down. Dallas went for a charge, Neville got out of the way and Dallas went into the ringpost. Neville fired up with a running dropkick as well as a forearm shot to the head. Shooting Star Press by Neville. Dallas made a comeback with his Running Bodog attempt, but Neville kicked him in the head. Neville hit the Red Arrow for the win after seven minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Neville

Analysis: ** It was a predictable match with Neville getting the win since Dallas isn’t really booked as a serious superstar. The match never felt like Dallas was going to get the win at any point and you could tell the crowd didn’t buy into him. My apologies for not being that detailed in my write-up of this match. I was busy writing about and praising the match before it.

Dean Ambrose was shown talking to Roman Reigns backstage. Triple H walked up to them. He briefly put over Kevin Owens. Hunter said that Reigns would just be a disruption if he was at ringside, so if Reigns gets involved then Ambrose will get disqualified. Hunter asked if he heard him – Reigns said “loud and clear.”

Analysis: Good tease for something to come. People thinking a heel turn is possible just got excited. I’m not sure about that.

The IC Title match is up next.

Former IC Champion Daniel Bryan was at ringside and a video of him relinquishing the IC Title was shown.

The Chamber was in place for the IC Title match. Mark Henry is the surprise replacement for the injured Rusev and he’s out first followed by Sheamus, R-Truth and Ryback. That means King Barrett and Dolph Ziggler are starting the match.

Elimination Chamber Math for the vacant Intercontinental Title: Sheamus vs. R-Truth vs. Ryback vs. Mark Henry vs. King Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler

Barrett and Ziggler started the match. I missed a few minutes because I timed by bathroom break poorly. When I returned, Barrett was dominated Ziggler by tossing him into the cage. The clock ran down with Barrett ready for the next guy.

The 3rd man in the match is R-Truth, who was attacked by Barrett immediately. Barrett tossed Truth into cage to knock him down. Ziggler’s offensive attempt failed as Barrett nailed him with a boot to the face and then tossed him into the ring post. Truth hit a boot to the face followed by a missile dropkick for two. Front suplex by Truth followed by a scissors kick. Truth hit a corner splash and then Barrett hit the Winds of Change slam for two. Two kicks by Barrett on Ziggler earned a two count. Barrett drove Ziggler into Henry’s pod and it broke.

Henry entered the ring so apparently he’s the 4th man in the match. Shortly after that, Ryback entered as the 5th man in the match. That’s pretty rare to see two guys enter consecutively like that, but it’s a unique booking idea. Ryback was on fire as he went after Henry and then hit a spinebuster on Barrett. Ziggler got a creative rollup on Barrett for two. Barrett hit Wasteland on Ziggler for two as Henry broke up the pin by going after Barrett. There was a sequence with the four faces working together to eliminate Barrett with R-Truth hitting the Lie Detector on him for the elimination. Poor Barrett may be the most poorly booked King of the Ring winner ever.

King Barrett eliminated by R-Truth

It was time for Sheamus to enter, but the referees couldn’t open the door to enter the match. They tried rollups on eachother. Ryback hit a clothesline on Henry, Truth hit a forearm smash on Henry, Ziggler hit a superkick on Henry and Ryback hit a spinebuster on Henry. Then Ryback took down Ziggler. Ryback nailed Shellshock on Truth to eliminate him.

R-Truth eliminated by Ryback

Ryback hit a delayed suplex on Ziggler while Sheamus was still stuck in his pod. Ziggler nailed Ryback with a superkick as all three guys were down. Sheamus picked the lock with the celtic cross he had, so it’s selling the idea that he could have got out any time. Sheamus slammed Ziggler into a pod and went crashing into the glass. Henry knocked down Sheamus with a forearm shot followed by a big splash for two. Sheamus did an eye gouge and then hit a Brogue Kick leading to the pin on Henry.

Mark Henry eliminated by Sheamus

The crowd just isn’t into this match as Sheamus went after Ziggler with a suplex into a slam. This match is pretty boring and the crowd really isn’t into it. Ziggler countered a slam into a rollup for two. Ziggler avoided a corner charge and then hit a DDT for the two count. Ziggler superkick on Ryback. Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Ziggler to eliminate him.

