By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko
The WWE Elimination Chamber Kickoff Show began as the kickoff panel announced that Rusev will no longer be a part of the Intercontinental Championship match due to an injury. There was no announcement about his replacement.
Stardust and Zack Ryder competed in a bonus match in the kickoff show.
Stardust took control of the match and continued to dominate until Ryder started to make a comeback.
Ryder hit his Broski Boot finisher, but shortly after Stardust hit his new finisher, The Queen’s Crossbow, for the win.
I’m always a fan of bonus matches but it is upsetting to see how far both men have fallen. While competing as Cody Rhodes, Stardust had one of the best feuds with his brother Goldust against The Authority and was in the show-stealing Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania 31. Just a few years ago, fans chanted “We Want Ryder” while The Rock was cutting a promo on the microphone. It is sad to see how they went from getting so much hype to competing in an unannounced kickoff show match.
Backstage in the Social Media Lounge, fans were able to ask Lana questions. Lana was asked about Dolph Ziggler. She said that he is cute and makes her laugh. She mentioned how the fans are treating her well and how she wasn’t the kindest person in the past.
The Miz made his way to the ring for his MizTV talk show featuring Daniel Bryan. A clip was shown of Daniel Bryan giving up the Intercontinental Championship due to injuries he sustained. After the clip, Miz and Bryan sat down for the MizTV segment.
Miz asked Bryan a question but interrupted him before he could answer it. He said he feels bad for Bryan, but he feels like the victim because he put so much time and effort into Bryan to turn him into a star when he was his mentor during their NXT days years ago.
Bryan guaranteed that despite the circumstances his career isn’t over. Miz continued to berate Bryan until Bryan told him to shut up. Bryan said that the reason he is at Elimination Chamber is to present the winner of the Elimination Chamber match with the Intercontinental Championship belt.
Miz continued to berate Bryan until Bryan snapped his fingers. Macho Man Randy Savage’s music began to play as Macho Mandow and Axelmania came out and beat up The Miz. Hulk Hogan’s music played as Axelmania and Mandow posed for the crowd. Bryan tried to leave, but they stopped him and made him celebrate with them.
This was a fun segment to watch. Although The Miz is from my hometown of Cleveland, he is a character that is universally hated within the WWE Universe. Watching him get beat up by the Mega Powers tribute of Axelmania and Macho Mandow was very amusing.
WWE announcer Eden asked Dean Ambrose backstage if he felt any extra pressure about his main event match. Ambrose explained that he has everything to gain and nothing to lose. Roman Reigns walked in and asked Ambrose if he got the beers. Ambrose said no and Reigns said he already did. Reigns told Ambrose to take care of Rollins and he will take care of the rest.
The Pay-Per-View event officially started with the WWE Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber match. The teams each made their entrance as Los Matadores, The Prime Time Players, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, and The New Day were locked inside the pods. El Torito accompanied Los Matadores and stood on the top of their locked pod. The Ascension’s Konnor and Viktor and the Lucha Dragons Sin Cara and Kalisto started the match off in the ring.
The Lucha Dragons dominated the match early on, however, The Ascension began to use their strength and power to make a comeback.
Kalisto climbed on top of a chamber pod but his foot got stuck in the chains. The Ascension climbed to the top rope and began to beat up Kalisto. Sin Cara hit a flip onto The Ascension from a pod on the other side of the ring. Kalisto tried to follow up with another maneuver, but The New Day yanked his foot from inside the pod and got him stuck on top of the pod again.
The clock counted down and Tyson Kidd and Cesaro exited their pod and entered the match.. They immediately fought both teams.
Once Kidd and Cesaro established control, Cesaro climbed to the top rope and freed Kalisto. Cesaro hit a superplex from the top rope on Kalisto, who was still on top of the chamber pod.
After awhile, Kalisto climbed back on top of a pod and began to climb to the roof of the cage upside down.
The clock counted down as Los Matadores exited their pod and entered the match. El Torito hit a flying splash the wrestlers that were in the ring from the top of the chamber pod.
Kalisto swung his body from the top of the cage back and forth and let go, falling on top of everyone as the fans started a “This is Awesome” chant.
