The 2017 WWE Elimination Chamber pay-per-view was a Smackdown-only show. In July 2016, WWE decided to split the rosters into two because Smackdown went from being a taped show to being a live show on Tuesdays known at Smackdown Live. Those last six months of 2016 were very good for the Smackdown brand and that positive momentum carried into 2017 as well.
This Elimination Chamber 2017 recap was written live by me on TJRWrestling. I have re-watched it for this post while adding in some 2021 thoughts in blue font because there’s always more to say.
The Smackdown Live announce team of Mauro Ranallo, John Bradshaw Layfield, David Otunga and Tom “no talking during matches” Phillips were there to call the show.
Kickoff Match: Mojo Rawley vs. Curt Hawkins
Hawkins avoided attacks from Rawley by hugging the ropes and he came back with a punch to the head. Rawley came back with a clothesline followed by a chop block to the front of the left leg of Hawkins. Hawkins with a kick to the sternum and he tossed Rawley into the side of the ring apron. They went to commercial two minutes into it. The commercial was a plug for the WWE Network. Hawkins was still in control with a headlock. When Rawley got going, Hawkins nailed him with a clothesline. Rawley came back with punches, a clothesline, splash in the corner, he put Hawkins on his shoulders, slammed him down and that got a two count. Hawkins held the ring apron, the ref went over to that, Hawkins did an eye poke and hit a Downward Spiral for a two count. Hawkins avoided a clothesline and hit an enziguri kick for a two count. Rawley came back with a running forearm smash and a tilt-a-whirl powerslam for the pinfall win at 8:05.
Winner by pinfall: Mojo Rawley
Analysis: *1/2 It was a basic match to give Rawley a win over a guy that is barely on the show. There might be a bit of a push for Rawley as a singles wrestler, so that’s why he got the win. I don’t know if it’s going to be a big push, but I can see why WWE may want to use him more since he’s been in their system for a while and he’s a former football player with a lot of energy. Is he going to be great? I doubt it. I just think he might get more TV time while Ryder is hurt. Hawkins is a talented guy that could probably thrive as a tag wrestler if they put him in that spot again. Put him with Jack Swagger and see if they have any chemistry. Just do something with these guys.
(They really didn’t do much with Mojo after this although.
Now it’s on to the main show.
WWE Elimination Chamber
Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona
February 12, 2017
The opening video package aired putting over the violent nature of the Elimination Chamber while focusing on the six men involved in the WWE Title match.
The crowd is loud and ready. It looks like a full house. The Elimination Chamber structure is above the ring ready to go.
The orange haired one Becky Lynch entered first. A clip aired from last month showing Mickie James under the La Luchadora mask to set up this match. Mickie received some cheers when her music hit, but she’s the heel in the match.
The Spanish announce team and German announce team are also at ringside for the show.
Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James
They had a tight lockup to start the match. They hold onto the lockup even as they went out of the ring. Fans were chanting “ten” as the ref counted them out of the ring (hello Tye Dillinger). James had control with an armbar leading to a shoulder block. Lynch used the momentum to dump James out of the ring. Lynch rammed James into the turnbuckle followed a side kick that knocked James to the floor. Lynch nailed a forearm smash on the floor. They went back into the ring with James hitting an impressive DDT for a two count. James worked on the arm by dropping her knee into the arm and a kick to the face by James. The arm attack continued by James as she stretched it against the ropes and kicked Lynch on the arm. Lynch fought out of an armbar with forearms and a knee attack. James came back with a kick to the left arm and sent it into the turnbuckle. Mickie nailed a headscissors out of the corner followed by a loud yell to celebrate the move. Lynch tried to fight back, but James kicked her down again. James grounded her with a headlock. Lynch back to her feet, they exchanged forearm shots with the crowd reacting and they slugged it out some more with a punch. Lynch with two clothesline followed by a leg lariat. Bexploder Suplex by Lynch earned a two count. Lynch missed a corner attack, so James hit a flapjack to take her down. Otunga’s commentary was brutal as he kept saying James might have ring rust since she wasn’t wrestling in WWE for seven years. Of course, she has been wrestling. Just not in WWE. Oh well, I don’t expect good commentary from Otunga.