Dolph Ziggler eliminated by Sheamus

It comes down to Sheamus and Ryback. The crowd was chanting “feed me more” for Ryback. Sheamus hit a powerslam on him and then he pointed at the IC Title at ringside. Ryback dropped Sheamus with a slam followed by forearm punches. A running powerslam by Ryback. Ryback wanted his clothesline, but Sheamus went out of the pod. Sheamus tried to go into his pod again for some reason. Sheamus came back with White Noise on the steel outside the ring. That earned Sheamus a two count back in the ring. Sheamus went for his forearm shots, but Ryback overpowered him. Sheamus hit a rolling senton outside the ring. Ryback fought back with a Powerbomb into the side of the cage and then a Powerbomb into the ring. Ryback hit the Shellshock in the ring and covered for the victory.

Winner by pinfall and New Intercontinental Champion: Ryback

Analysis: ** The crowd was dead for the match and I don’t really blame them because it was very average. The work was pretty good, but it was one of the worst Chamber matches. A below average Chamber match is still solid. The problem was there just wasn’t much in terms of storylines going into it, so it was hard for the crowd to be invested in anything that went on. Ryback was my pick to win just because I felt like it would make for a good story with him winning his first title in WWE. Happy for him. Plus, with Daniel Bryan there to present the title it makes more sense for a face to win.

Post match, the chamber went up and Daniel Bryan was in the ring with the IC Title. Bryan said that congratulations is in order to “The Ryback” – that’s what he calls him. Bryan asked the crowd if he deserved it. Then Bryan said he thought he deserved it, which led to “yes” chants. Ryback said that Bryan’s not just an inspiration to the people, but he’s an inspiration to “The Big Guy” too and he thanked him for it.

Analysis: They used to travel together when Bryan started in WWE and before Bryan was with Brie Bella, so they’re close friends. “The Ryback” is Bryan’s unique name for him. Cool moment for them.

A plug for Steve Austin’s podcast with Paul Heyman after Raw on Monday. Looking forward to that.

There was a plug for Money in the Bank in two weeks by showing that Rollins won last year and is now WWE Champion. That’s a good selling point for the match.

There was a replay of Owens beating Cena. Cena rolled out of the ring so quickly. He could have sold it a bit more. It was announced that John Cena will face Kevin Owens at the Money in the Bank event in two weeks on June 14. Awesome.

Money in the Bank match is Ziggler, Neville, Reigns, Orton, Kingston and Sheamus. They stressed that those aren’t all the names, but they are the first six that will be a part of it. I pick Reigns.

A video package aired for Rollins vs. Ambrose.

Seth Rollins entered first for the main event along with Kane and J&J Security. Ambrose got a good reaction coming out last. I like the champion coming out last and will always complain about that although it’s not a big complaint.

WWE World Heavyweight Title: Seth Rollins w/Kane, Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury vs. Dean Ambrose

There was some stalling early by Rollins going outside the ring. When he got into the ring, Ambrose met him with a clothesline and then beat him down with some chops. Ambrose hit a dropkick while Rollins was in the ropes and followed it up with a legdrop off the middle ropes for two. A distraction by Mercury tripped by Ambrose against the ropes, which led to Rollins doing a double stomp for a two count. When Ambrose looked to get going, Rollins sent him face first into the middle turnbuckle. Rollins nailed a leaping neckbreaker for a two count. He yelled at the ref for counting slow. Rollins hit a clothesline. They did a double cross body block spot so they were both down.

Ambrose started to get some momentum as they did a series of nearfalls with rollups for both guys and then Ambrose hit a face first slam for a two count. Ambrose hit a running forearm shot that sent Rollins to the floor. Ambrose followed that up with a suicide dive outside the ring that sent both Rollins and Ambrose over the top of the announce table. The ref could have counted them out, but was really slow. Fans chanted “this is awesome” for that. Back in the ring, Rollins had his feet on the ropes for a two count. J&J complained about things, so Ambrose knocked them down. More nearfalls and then Rollins got standing side kick for a two count. Rollins to the top, Ambrose tripped him up and Rollins went for a sunset flip into a powerbomb, but Ambrose fought out of that. Ambrose with a clothesline over the top sent both guys outside the ring. After a distraction by Mercury, Rollins gave Ambrose a Powerbomb into the barricade at ringside. Back in the ring, that earned a two count.

Rollins hit the flying knee to the face and then an inverted slam for a two count. Rollins trash talked Ambrose followed by a forearm smash in the corner. They had a really cool sequence where Rollins missed a corner splash and Ambrose capitalized with a Tornado DDT. I’m not sure if he should be doing a DDT variation move when he has a double DDT finisher. They each missed a move because the guy moved, which led to Ambrose nailing a huge clothesline that Rollins sold by doing a flip all the way to his stomach. Ambrose to the top and he hit a flying elbow on the standing Rollins for two. There was a distraction by Mercury, so Rollins got in a kick, a clothesline outside the ring and a suicide dive for Rollins. Back in the ring, Rollins went for corner powerbomb and then Ambrose hit another clothesline on Rollins. Ambrose knocked down Kane as well as J&J. Ambrose up top and then he hit a flying elbow attack on the three stooges outside the ring. Ambrose clothesline on Rollins.