The Ascension hit their finisher on Los Matadores and pinned them to eliminate them from the match. Seconds later, they hit their finisher on the Lucha Dragons as well to eliminate them from the match.
The clock counted down again and the Prime Time Players Titus O’Neil and Darren Young entered the match and were immediately beat down by The Ascension.
After much turmoil between the teams, The Ascension was eliminated. Kidd and Cesaro and O’Neil and Young were in the ring, while all three members of The New Day were still waiting to be let out of their pod.
After much back and forth between the teams, all four men were down. As they made their way back up, the clock counted down and all three New Day members entered the match as the fans chanted “New Day sucks.”
Cesaro and Kidd beat all five guys down, and managed to lock Xavier Woods back in the pod to even the odds.
Cesaro grabbed Kingston and did the Cesaro Swing, but as soon as Cesaro finished the swing, Darren Young rolled him up and pinned him to eliminate Cesaro and Kidd.
The only two teams left were the Prime Time Players and The New Day. Big E got Xavier Woods out of the pod, which gave the New Day a three on two advantage.
The New Day took advantage of the numbers game. Darren Young began to make a comeback for his team and O’Neil got back up as they continued their assault on The New Day.
The numbers game was too much for The Prime Time Players, as all three members of The New Day teamed up on O’Neil after taking out Young. Kingston hit his Trouble In Paradise finisher and The New Day retained their championships.
This was an exciting match, and as the commentators pointed out, a first in WWE history. Prior to tonight, there was never an Elimination Chamber tag team match. However, I enjoyed the way that the concept played out. It was believable that any team that competed could have walked out with the championship belts, and I wouldn’t be surprised if each team had another championship run down the line. With half of the competitors originating from NXT, this also helped to showcase a new generation of stars.
Backstage, Lana wished Dolph Ziggler good luck. She said that tonight is about him. Ziggler said that when he is champ, maybe it will be about “us.” He said he’s going to do what he does better than anyone else tonight.
The relationship that is budding between the two brings a level of curiosity. However, with or without Lana, Ziggler is one of WWE’s best wrestlers today and I wouldn’t be surprised if we won the Intercontinental Championship once again.
Nikki Bella made her way to the ring for her Diva’s Championship match, followed by the challengers Naomi and Paige.
The announcers pointed out that everyone is banned from ringside for this match, which explained why Tamina Snuka and Brie Bella were not at ringside.
Paige and Naomi took out Nikki and fought each other one on one. Paige dominated the match until Nikki entered the match once again.
Nikki missed a kick off the top rope and was slammed onto the floor. Naomi gained control of Paige in the ring while Nikki was laid out out on the floor.
Nikki came back in the ring and the three ended up in a slam off of the top rope, Nikki tried to pin both Paige and Naomi but both girls kicked out.
Nikki went for her Rack Attack finisher on Paige but Naomi interfered with the Rear View. Paige kicked Naomi out of the ring and went for her PTO submission on Nikki but Naomi broke it up. Nikki hits the Rack Attack on Naomi for the win and retains her title.
I have always been skeptical about the Diva’s division, but I must admit they are showing improvement each and every week. I still believe more divas need to be brought up from NXT for a significant impact to be made. Also, Nikki Bella needs to lose the championship. Her transition from a villain to a hero was instantaneous, and the fans aren’t buying what she is selling,
NXT Champion Kevin Owens made his way to the ring for his match against United States Champion John Cena. Cena came out next for the “Champion versus Champion” matchup.
Owens dominated the match early on. He hit Cena with a plethora of moves before Cena began to make a comeback. They hit each other with punches back and forth before Owens regained his dominance.
Cena began to make a comeback and hit Owens with countless maneuvers until. Owens hits his Pop-Up Powerbomb finisher on Cena for a two count.
Owens climbed to the top rope and Cena tried to stop him, but Owens knocked him off.
Cena hits his Attitude Adjustment on Owens, but Owens kicked out.
Owens went to do the Five Knuckle Shuffle, one of Cena’s signature moves, but Cena tripped him and locked him in the STF submission hold. Owens managed to fight out of it and hit Cena with an Attitude Adjustment, another one of Cena’s maneuvers, but Cena kicked out at two.