James went up top and hit a seated senton for a two count. James had some blood on her left elbow. Lynch avoided a move in the corner and nailed a back kick. Lynch up top with a missile dropkick for a two count. Lynch went for a pumphandle slam, James got out of it and James hit the Mick Kick. She went for a cover, but Lynch was under the ropes, so James pulled her out for a two count. James teased her DDT finish, but Lynch countered with a back body drop. James countered a submission attempt into a rollup. Lynch was able to counter that, she made the cover using her legs for momentum to add to the cover and that was enough for the win at 11:40.
Winner by pinfall: Becky Lynch
Analysis: ***1/4 Good match by the ladies with James working on the arm of Lynch to try to weaken her and dominating most of the match. It prevented Lynch from going for her arm submission, which factored into the finish. Lynch got the win with a counter instead of her submission, so it doesn’t hurt James too much to lose in close fashion like that. James showed that she is still one of the best women’s wrestlers in the world and I’m so happy that she is back in a WWE ring where she belongs. I would have had Mickie win here because I felt like she needed some momentum in her first singles PPV match since returning to WWE, but they went with Lynch instead. It wouldn’t surprise me if they did the match another time with James winning.
(They did a nice job here. Two of my favorite women in WWE history, so it was fun to watch it again. The reason I thought Mickie might get the win was because it was her first singles match since returning to the company, but I do understand Becky winning as payback since Mickie cost Becky in the title match against Bliss. The women’s division was really strong at this point since this was the first of three women’s matches on this PPV.)
Carmella and James Ellsworth were in a skybox. Carmella said that the wrong woman won that match. Ellsworth agreed.
Apollo Crews entered. Kalisto was about to enter, but Dolph Ziggler attacked him and threw him into a screen by the entrance. Kalisto was checked on by referees and doctors.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Apollo Crews & Kalisto
Crews was aggressive with a suplex. Ziggler hit a neckbreaker using the ropes as an assist. Ziggler got another neckbreaker. Headlock by Ziggler. Crews got back to his feet, but Ziggler dropped him with a back elbow. Ziggler grabbed another headlock. The crowd wasn’t making any noise for this match. Crews got to his feet, hit a kick and Ziggler dropped him with another neckbreaker. Kalisto stumbled his way down to the ring. Another ref told him to go back, but he wanted to be there. Crews with an enziguri kick that knocked Ziggler down. Kalisto got the tag with a springboard senton. Handspring roundhouse kick by Kalisto. Crews made the tag and hit a spinning sitout Powerbomb for the pinfall win at 7:20.
Winners by pinfall: Apollo Crews & Kalisto
Analysis: *1/2 It was a below average match. They didn’t click and the crowd has yet to have a reason to care about Crews. Once Kalisto got in there the crowd woke up a bit, but that’s also when the match came to an end. It wasn’t a good decision to do a handicap match.
Post match, Ziggler tripped up Kalisto on the apron. Ziggler brought a chair into the ring and hit Crews with a knee to the ribs. Fans chanted “yes” for Ziggler with the chair. Ziggler put the chair on the left foot of Crews and stomped on it. Fans were cheering. Ziggler stomped on the chair on the left foot of Crews again. Ziggler left, refs checked on Crews and the fans chanted “Thank You Ziggler” as the scene came to a close.
Analysis: Good post match attack by Ziggler. I don’t think WWE expected that kind of crowd reaction because he was cheered for acting like a heel. It’s because the fans have always liked Ziggler even when he’s acting like a jerk.
(This wasn’t that interesting as a match. The post match angle was supposed to be heelish, yet the crowd was cheering Ziggler for his cheap attack. That was strange.)
Dean Ambrose was shown warming up backstage.
There was an image informing us that The Rock won Entertainer of the Year at the 2017 NACP Image Awards.
The other announce teams were shown in the arena: Chinese, Japanese (hi Funaki), Russian and Portuguese.
Smackdown Tag Team Championships Turmoil Match
Two teams start until there’s an elimination, then another team joins the fun and it goes on until there’s just one team left.
Tyler Breeze & Fandango vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno
The crowd cheered Rhyno heavily when he tagged into the match. He gave Breeze a shoulder tackle in the corner. Rhyno with a clothesline on Breeze. Blind tag by Fandango against Slater with Fandango tripping up Slater. Double kick to the head of Slater by Breezango. Breeze dropped some “fashion tickets” on Slater while they were teasing a pinfall spot. Slater with a leg lariat on Fandango, but Breeze broke up the pin attempt. Slater got a rollup, Fandango pushed him off and Slater tagged Rhyno. Fandango had no idea, so he turned around and Rhyno nailed a Gore on Fandango to pin him. That took about four minutes.
