WWE will make history again, as the new WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles will be awarded in the Elimination Chamber!
It’s only the second time tag team titles have been decided inside the confines of the dreaded Chamber. The first was one of the worst Chamber matches I’ve ever seen, at the 2015 show. I have a feeling this tag team Chamber match will be better, though maybe not by much. It’s also only the second one that features the women of WWE.
For the most part, I enjoy Elimination Chamber matches. It’s definitely the match type I use most when I play the WWE 2K games, because I enjoy matches that feature eliminations. It’s why I loved the early years of the Survivor Series so much. With each fall, the match changes a little bit, so you can get multiple styles in any given match, as long as it’s done right.
There’s always a catch.
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Akira Tozawa – The official WWE championship of the preshow kicks the festivities off once again tonight, and it’s another quality affair. Tozawa looked like he gave Murphy hell, and I thought for a hot minute that we were going to crown a new Cruiserweight champion, but Murphy pulls it out, getting his finisher off after an offensive onslaught from Tozawa, allowing him to retain. I am shocked to find myself enjoying these Buddy Murphy matches. Though, honestly, I would have preferred a Cruiserweight Chamber match. Oh well, maybe next year.
Elimination Chamber 2019
Coming to us live on the WWE Network from the Summit in Houston, Texas, it’s the penultimate show before we get to WrestleMania!
Since the Elimination Chamber was introduced in 2002, there have been only 22 Chamber matches – that’s amazing restraint for WWE. How many Hell In A Cell matches have we had since 1997? 40? We’ll get two more here tonight, including our opening contest.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber Match: Carmella and Naomi vs. Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan vs. Billie Kaye and Peyton Royce vs. Nia Jax and Tamina vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley – Of course Banks and Bayley start the match, along with Rose and Deville, and the announcers make the point of saying Banks isn’t at 100 percent. This will either be a showcase for two of the stalwarts of WWE’s women’s division over the last few years, or a set-up for another feud between Banks and Bayley. Jax and Tamina were booked as the monsters, destroying everyone after they entered the match last, but they still ended up getting eliminated by a combined effort by Banks, Bayley, Rose and Deville – the four women who started the match, leaving them to finish the match as well. Banks and Bayley do a great job of selling for Rose and Deville, getting rammed into the bars holding up the chamber pods, but the Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection make the comeback, with Banks locking in the Banks Statement with her leg instead of her arm to get the submission win.
Much better than I expected it to be, and a great way to open the show. The right team absolutely won, and now Bayley and Banks join the ranks of The Glamour Girls and the Jumping Bomb Angels as Women’s Tag Team Champs.
SmackDown! Live Tag Team Championship Match: Miz and Shane McMahon vs. The Usos – I really can’t believe that it’s 2019 and Shane McMahon is holding a WWE title. But his partnership with Miz works, and when you put them in the ring with guys who can work – like the Usos – you’re going to get a good match, even when it’s filled with high spots and craziness. Surprisingly, though, the Usos get the win with a crucifix reversal for the pin and the titles. I figured they would drag out this title reign out until at least FAST LANE to set up the inevitable Miz-Shane WrestleMania match. Miz doesn’t even turn on Shane here! I don’t even know what I’m watching any more.
Intercontinental Championship Handicap Match: Bobby Lashley (c) and Lio Rush vs. Finn Bálor – There’s something about Lashley with Lio Rush as his manager that really works for me in an old school heel sort of way. Though Lashley doesn’t have his headband to start the match, so I’m a little disoriented. Finn, again, does not come out as The Demon. Does he not care about winning? Thankfully, all he has to do to win the title is beat Lashley’s manager. And, maybe predictably, that’s what happens. Bálor singles Rush in the ring after knocking Lashley down outside and hits the top rope stomp for the win and the title. Lashley knocks Rush out in frustration after the match, which I hope doesn’t signal the end of their partnership.
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Ruby Riott – After Charlotte Flair cuts a heel promo on Becky Lynch – who was injured Saturday night at a live event and suspended for 60 days on Raw, taking her out of the WrestleMania match with Rousey – the champ comes out dressed like Sonya Blade from MORTAL KOMBAT. Gotta get those tie-ins to upcoming video games, you know. Rousey finishes Riott quickly enough and then Lynch hobbles down to the ringside area on crutches. Charlotte looks on with amusement, while Rousey looks on wondering what the hell is going on. And Becky beats the hell out of Charlotte with the crutch while Rousey shrugs and looks on. And then Rousey gets the crutch treatment.
The triple threat main event at WrestleMania is gonna be good.
No Disqualification Match: Baron Corbin vs. Braun Strowman – From the hottest angle in the company to two of the company’s lost souls. Strowman probably should have been Universal Champion 6 months ago. Instead, he’s fighting the former Raw Interim General Manager. I can’t possibly be bothered to give a damn about this match. Going more than a minute is too long. Drew McIntyre and Lashley show up to back up Corbin and assault Strowman with chairs. And then a needlessly long beat down happens. Corbin wins after a triple power bomb through 2 tables. Yawn.
WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match: Kofi Kingston vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton vs. A.J. Styles vs. Samoa Joe vs. Daniel Bryan (c) – Historically, the Elimination Chamber match for the brand that doesn’t get a WrestleMania main event set up at the Royal Rumble determines its challenger. But Bryan doesn’t have a Mania opponent, and yet is defending his title here. Brock Lesnar throws everything into disarray. Not only is Bryan defending, but he’s starting the match. And I honestly have no idea the direction they would go for the WWE Championship match. It probably won’t have anything to do with Samoa Joe, who started the match with Bryan and was then the first to be eliminated after a Phenomenal Forearm from Styles. What a waste of a great talent. Joe and Hardy got eliminated before Randy Orton made it into the match. I was thinking at the start of the match that maybe they would switch the title tonight, but then Orton eliminated AJ and Kofi fricking Kingston beat Orton so that the New Day’s utility guy faced off against the WWE Champion to finish off the match. I don’t care how much focus they give the former Jamaican, there’s no way I buy Kingston winning the WWE Championship. The crowd was into Kofi’s comebacks, though, so that’s something. Bryan eventually reverses a bulldog and tosses Kofi into one of the pods. The positioning of the camera and the red lighting on the ring made me think his head exploded with blood for a split second. That was almost gnarly. Kingston kicks out of a running knee, though, and the crowd again starts chanting for Kofi.
After several hot segments that led nowhere, Kingston misses a splash from the top of the pod and Bryan hits another running knee to get the win. A little anticlimactic, but I won’t lie – I thought for a hot minute WWE might be crazy enough to put the WWE Title on Kofi Kingston. Thankfully, Bryan brought me back to reality.
So, both Elimination Chamber matches were won by someone who started the match. That’s getting a little formulaic, no? New Day comes to the ring to console Kofi and the trio sit on the steps for a minute before they go up the ramp.
Overall, this was a pretty fun show. The only match I could have lived without was the Strowman-Corbin match. But if the alternative was an Elias segment or some other stupid thing, I’m fine with what we got here.
But who does Bryan face at WrestleMania? And will Becky Lynch officially be added to the Flair-Rousey match? Maybe we’ll get more answers when WWE presents FAST LANE in three weeks!