Cena hits a tornado DDT on Owens for a near fall. Both men fought out of each other’s finishing maneuvers butOwens hits a big slam on Cena for a two count.
Cena jumped off the middle rope and hits the Springboard Stunner for a two count.
Cena hit Owens with a big clothesline. When they got to their feet, Owens hit Cena with his pop up powerbomb out of nowhere for the win.
Owens said after the match that he is the man who started a fight with John Cena, but he is also the man who finished that fight. He said Cena’s time is up and his time is now, because “the champ is here.”
This was a great match. Cena represents the corporate image of what a WWE Superstar should be, while Owens represents what the hardcore fans want in a WWE Superstar. They were the perfect foil for each other, and the fact that Owens managed to beat John Cena in his first match shows that WWE has confidence in his abilities. No one has beaten John Cena fairly in a Pay-Per-View match since Summerslam 2014, so for someone to do that in their debut match for the main roster is huge. I am excited to see the next chapter in the Kevin Owens story.
Bo Dallas came out next for his match, followed by his opponent Neville.
Neville flipped across the ring and knocked Dallas down with a kick. Dallas tried rolling out to the floor while Neville was on the top rope, so Neville hit a moonsault onto Dallas on the floor.
Neville continued his assault on Dallas as Dallas dropped to his knees and begged Neville to stop. Neville continued to beat Dallas down.
Dallas started to gain some offense, but soon Neville regained his dominance in the match.
Dallas went for the running Bo-Dog, but Neville countered. He knocked him down and hit the Red Arrow finisher off of the top rope for the win.
Dallas is another character that is universally hated by fans, so it was fun to watch Neville dominate him in a match. Neville has quickly won the adulation of the fans, and will continue to win them over as he goes toe to toe with wrestlers from all walks of life on the roster.
Backstage, Dean Ambrose taped up his wrists while talking to Roman Reigns. Triple H walked up and mentioned that he heard Reigns say he wants to be in Ambrose’s corner and informed Reigns that he doesn’t have the authority to insert himself into a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match.
Triple H said that if Reigns gets involved, Ambrose will be immediately disqualified. He wished Ambrose luck as he walked off.
Daniel Bryan sat at ringside with the Intercontinental Championship as the ring announcer began introductions for the Intercontinental Championship Elimination Chamber match.
Mark Henry came out as he is the replacement for Rusev in the Elimination Chamber match; he was followed by Sheamus, R-Truth and Ryback. King Barrett and Dolph Ziggler started the match in the ring.
Ziggler and Barrett rolled around on the mat until King Barrett began to control the action.
Barrett dominated Ziggler until the clock counted down, and R-Truth entered the match. As soon as Truth left his pod, Barrett immediately started to beat him down.
Truth began to fight back with a series of offense against Barrett as Ziggler laid outside of the ring.
Barrett started to make a comeback, but Ziggler rolled Barrett up out of nowhere for a two count. Barrett hit Ziggler with a boot to the face and tried to pin him, but Ziggler kicked out at two.
Barrett threw Ziggler through Mark Henry’s pod. Because Henry’s pod was smashed open, he entered the match and started to beat up Barrett.
The countdown clock reached zero, and Ryback was the next person to be let out. Ryback immediately attacked Henry. Ryback began to beat down everyone in sight as Sheamus watched on from his locked pod.
Henry beat down Barrett and Truth hits his finisher on him and pinned Barrett to eliminate him from the match.
Henry and Truth fought in one corner while Ryback and Ziggler went to the other.
The clock counted down to zero, but the referee was unable to unlock and open Sheamus’ door. The wrestlers in the ring tried to roll each other up for pins as the referees struggled to get Sheamus’ door open.
While this was happening, Ryback hit his shellshock finisher on R-Truth to eliminate him from the match.
Ryback began to assault Ziggler as the referees continued to try to open Sheamus’ pod in the background.
The camera focused on Sheamus as he picked the lock of his pod with his Celtic Cross. He entered the ring and began to attack the other wrestlers.
Henry went for a big slam on Sheamus and a pin, but Sheamus kicked out. Sheamus hits Henry with a Brogue Kick and pinned Henry to eliminate him from the match.