Breeze & Fandango eliminated
The Vaudevillains are up next.
Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch)
The Vaudevillains attacked Rhyno in the aisle and sent him into the barricade. Slater nailed a cross body block off the top to take out both Vaudevillains. English worked on Slater in the ring as the heels isolated Slater in their corner. Gotch nailed knee strikes and a spinning kick to the face. Rhyno went into the ring and hit a Gore on Gotch. Slater nailed an Impaler DDT on English and pinned him. That took about two minutes.
The Vaudevillains eliminated
The Usos are up next. They took their time getting to the ring.
Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey)
The Usos worked on Rhyno for about one minute until Rhyno broke free with a clothesline on Jey. Slater got the tag, he missed a knee strike and Jey hit a popup Samoan Drop for a two count as Rhyno made the save. Ranallo said Hell in a Cell instead of Elimination Chamber, so the other guys on commentary mocked him. There was a rollup attempt, Jimmy made the blind tag and nailed a superkick on Slater to eliminate his team. That took about three minutes.
Heath Slater & Rhyno eliminated
The Tag Team Champs American Alpha are up next.
American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable) vs. The Usos
Gable nailed a cross body block off the top that took out Jey. The heels cheated a bit leading to Jey nailing an uppercut. Jimmy tagged in with a jumping knee attack on Gable for a two count. Hard whip into the corner by Jimmy on Gable. Jimmy with a leg drop on Gable followed by a leg drop to the throat followed by a headlock. Jimmy sent Gable out of the ring. Gable came back in as they did a double clothesline spot to knock them both down. Hot tag to Jordan against Jey with Jordan hitting a dropkick and an overhead suplex on both guys. Gable tagged in with a rollup using his legs to keep Jey’s shoulders down. That took about five minutes.
The Usos eliminated
After the elimination, Jey nailed Gable with a superkick. The Usos sent Jordan into the ring post. The Usos pulled Gable out of the ring. Both Usos whipped Gable into the steel steps at ringside. The Usos put Jordan in the ring and Jimmy hit a Samoan Splash off the top rope on Jordan. The Usos left.
Analysis: That was a good post match attack. It sets up a feud between American Alpha and The Usos after this show.
The Ascension duo made their entrance, after bumping into The Usos, with American Alpha out in the ring and on the floor.
American Alpha vs. The Ascension (Viktor & Konnor)
Viktor and Konnor hit their Fall of Man double team move on Jordan. Konnor covered, but Gable made the save for his partner. Double team attack by The Ascension with Viktor hitting a knee strike leading to a two count. Viktor missed a corner attack and Jordan nailed a belly to belly suplex. Gable got the hot tag, but Konnor tripped him up outside the ring. Gable went into the ring, Jordan picked up Viktor and they connected on Grand Amplitude for the pinfall win. That went about four minutes.
The entire match went 21:10.
The Ascension eliminated
Winners by pinfall: American Alpha
Analysis: **3/4 It’s hard to rate it compared to other matches because it was a bunch of short matches, but I thought the entire presentation was good. That’s why I give it just under three stars, which means it was a good match. I enjoyed the American Alpha/Usos sequence because I hope it leads to a feud between those teams. Their matches have always been good, but they haven’t had a chance to really have a major feud. Now they can do that.
(The champs retained. It was pretty average overall. I think some of the teams were weak, but in having American Alpha and The Usos they had two strong teams at the top of the division during this period. Sadly, American Alpha didn’t get a long enough run on the main roster and were split up too soon.)
A graphic let us know WrestleMania is 49 days away.
The Miz was shown backstage with his wife Maryse getting ready for Elimination Chamber.
A video package aired to set up Nikki Bella vs. Natalya.
Nikki Bella received a huge ovation because she’s from Scottsdale, Arizona. Nikki was wearing Phoenix Suns purple and orange gear as well. Natalya walked out to boos from the crowd.
