I didn’t waste an hour of my life to watch the pre show, but for the record: Viking Raiders beat Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins in about 5 minutes in the epitome of a pre show match, and Zelina Vega and later The Usos cut promos.
Daniel Bryan defeated Drew Gulak
Good good match, very technical as you can imagine and hard hitting. Gulak was in his hometown, but Bryan was much more liked by the crowd still. Gulak stood equal to the mutli-time former world champion Bryan the whole match pretty much, which was cool. They both did a lot of suplexes in this match, but the one that stood out was a release German form Gulak that made Bryan land very hard and very rough on his neck, it was really tough to watch. Daniel Bryan just got back in the ring before he was counted out, he then hit a big clothesline and then his patterned kicks in the corner. Drew Gulak came back with a suplex off the top into a dragon sleeper, but Bryan got out of this, hit a few elbows the the face of Gulak as he locked in the Yes Lock… with the ref eventually calling for the bell. This was a very non-WWE match and was like watching something from Zack Sabre Jr in New Japan, but it was really fun and they got about 15 minutes and opened the PPV, which was cool. Bryan showed his respect for Gulak after, pointing to him so the fans would give him applause. This was a good match. I hope Daniel Bryan gets to do… something… at WrestleMania…
Kayla Braxton interviewed Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode. Ziggler said he was dedicating his match tonight to Mandy Rose. As they were talking the tv behind them did the glitch thing that’s been appearing on SmackDown in recent weeks…
Andrade (C) with Zelina Vega defeated Humberto Carrillo to retain the United States Championship
Another fine match, just the sort you’d expect from these two. Andrade hit a running double knees for a two count, before Zelina lifted the mats up on the outside of the ring. Andrade tried to ddt Carrillo but was countered into a back body drop. For the finish they traded roll-ups of different forms and nearfalls, the end coming when Andrade held the tights for the win. Fun match and the crowd, who were bored early, got into it towards the conclusion.
AJ Styles was interviewed backstage. He admitted Gallows and Anderson would be with him for the match. He said it wouldn’t be a fair fight, but it’s never a fair fight when someone has to fight him.
The Miz & John Morrison (C) defeated The Usos, The New Day, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode, Heavy Machinery & Lucha House Party in an Elimination Chamber Match to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Usos and New Day started. Lucha House Party came out 2nd. Miz and Morrison after that. Heavy Machinery came out next and the crowd loved them. They ran wild and Otis did his big caterpillar spot, they were by far the most over of the teams with the crowd. With the other teams all below there was an amazing spot where Lince Dorado of the Lucha House Party climbed up the chamber, and whilst hanging from the inside of the roof he hit a shooting star press onto everyone below in the ring. The crowd popped hard for this and justifiably so. Right after this Heavy Machinery hit their finisher on Gran Metalik and the Luchas were gone. Roode and Ziggler came out last after winning the gauntlet on SmackDown. Ziggler avoided Otis by climbing onto a pod, but tucker went after him before pushing Otis into the arms of Otis below (who then dropped Dolph over the ropes). Tucker then hit a senton dive off the pod onto the New Day and Usos below, which given Tucker’s size was a great-looking spot. Roode and Ziggler then tried to double team Otis, but he fought them off. Then Otis went to charge at Dolph but he moved, and Otis went crashing through the pod and fell to the outside of the ring. They played this as a big spot, but I’e no doubt Otis IRL is very safe. Tucker looked on worried, but then fired up on Roode and Dolph, but eventually Ziggler hit him with a superkick and Robert Roode hit the Glorious DDT and Heavy Machinery were out. The crowd were not happy. Not long after New Day knocked them both down, and then both of the Usos hit big splashes off the opposing ring posts and pinned both Roode and Ziggler to get them out. After Usos and New Day teamed up on the champions, Kingston missed a dive off the top of a pod, and Miz and Morrison both covered him. New Day were out. Surprisingly Jimmy Uso kicked out of a Skull Crushing Finale, after in a cool spot; Miz had him in a figure four as Morrison hit Starship Pain. Jey broke up the pin in time and they hit superkicks to John Morrison for a 2 count nearfall. Then after a bizarre sequence Miz and Morrison both pinned Jey Uso at the same time whilst Miz had his feet on the ropes. The champions retain. This was a fun match but some of the booking was bizzare. The big story of the match is clearly the one between Roode/Ziggler and Heavy Machinery, so I’d have thought the heels win the tag belts to then drop them to Otis and Tucker at Mania… but we shall see… the booking at sometimes abrupt eliminations took this match down a little for me.
Both Shayna and Asuka were shown warming up backstage.
Natalya did a backstage interview. They spoke more about Beth Phoenix and the Edge/Orton story than the main event.
