WWE sought to make history as twelve women entered ‘Satan’s Structure’ to become the first ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. Also, Daniel Bryan began his road to WrestleMania with a hellacious first step as he defends his WWE Title inside the Chamber as well. But was it a smooth road or a massive bump on the highway towards April?
Buddy Murphy (c) vs Akira Tozawa- WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match
Result: Buddy Murphy wins by pinfall – retains title
Thoughts: The story of this was pretty simple yet effective. Murphy beat Tozawa in strength and size so Tozawa had to rely on his speed and submission skills to break The Juggernaught of 205 Live down to his level. As expected; this was great. The Cruiserweights continue to be the most consistently under looked and under appreciated group of guys in the entire company and this was another showcase of such a statement. The catch from Murphy on Tozawa in the opening moments was incredible, the intricate and multiple submission attempts from Akira were hard-hitting and fantastically executed and it ensured the crowd were into it. The…insane top-rope gorilla press into attempted powerbomb into eventual hurricanrana from Tozawa was absolutely insane to see and it woke up the Houston crowd but it eventually was too much for the master of the headbutt. Murphy reversed an octopus stretch into Murphy’s Law and picked up the pin-fall victory. How this division continues to only be utilised on the kick-off is absolutely infuriating and is completely baffling. Additionally- don’t put an interview with New Day picture-in-picture DURING the match. You have an hour pre-show. I’d argue this is, potentially, Tozawa’s match in WWE and was up to the usual standard of Murphy’s matches. Seriously; go and watch this match. It’s must see.
Bayley and Sasha vs Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose vs Tamina and Nia Jax vs The Iiconics vs The Riott Squad- WWE Elimination Chamber for the Womans Tag Team Championships
Result: Sasha and Bayley win via submission- Inaugural Champions Crowned
Thoughts: I thought this was actually very…average up until the last sort of 5 minutes. The infuriating booking of Nia and Tamina just cleaning house over popular teams obviously is ‘good heel work’ but it felt more like Big Show and Kane at the end of the 2015 Royal Rumble; people just felt deflated and didn’t care. Naomi and Carmella were eliminated first which everyone expected; for obvious reasons. There were some really cool moments though; The Iiconic’s using high impact tag team manoeuvres and then hiding in the pod, Logan and Morgan doing a double cross body off the top of a pod, the hark back to last year with Sasha and Bayley and then winning overall. Yes- it’s predictable. Yes- I don’t think it was the right decision. But it’s impossible to deny the crowd reaction, emotion and those involved- it’s a great moment for Banks and Bayley. Interesting to see who they feud with going forward…
Miz and Shane McMahon (c) vs The Usos- Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship Match
Result: The Usos’ win via pinfall- New Champions Crowned
Thoughts: This was, weirdly, stupid fun. There isn’t THAT much to say about it as- it was a usual Shane McMahon match in 2018/19…where Shane just goes absolutely insane and batters all the proper wrestlers for some mental reason. He hit a coast-to-coast then immediately got up and went for another, only to be super-kicked square in the face. THEN. LIKE TWO MINUTES LATER. Hit a top-rope elbow through the announce table. I don’t understand anymore. The genuinely surprising result however is interesting; with The Usos’ winning- what’s next for Miz and Shane? It looks like we’re getting a Mania match between the two but we’ll need to watch Smackdown Live to see how we get there. Finally- huge congratulations to Miz and Maryse as they announce they’re expecting another baby!
Bobby Lashley (c) and Lio Rush vs Finn Balor- WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Result: Balor wins via pinfall- New Champion Crowned
Thoughts: This was just…fine but the result made it better. The fact that Finn Balor has only held a title on the main roster for a combined time of around 20 hours is absolutely baffling. He’s a guy that could really push the IC belt to the very top of the show; and deservedly so. The match was average at best- Lio Rush is great but the aftermath is confusing. Why split Lashley up with literally the only good thing about him? Baffling but still- the right result.
Ronda Rousey (c) vs Ruby Riott- WWE Raw Woman’s Championship Match
Result: Rousey retains in under 2 minutes
Thoughts: That was terrible. How does that help ANYONE?! We already knew Ronda is a dominating machine- she’s undefeated. She doesn’t need to squash an established star like Ruby Riott- she deserves so much better than that. Shocking.
Becky Lynch returns
Thoughts: Felt this deserved its own grade because good god- Becky Lynch is the best thing in the company. The complete ‘Fuck you’ to the establishment put above her, fighting against all odds and with the crowd going mental- this was an absolutely incredible moment. She, on one-leg, took out the two biggest women’s wrestlers in the company. Brilliant.
Baron Corbin vs Braun Strowman- No Disqualification Match
Result: Corbin wins via pinfall after McIntyre and Lashley help
Thoughts: It just felt like a RAW main event from the past few months. Nothing special. Nothing new. Then when Drew and Bobby came out- it literally was just a re-run of a segment we had previous weeks ago on RAW. Yeah the double table spot was at least something slightly interesting but the crowd didn’t even care. Dull and just…depressing as Drew should be in the main event.
Daniel Bryan (c) vs Kofi Kingston vs Randy Orton vs Jeff Hardy vs Samoa Joe vs Jeff Hardy- WWE Championship Match
Result: Bryan retains via submission
Thoughts: There are moments in wrestling that remind you why we all care so much about this business…this match was one of those moments. Kofi Kingston had the entire arena, the entire locker-room and the entire world wanting him to win that match. And he came so, so close. Desperately close. But alas, it wasn’t to be. I really, really hope they give him the title at Mania. It’s such a simple story; a guy who has been overlooked for 11 years finally proves himself to be at the top of the mountain with the entire fanbase behind him. The grade may be perceived to be too high as, until the final four, not a WHOLE lot happened- Joe being eliminated first is baffling- but the last 10-15 minutes were so incredible, it massively pushes it up. EVERYONE thought Kofi was going to win that. Everyone. And we all wanted it. But now- we have a full focus to push for. #KofiMania. In my opinion; that was in the top three Chambers ever and is absolutely must watch. Thank you Kofi. So much.
Overall Grade: That main event absolutely saved a, in my opinion, pretty poor show overall. An incredibly boring under-card with a shocking squash match with Ruby and Ronda, a very poor RAW re-run with Strowman and Corbin and an opening Chamber match that was just…fine. But the main was absolutely incredible and a must see match of the past few years.
Overall Grade: C