Nikki Bella vs. Natalya
Natalya mocked Nikki with the “you can’t see me” hand gesture and a hard slap. Nikki took her down with a cross armbreaker attempt, but Natalya fought it off. Natalya attacked with punches followed by a waist lock takedown. Nikki took her down with a knee bar submission on the mat. Nikki kicked Natalya in the back to send her out of the ring followed by a clothesline on Natalya on the floor. Awful announcer Otunga said Nikki is underrated, which is silly considering how much she’s been pushed for years. When they were on the floor. Natalya shoved her back first into the ring post. Snap suplex by Natalya. Dropkick to the back by Natalya followed by a headlock. When Nikki got back to her feet, Natalya knocked her down with a clothesline. Natalya taunted “Mama Bella” in the crowd. JBL wondered if “Big Johnny” Laurinaitis was out there because he was married to Nikki’s mom. There was a shot of Nikki’s mom and brother in the crowd. Natalya had a leg lock in the ring. Nikki fought out of it with a punch and submission attempt, but Natalya got to the ropes. Nikki with a shoulder tackle, dropkick and a knee to the face for a two count. Natalya hit a Michinoku Driver for a two count. Nikki powered out of a Sharpshooter attempt and nailed a forearm smash for two. Nikki with a spinebuster for two. Springboard kick by Nikki out of the corner earned another two count. Natalya did a superplex out of the corner – she was standing on the middle rope when she did it.
Natalya applied the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. When Nikki got close to the ropes, Natalya dragged her back to the middle. Nikki fought back with a STF like move that Mauro called the Fearless Lock. Nikki got to the bottom rope to break the hold. They brawled onto the floor with Natalya driving her back first into the barricade. Nikki sent Natalya into the barricade. The ref was counting them out of the ring. When Nikki nearly got into the ring, Natalya grabbed her to prevent her from going in the ring and the bell rang. It’s a double countout. The match went 13:14.
Match Result: Double Countout
After the match was over, they kept brawling. Natalya was on the ramp and Nikki tackled her there. The ref separated them and Natalya ran up the ramp to end the segment. Nikki soaked in some cheers and left.
Analysis: **3/4 That was a physical match that felt more like a fight, which is why I’ve enjoyed this feud. They have made it personal and they wrestled that match like it was personal as well. The crowd was totally behind Nikki every time she made a comeback. I thought Nikki would win because they don’t book countout finishes that often, but that’s what they went with because WWE must want to keep the feud going. I thought Natalya worked really well as a heel who trash-talked a lot and sold well for Nikki’s comebacks. If they had more of a finish, it would have been an even better match, but I get that they want to keep the story going.
(This was a good rivalry for both women even with the finish that wasn’t clean here. The reason they did the double countout is because it would lead to a Falls Count Anywhere match on Smackdown nine days later. In that match, Natalya won because Maryse attacked Nikki to set up the mixed tag team match between Nikki/John Cena vs. Miz/Maryse at WrestleMania.)
Carmella and Ellsworth were in their skybox. Dasha Fuentes interviewed them. Carmella said those girls had major issues and were out of control. Ellsworth repeated what she said.
Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton were together backstage. Wyatt said: “Welcome to the era of Wyatt.” Orton: “Run.”
A video package aired to show the story about Orton joining the Wyatt Family and the problems with Luke Harper.
Randy Orton entered to his own theme song instead of the Wyatt song. He received mostly cheers from the crowd. Luke Harper entered to his own theme song as well, which is like a modified Wyatt song.
(I remember being really excited about this match because Harper was mostly a tag team wrestler, so for him to be featured in a singles match against a top guy like Randy Orton on PPV was pretty cool. Watching this four years later, it makes me sad because Harper passed away in late 2020 at age 41. I remember when Harper died, Orton shared messages of how close they were because they were dads that loved talking about their kids. I’m sure this match meant a lot to both men. Anyway, the story was about Harper not liking that Orton had become an ally of Bray Wyatt and Harper didn’t trust Orton, so that led to this match.)
Randy Orton vs. Luke Harper
They went outside the ring early with Harper having the advantage. Back in the ring, Harper nailed an impressive dropkick. Harper went to the top and Orton nailed a forearm that sent Harper to the floor. The fight continued on the floor with Orton doing his back suplex spot on Harper on the announce table. The table didn’t break. They went back in the ring with Orton grabbing a headlock. Orton gave Harper a suplex onto the top rope so that he drove Harper’s ribs onto the rope. Another chinlock by Orton. Harper fought back with a forearm to the jaw followed by a senton over the top rope. Harper with a big boot to the face for a two count. Orton sent Harper to the apron and teased the DDT, but Harper snapped the throat off the top rope. Harper with a catapult like move that sent Orton throat first into the middle rope. Orton nailed a forearm, went back into the ring and Harper dumped him out of the ring. Harper nailed a suicide dive that sent Orton flying over an announce table. Harper picked up Orton and gave him a back suplex onto the announce table like Orton enjoys doing. Orton recovered with a spinning powerslam on the floor. They went back in the ring with Harper on the top, Orton tripped him up and Orton hit a superplex like he does in most of his big matches. That earned a “this is awesome” chant.