Aleister Black defeated AJ Styles with Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson in a No Disqualifications Match
I felt a little sorry for AJ and Black here, because they are two of the very best and this was a fine match, but the whole match start to finish almost, the crowd wanted and were chanting for one thing… and whilst waiting they didn’t care too much for the action going on at times. BUT they got what they wanted at the end, so they were happy. After some regular stuff it was AJ who hit Black with a kendo stick, Black later set up a table but Styles hit him with a few chair shots, and Black came back with some hard hitting strikes. Styles got the Calf crusher, and creatively Black got the kendo stick and smashed it into his face to break the hold, with Black using the kendo more after until Styles hit a Pele kick. He then got a nearfall after a mini-Phenomenal forearm, and another after a brainbuster. They each exchanged more nearfalls, before Styles set up for a Tombstone and even did the Undertaker throat slit, but black got out of it and kicked Styles colliding into a steel chair that had been set up in the corner. After, with both men on the outside Styles sent Black over the announce table having targeted Black’s leg all match. Styles had black on the announce table and looked to suplex him through the regular table that had been set up nearby to them, but Aleister Black kicked his leg out, and after came flying down with a double knees to Styles that sent him through the table. This was a really great spot. With Styles down in the ring Black finally set up for the Black Mass, before Gallows and Anderson jumped in. Black fought them all off at first, but the 3v1 odds became too much and they battered him. Gallows & Anderson hit a Magic Killer, and lifted up Black as AJ went to the outside to hit the Phenomenal Forearm… and then… GONG… crowd go ape shit, lights go out… GONG… lights come back, Undertaker is in the ring with his hands around Gallows and Anderson’s throats, Styles came flying in but taker caught him too and hit a Chokeslam. Lights went again and Taker dissapeared. Black then hit the Black Mass and AJ took a brilliant bump and made it look like his head was nearly took off. Crowd loved the finish that they were really waiting all match for. Bizzare to me how in a No DQ match that Gallows and Anderson waited 20 odd minutes to finally interfere, but whatever…
Street Profits (C) defeated Seth Rollins & Murphy With AOP to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship
The match was perfectly fine, but not amazing. These two teams are both really good and mesh well together. AOP tried to get involved but the Viking Raiders came out and took them out of play. After the match went on another few minutes, it was kind of just there in terms of how into it the crowd were, but they soon woke up when Kevin Owens appeared. Owens casually strolled tot he ring through the crowd eating popcorn. Rollins looked furious as Owens chucked popcorn in his face, just after Angelo Dawkins came flying in and took Rollins out with a big shoulder tackle, and as this was happening over on the other side of the ring we had Montez Ford powerbombing Murphy to the barricade. They got back into the ring and Dawkins got Murphy with a spinebuster than let Ford come off the top with a big splash for the win. Crowd were very happy that the champions had retained. After as Rollins was bemoaning to Murphy who was on the outside, Kevin Owens came in the ring and hit Rollins with a Stunner. Owens then got his popcorn and walked to the back without a care in the world. Fun stuff.
Sami Zayn won the Intercontinental Championship in a 3 on 1 handicap match with Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro against Braun Strowman (C)
Zayn did a promo backstage before they came out. Zayn started the match but immediately tagged in Nakamura. Braun no sold Nakamura’s moves (sigh…) and went back at him, but was too focused on Zayn and this let Nakamura lead the heels to take control. Strowman would get the odd comeback here and there, but was cut off everytime. Shinsuke hit him with a Kinshasa into the ring post. Cesaro then joined Nakamura as they held Braun up as Zayn hit a Helluva Kick as they suplexed him. Zayn then got the pin to win the title. Amazingly this was Zayn’s first main roster title win and is many years overdue! Cesaro and Nakamura held Zayn up high as they left…
Shayna Baszler won an Elimination Chamber Match to earn a Raw Women’s Championship Match against Becky Lynch at WrestleMania … (there were also five other women in the match…) …
Ruby Riott and Natalya started. Sarah Logan came out after. Shayna came in and immediately tapped out Logan with the Kirifuda Clutch. She then did the same to Ruby within 30 seconds after that. Another minute or so later and Natalya was out the same way. Baszler stood waiting in the ring until the next victim came out. It was Liv Morgan. Shayna absolutely ragdolled her into the cage and then into a pod which looked horrible, she then put the clutch in and Morgan passed out. As she did this Shayna starred at Asuka who was still in her pod. Asuka came in and missed a kick but did get a hip attack in, and a few kicks to Baszler’s chest. Shayna came back with kicks of her own, but Asuka hit a roundhouse kick and got the Asuka lock in… only for Baszler to roll to the outside and slam Asuke into the chamber wall. She then went after Asuka’s injured wrist which allowed her to get out of another Asuka Lock. Baszler then hit a big knee and then got the Clutch in and Asuka tapped out. Crowd booed, Shayna makes history with the first ‘clean sweep’ in Elimination Chamber history. Becky Lynch was showing watching on a monitor during and after the match.
Now… yes it makes Shayna look as strong as she needs to going into WrestleMania, but it was a very… questionable… way to end a PPV. And it BURIES the rest of the Raw women’s division. I know there’s been rumours to the contrary going about recently, but surely Shayna is beating Becky???
This was definitely a b-level PPV, but it wasn’t a bad show by any means. Aspects of it were in fact pretty good. There were some questionable booking throughout, but what you gonna do? This was an ok show, not unmissable but not bad at all. But THANK GOD we can all just look to WrestleMania now.