Sheamus began attacking Ziggler. Ziggler tried to hit some offense, but Sheamus easily maintained control.
Ryback got back into the ring, but walked into a kick from Ziggler. Ziggler hits a famouser on Sheamus but Sheamus hit the brogue kick seconds later on Ziggler to pin him and eliminate him from the match.
After some back and forth between the two remaining competitors, Ryback managed to hit Sheamus with his shellshocked finisher for the win and the Intercontinental Championship.
Ryback celebrated as Daniel Bryan made his way into the ring and presented Ryback with the championship.
The match was decent, however, the part where Sheamus was stuck in his pod was very confusing. I’m not sure if it was in the script or if they legitimately couldn’t get it open but they let it get to a point where it took away so much momentum from the match. I am also disappointed that Mark Henry was the replacement for Rusev in the match, with WWE trying to promote younger stars it makes no sense to have a 43-year-old man who rarely competes. They could have easily promoted the winner of Neville/Dallas as the replacement, or even brought up someone from NXT for another exciting debut.
The final match of the night began with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins and challenger Dean Ambrose making their way to the ring.
The match started slow, but Rollins landed a double foot stomp to the chest of Ambrose. Rollins began to beat down Ambrose and hit him with a neck breaker for a two count. Ambrose hit a series of chops and clotheslines, before hitting a sunset flip into a roll up for a two count.
Ambrose hit a suplex for a two count. J&J Security pulled Rollins out of the ring, but Ambrose dove out of the ring and sent Rollins over the announce table.
Rollins hit a superkick to the face of Ambrose in the ring for a two count. Rollins went to the top rope, but was knocked down by Ambrose. Ambrose hit a series of right hands and both men went down to the floor. Rollins powerbombed Ambrose into the barricade and threw him back into the ring for a two count.
Rollins he hit a flying knee off of the top rope to the face of Ambrose for a two count. Rollins hit a reverse DDT for another two count. Rollins hit a splash in the corner and started shout at Ambrose in the corner.
Ambrose hit a forearm shot and then a DDT for a two count. Rollins hit a drop kick, but Ambrose followed up with a clothesline for a two count.
Ambrose knocked Kane and J&J Security off the apron. He went to the top rope, but took out the three men at ringside instead of Rollins.
In the ring, Rollins pushed the referee in the way of Ambrose and Ambrose accidentally knocked down the referee. Rollins went for a dive, but Ambrose moved and hit his Dirty Deeds finisher, but there’s no referee. Another referee counted to three as the crowd cheered loudly and Ambrose was announced as the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Ambrose celebrated in the ring, but the two referees began to argue. It was decided that Ambrose won the match by disqualification since Rollins pulled the referee in front of Ambrose earlier. Since a championship can’t be won by disqualification, Rollins is still champion. The Authority jumped Ambrose, and Roman Reigns ran down to the ring and took out The Authority.
Ambrose said that he won this match, therefore he’s leaving with the WWE Championship as he and Reigns walked through the crowd to close the show.
- When Ambrose was announced as the winner I went insane. They announced him as champion and let him celebrate for what felt like five minutes, it was incredible to watch. When they took that away, I was legitimately upset. However, it reminded me of when Jericho won the WWE Championship from Triple H. Ambrose gained more tonight by pinning Rollins than he could’ve by winning the title.
- Kevin Owens beating Cena fairly was another jaw dropper. I have a friend that I go to wrestling shows with and I texted him right away and said that Owens beat Cena in the center of the ring. Not too long ago, Owens was performing in bingo halls 10 minutes from my house. Tonight, he beat the face of WWE.
- The promo they showed before Rollins and Ambrose’s match was so great. They should incorporate more video packages before the matches as they really add to the story.
Tomorrow I will be back to reviewing episodes of RAW, however, I also plan on giving a recap of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s podcast with Paul Heyman live on the WWE network immediately following RAW.
For those with the WWE Network, I highly recommend watching it. Even if you don’t have WWE Network, the month of June is free for new subscribers and it is an interview that is worth the subscription. Steve Austin is a great interviewer who isn’t afraid of asking the tough questions. While Chris Jericho’s podcasts last month were more about funny stories, Austin’s is in more of an interview format and the questions are hard hitting.