Orton went for a RKO, but Harper shoved him off. Orton came back with a Full Nelson Slam for a two count. Harper was on the apron, so Orton grabbed him by the head and hit the draping DDT much to the delight of the crowd. The crowd cheered as Orton set up for the RKO. Harper got up with a superkick that stunned Orton. Another superkick by Harper led to a two count. There are a lot of superkicks in WWE, but Harper may have the best of them all. Harper nailed him with a kick to the gut followed by a Sitout Powerbomb for a two count. Fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. I agree. They exchanged punches while on their knees. Harper won the slugfest. Harper went for a discus clothesline, Orton shoved him off and hit a RKO for the pinfall win at 17:15.
Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton
After the match was over, JBL repeatedly said that Orton was the best ever and he’s going to WrestleMania.
Analysis: **** That was a really good match. I enjoyed it from start to finish. The crowd was a little slow to get into it, but once the guys started doing some nearfalls the fans really bought into it well. Harper’s offense is as good as any big man wrestler I’ve ever seen. I’m not saying he’s the best big man wrestler. I’m just saying he’s very believable in everything that he does. It’s great that Harper was in a featured match that went that long because it doesn’t happen enough for him. He proved how good he was. As for Orton, this was his best singles match in a while. He’s always capable of a match like this and I think Harper is one of his better opponents.
(It’s not a surprise that Orton won since he was the Royal Rumble winner, but if Harper got the win it would have been huge for him. The interesting thing about this match is that the crowd wasn’t that hot for the first part of the match, but then the action intensified and the fans started to believe that maybe Harper had a chance to win this match. Hearing “Let’s Go Harper” chants weren’t that common, but it happened here. These two men made the fans care about who won this match and that’s what professional wrestlers are supposed to do. I’d call this an underrated match that you should check out again if you haven’t seen it in a while.)
A commercial aired for WWE Network events.
The great AJ Styles was shown warming up backstage.
Nikki Bella was interviewed by Renee Young. Nikki said things are from over with Natalya. As Nikki tried to talk, Natalya attacked her from behind. Maryse happened to be standing there. Nikki bumped into her and spilled some powder on Maryse. Nikki came back with a tackle on Natalya. Referees showed up to break it up.
Analysis: There’s a rumored Cena/Nikki vs. Miz/Maryse match at WrestleMania. Nikki bumping into Maryse there will likely be something to set it up.
(That is what happened. A win for Cena/Nikki, then Cena proposed, Nikki said yes and they broke up instead of getting married. Now Cena is married to a different woman while Nikki has a son with fiance Artem, so both moved on to better future endeavors. As for Miz/Maryse, they are happily married with two daughters.)
Naomi received a lot of cheers for her entrance. I can’t blame the crowd because it’s a cool entrance. Alexa Bliss walked out with her Women’s Title.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi
Naomi with a quick rollup. Naomi sent Bliss face first into the turnbuckle. Naomi went for a springboard attack, but Bliss slammed her down for a two count. Bliss with a double knee attack while Naomi was up against the ropes. Naomi went for a bulldog, but Bliss countered by shoving her into the turnbuckle. Bliss stood on her hair while pulling on the arms. Naomi came back with an arm drag. Bliss did an arm drag of her own into a two count. Naomi nailed a kick to the head while Bliss nailed a punch at the same time leading to both women down at the same time. Naomi with a leaping clothesline, back elbow and a hard kick out of the corner. Naomi with a somersault clothesline. Naomi up top with the blockbuster neckbreaker for a two count. Bliss came back with an uppercut kick to stun the challenger. Bliss charged in and Naomi nailed the Rear View (or the jumping ass attack) for a two count. Bliss got a forearm shot as the ref held Naomi back. Bliss with two double knee strikes to the ribs for a two count. Bliss was on the top rope, so Naomi nailed a kick to the head. Bliss back into the ring with a snap DDT for a two count. Naomi with a double boot to the face. Naomi went for a moonsault out of the corner, but Bliss moved. It was hard to tell. The announcers missed it. Bliss got a rollup with her feet on the ropes, but the ref caught it. Bliss up top for Twisted Bliss moonsault, she jumped off, Naomi blocked it with her knees up and Naomi hit the split-legged moonsault off the ropes for the pinfall win at 8:20.