In the ring, Ambrose went for a flying elbow attack and Rollins pushed the ref in front of him, so Ambrose hit the ref John Cone, who rolled outside the ring. Rollins went for a Phoenix Splash, Ambrose moved and Ambrose hit the Dirty Deeds and a new ref counted the pinfall.

Winner by pinfall: Dean Ambrose

Ambrose was handed the WWE Title by the second ref Chad Patton. Ambrose celebrated with the gold. Original ref Cone talked to Patton. That led to Patton going to the announcer Lilian Garcia, who announces that Rollins was disqualified, but he’s still WWE Champion. The match went about 22 minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Dean Ambrose (Seth Rollins is still WWE Champion)

Analysis: ***3/4 That’s a finish that is going to piss off a lot of people, but it’s just an example of how WWE is going to think of creative ways to keep the gold on Rollins. That’s known as the “Dusty Finish” because when Dusty Rhodes was booking the NWA in the 1980s he would do that kind of thing all the time. The work in the match was slow at first, but they really got into another gear in the second half of it and had a lot of awesome nearfalls. When Ambrose got the win, it confused me at first until I realized that they would go the route with the ref bump. When I was looking at Twitter, there were people genuinely upset about it. That’s the point. They want you to be upset so you can watch next time. It’s actually really well done from a booking perspective because WWE doesn’t do that kind of finish often. Listen to the crowd. It worked. Well done by everybody involved even though people will complain that there wasn’t a cheap finish.

Post match, The Authority’s four men went after Ambrose. Roman Reigns entered for the save. He walked down the aisle for it and nailed Rollins with a Superman Punch. They cleaned house on Kane and J&J Security as well. When Rollins came back, he was sent to the floor again.

Ambrose said that he’s taking the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He told Roman that tonight the champ buys the beer. Ambrose left with Reigns through the crowd and the WWE Title on Ambrose’s shoulder.

More replays of what happened were shown. Ambrose and Reigns celebrated to end the show right at 10:59pmET.

Analysis: The next step will likely be Rollins vs. Ambrose at Money in the Bank in two weeks with a stipulation. They can do a Falls Count Anywhere match or something different from this one and the Raw match from May 4.

 

Five Stars of the Show

1. Kevin Owens – What a moment for a man that truly deserves it.

2. John Cena – Awesome job of putting over Owens.

3. Dean Ambrose – The wildman was on fire.

4. Seth Rollins – Still arguably the best in the world.

5. Ryback – Happy for him winning his first title in WWE.

 

Final Thoughts

It gets a 7.5 out of 10 from me.

I really enjoyed the show. The two awesome singles matches carried it.

Owens/Cena is a legit match of the year contender. I gave it ****1/2 out of five, which could be bumped up when I see it again. Sometimes writing live is tough to get all the details of the match in there and then trying to enjoy it at the same time. I really wanted Owens to win just because of how rare it is for Cena to lose like that. Great seeing them book it like that.

Rolins/Ambrose was very good again. They really cranked it up for the finish. I know the ending might upset people, but once again that’s the point. The money match is Rollins vs. Lesnar this summer and they have to get Rollins there with the title, so he’s not going to lose. If you thought he was, I’m sorry. Don’t be mad. Appreciate the great wrestling.

Out of the two Elimination Chamber matches, I thought the tag title match was much better. They did cooler moves and there was a better flow to the match.

I’m happy for Ryback winning the IC Title although it was far from a great match. Part of that is on the booking because there just weren’t a lot of good storylines going in.

The Divas Title and Neville/Dallas matches were short matches that were just okay. I’ll probably forget about both of them by tomorrow.

Thanks to the strength of the top two matches and a pretty solid third best match, it’s my second favorite PPV of the year after WrestleMania.

 

2015 PPV Rankings (Scores out of 10)

WrestleMania – 8

Elimination Chamber 7.5

Payback – 7

Extreme Rules – 6

Fastlane – 5

Royal Rumble 4

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Check out my feature column archive that’s exclusive to WhatCulture.

This week’s Raw Deal will likely be live at TJRWrestling.net, so check it out live or after the show is over. Have a great week.

John Canton – mrjohncanton@gmail.com

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