Winner by pinfall and New Smackdown Women’s Champion: Naomi
Analysis: **1/2 It was fine, but I liked the other women’s matches better. There were some moments at the end that were a bit sloppy, but they got through it without major issues. I’m happy for Naomi winning the title because she’s had a tough time getting to that level in the past. I get why they did it because Naomi has reached a new level of popularity with the cool entrance that she has. My gripe is that I would have had Bliss have a longer reign because it was so brief. Can’t push everybody at the same time. That’s WWE.
After the match was over, Renee Young went into the ring to interview the new champ. Naomi said she felt amazing. The crowd chanted “you deserve it.” Naomi said they made her cry. Naomi said Bliss tried to snatch her bald, but she was able to snatch the title and now she’s taking the title to her hometown of Orlando for WrestleMania. She celebrated with the title.
(This was a cool moment for Naomi, who is one of the most liked women’s wrestlers of this era. Fans respect her for working hard as an in-ring performer and the women she works with like her too. I remember thinking they should have saved this moment for WrestleMania. Then Naomi had a minor knee injury, Bliss got the title back and then Naomi won it again at WrestleMania when she returned to the ring, so Naomi did get her WrestleMania moment.)
Carmella and Ellsworth were interviewed by Dasha Fuentes again. Carmella said she was sick of being interrupted. Ellsworth repeated what Carmella said. Ellsworth grabbed the microphone, told Dasha to leave and he dropped the microphone.
The Enzo & Cass KFC Georgia Gold chicken commercial aired.
A commercial aired for Fastlane on March 5 headlined by Owens vs. Goldberg.
(Groan. Bad memories.)
After the show is Talking Smack hosted by Renee Young and Daniel Bryan. The guests are American Alpha, Naomi, Alexa Bliss and Mickie James.
The Elimination Chamber descended as a video package aired to set up the main event.
The Elimination Chamber structure is different this time. There’s less room outside the ring, but there is still enough room for guys to take bumps outside the ring. There is a difference in the material outside the ring, though, because WWE probably wants to make it a softer landing. It is more of a square shape instead of a circle.
(It meant for some bumps outside the ring that were a lot less painful. Instead of landing on a steel structure, they were landing on padding. That’s a lot better. I remember having fans complain to me about it because there was no sound when they landed on padding. I never understood the complaints. Should we be mad that WWE did something like this to make it safer for the wrestlers? I’m glad they did it. I don’t want guys getting hurt.)
Here’s the order of entrance. Dean Ambrose was out first to a big ovation. Baron Corbin was up next to boos. The Miz walked out alone without his lovely wife Maryse. That’s a shame because I like her. Bray Wyatt was the fourth man to enter a pod.
AJ Styles made his entrance. He received mostly cheers even though he’s supposed to be a heel. The last man in the match is the WWE Champion John Cena. Mixed reaction for Cena like usual, but mostly cheers.
(Cena won the WWE TItle from Styles two weeks earlier in an epic match at Royal Rumble 2017 that was the Match of the Year. That was Cena’s 16th WWE Title reign, which ties him with Ric Flair for the most in WWE/WCW history although in Cena’s case, all of them are WWE only while Flair’s go back to WWE, WCW and NWA. I’m just saying that Cena has the most in WWE history in terms of how many of them were booked by WWE.)
WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match: John Cena vs. AJ Styles vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Baron Corbin vs. The Miz vs. Dean Ambrose
The match began at 10:28pmET as Cena and Styles had a staredown to start it off.
Cena with a shoulderblock. Styles kicked him in the leg. Styles avoided a corner attack. Styles picked up Cena on his shoulders and hit a spinning slam for a two count. Cena powered Styles by launching him into the air and sending him to the mat. Cena hit a sunset flip Powerbomb (aka the Code Red) for a two count. The fans chanted for both guys. Styles with the Ushigoroshi (sunset flip into the knee to the back) for a two count. Cena with shoulder tackles followed by the spinning back suplex. The clock counted down as we hit the five minute mark. The #3 man is Dean Ambrose.
Ambrose was aggressive as he went after Cena. A big difference with this new structure is there’s no longer a steel grating outside the ring. It’s more of a mat. Ambrose gave Styles a suplex into a slam onto the mat outside the ring. Ambrose went on top of the pod and nailed a flying elbow smash to knock down Cena out of the ring. Styles wanted a German Suplex on Ambrose. Cena snuck up behind them and it was a double German Suplex, which drew a big “ooohhh” reaction from the crowd. The fans started a “Let’s go Cena/Cena sucks” chant. Styles nailed a kick to the head of Cena and Ambrose with a clothesline on Styles. The clock counted down for the next man. It’s Bray Wyatt at #4 in the match.
Wyatt cleaned house as soon as he got in the ring. Running cross body block on Ambrose. Styles went for an attack, but Wyatt sent him into the chain. Styles avoided an attack leading to Wyatt hitting the turnbuckle. Styles hit a leg drop to the back of Wyatt. Styles and Cena climbed the side of the chamber for some reason. They exchanged punches on there. Cena crashed onto the padding below. Styles went onto a pod Ambrose met him on the top of the pod. Ambrose sent Styles head into the side of the structure. Ambrose tried to jump on Wyatt, but Wyatt nailed an uppercut punch on Ambrose. They did a unique Tower of Doom spot with Ambrose doing a powerbomb on Wyatt out of the corner and Wyatt tossed Styles over his head with an overhead suplex like move. What a move! That was unique. Corbin is #5 in the match.
Corbin sent Ambrose face first into the cage. Corbin hit the Deep Six slam on Ambrose in the ring. Corbin sent Wyatt face first into a pod (it didn’t break) and a boot to the face by Corbin. Corbin with a STO on Wyatt on the padding outside the ring. Corbin hit End of Days on Styles. Cena went back into the ring and he went for a STF on Corbin. Corbin powered out of it and hit End of Days on Cena. Ambrose with a missile dropkick on Corbin followed by a clothesline. Ambrose whipped Corbin into the chain several times. Corbin came back by sending Ambrose into the chain as well. Corbin avoided Dirty Deeds, Ambrose went for a move off the ropes, but Corbin shoved him off and sent him in to the chain link. Corbin was the only man standing as Miz was #6 to enter.
Miz stayed in the pod. Ambrose snuck up behind Corbin and did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! to eliminate him. Really? Yes, really.
Baron Corbin eliminated by Dean Ambrose
After the elimination, Corbin hit Miz in the back of the head with a forearm. Corbin whipped Ambrose into one of the pod, which broke. That is always an impressive looking and sounding bump. Corbin put Ambrose’s head up against the chain link chamber and hit a forearm to the back to the head. Corbin hit Ambrose with End of Days in the middle of the ring. Miz took advantage of that to pin Ambrose and eliminate him.
Dean Ambrose eliminated by The Miz
Analysis: That was likely done to set up Ambrose vs. Corbin for the IC Title.
(That’s exactly what happened for them at WrestleMania although it was only on the Kickoff Show. Ambrose retained the IC Title against Corbin on that night.)
The Miz did his Daniel Bryan mocking spot as he nailed kicks to the chest of Wyatt and Cena at the same time. Running dropkick by Miz on both guys. Miz nailed Bryan with kicks. Miz hit a corner dropkick on Wyatt, corner dropkick on Cena and Miz dumped Wyatt out of the ring. Miz with a corner dropkick on Styles as well. Miz with the corner clothesline on Cena. Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Wyatt on the mat outside the ring. Miz jumped off the top and went for a cross body block on Cena, but Cena caught him and hit the Attitude Adjustment on Miz to eliminate him.
The Miz eliminated by John Cena
That left three men: Cena, Wyatt and Styles. Wyatt and Styles worked together against Cena briefly. Wyatt nailed Styles with an uppercut punch. Cena avoided a senton by Wyatt. Cena with shoulder tackles for Styles and a spinning slam for Wyatt. Cena hit Five Knuckle Shuffle on both guys. Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment on Wyatt. Styles back to his feet with a Styles Clash on Cena for a two count. Styles went for a Phenomenal Forearm, Cena avoided it and hit the Attitude Adjustment for a two count. Cena was stunned that Styles kicked out at two. Cena climbed up one of the pods and jumped off with a cross body block that knocked down Wyatt and Styles. Cena went for a AA on Wyatt, but Wyatt slipped out and hit Sister Abigail to pin Cena. Crowd cheering and chanting “yes” for that.
John Cena eliminated by Bray Wyatt
Analysis: That means there will be a new WWE Champion.
The match is at 30 minutes. Wyatt faced off with Styles. Wyatt was in control early. Styles came back with a forearm strike for a two count. Wyatt teased Sister Abigail, but Styles got a rollup for two. Styles nailed his striking offense and Wyatt decked him with a clothesline. Styles with a Pele Kick followed by a running knee attack. Styles nailed a springboard 450 Splash for a two count. Styles was grabbing his ribs for most of the match. I hope it’s just selling and nothing serious. Styles went for a springboard attack leading to a Phenomenal Forearm. Wyatt avoided it and hit Sister Abigail for the pinfall and the win. The match went 35 minutes.
AJ Styles eliminated by Bray Wyatt
Winner by pinfall and NEW WWE Champion: Bray Wyatt
Analysis: ****1/2 That was an outstanding match that was given a lot of time to tell the story of Wyatt outlasting everybody to win his first WWE Title. I loved the story with Cena and Styles having to outlast everybody, but they couldn’t do it. I also thought it was brilliant to have Wyatt pin Cena and Styles. It put him over in a huge way because he beat the two former WWE Champions. It gives Wyatt credibility immediately. Some finishers were kicked out of by Cena and Styles, but I didn’t mind it based on their amazing match at the Royal Rumble. They did a good job of utilizing Miz, Corbin and Ambrose in the match as well because it set up Corbin and Ambrose for a feud. Miz wasn’t in there for long, but at least he got a pinfall on Ambrose. As for Wyatt, I’m genuinely happy for him after having so many stop and start pushes in his career. He deserves to be in the spot he’s in. The win wasn’t a surprise by any means. I’m just glad that it finally happened.
(This was an outstanding match. I think it’s the best Elimination Chamber match ever right up there with the first EC match in 2002. I love the way it was booked with Wyatt looking like the deserving winner because he got key pinfalls over the champion Cena and the former champion Styles as well. That’s exactly how they should have booked it to help legitimize Wyatt as a top guy. I think of the fan reaction too. They were so invested in the final few minutes of the match.)
Wyatt was handed the WWE Title. He had a big smile on his face. The crowd was mostly cheering even though he’s a heel.
Replays aired of the key spots of the match with Wyatt getting the big pinfalls on former champs John Cena and AJ Styles.
The arena was darkened with Wyatt pointing to the WrestleMania sign. He had the WWE Title in his hands as the “fireflies” in the crowd lit up the arena. Randy Orton showed up the entrance area to have a staredown with Wyatt. The show ended with Wyatt posing with the WWE Title in the ring.
Analysis: Good way of teasing the Wyatt vs. Orton match at WrestleMania. Who’s the face? Who’s the heel? I don’t know if it matters because the crowd will cheer both. We have seven weeks to get there.
(The result wasn’t a surprise because we knew Orton won the Royal Rumble and the plan was Orton vs. Wyatt at WrestleMania. I don’t think this knowledge hurt the match at all. Also, the Wyatt/Orton feud ended as a big disappointment although at this time, I was interested in seeing how it played out.)
This event had a runtime of 2:58:39 on WWE Network.
Five Stars of the Show
1. Bray Wyatt
2. AJ Styles
3. John Cena
4. Randy Orton
5. Luke Harper
It gets an 8 out of 10 from me.
The main event was outstanding because it elevated Bray Wyatt. He didn’t just win the WWE Title – he cleanly pinned Cena and Styles to do it. That made him really look like a major star.
I liked Orton/Harper a lot because it was one of the longest singles matches that Harper has had and he showed how great he is.
The three women’s matches all told interesting stories. I didn’t agree with all of the finishes of those matches, but I understand why they were done.
The other matches were not that great or memorable, but that’s okay. I’m glad that American Alpha are still the tag champs and hope they can have a proper feud with The Usos now.
I enjoyed the show a lot. Well done by the Smackdown brand.
(I stand by that 8 out of 10 rating. Awesome show. I liked it a lot.)
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org