Courtesy of WWE Home Video, Matthew Roberts takes a look at the latest WWE release, Elimination Chamber 2020.
Even with the fast work that WWE Home Video does in getting events out on DVD and BluRay, Elimination Chamber 2020 seems like a lifetime ago.
Wrestling, in front of a crowd? That seems like a lifetime ago!
Of course Elimination Chamber was the final PPV stop on the road to WrestleMania. By the time we reached that day the route, and indeed the destination, had changed beyond comprehension. But all that aside, and ignoring what we know came to pass, is Elimination Chamber worth a re-visit?
A “gimmick” PPV thrives, to a large extent, on the gimmick matches. This year’s event had two Chamber matches. One for the Smackdown Tag Team titles, the other for the right to be named number one contender for the Women’s Title, presumably the Raw version (although you can never quite be sure at Mania time what the WWE might do).
The Tag Title match featured The Usos, Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler, Heavy Machinery, Lucha House Party and the New Day challenging champions Miz & Morrison.
This was one of those matches that started well, got a little slow in the middle and then picked up at the end. The Usos and the New Day started things off which got the crowd going before the Lucha House Party came in and hit some impressive double teaming moves.
The champions were in next and got a modicum of control before Heavy Machinery came in and started taking control with their power moves. Of course Otis in particular was really waiting for a chance to get hold of Dolph Ziggler and as soon as the final pod was ready to be opened he and Tucker were there trying to force it open.
The crowd were really behind Otis but it didn’t do him all that much good as a missed spear saw him crash through the pod and to the floor, in perhaps the only “unique” memorable moment of the match. In the end the Champions retained. This was a fun enough match and certainly had the effort put in from all concerned.
It perhaps lacked much that was memorable, beyond the usual flinging about, but you couldn’t’ say it wasn’t entertaining.
The Women’s Chamber match main evented, which was fair enough for the most part. The only real issue going in was that it was a little too obvious that this was set up for a Shayna Baszler win. Even knowing the WWE, it seemed utterly implausible that Ruby Riott, Natalya, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan or even Asuka could win.
Indeed, Becky Vs Baszler was the only outcome for ‘Mania that made any sense. Ruby and Natalya started things off before being joined by Sarah Logan.
Under normal circumstances we’d have enjoyed some sort of pay-off to the Riott Squad storyline but it wasn’t to be.
Shayna was next in and cleared house.
All in about 90 seconds or so. Liv Morgan was next in and got destroyed in rapid order too. That just left Asuka. Who naturally fared a bit better but eventually went down all the same. I couldn’t say that this was a great match, but it was a good one. That it sacrificed everyone in the match for Baszler, only for her not to take the next step at Mania, is neither here nor there. As a match, on the night, it was perfectly fine.
The undercard had it’s ups and downs.
The opener of the main show between Daniel Bryan and Drew Gulak was a great match. It helped that it was so different from anything else on the card (and indeed much else that the WWE offers up). Perhaps it was a little too “stiff” for comfort in places, with some of the bumps Bryan took on his neck being particularly uncomfortable, but overall it was very good indeed.
Andrade and Humberto Carrillo was another entertaining bout that delivered where it mattered and again was appreciably different to anything else we saw on the night.
What was great looking on paper, Aleister Black and AJ Styles in a No DQ Match, turned out to be, well, not that great. It wasn’t bad, because it would take something else for anything between these two to be “bad” but it took a long time (over 20 minutes) to get to an Undertaker run-in that cost Styles the match. If they’d jettisoned a third of the match in the middle it would have been a lot better all round.
The Raw Tag Team titles match between The Street Profits and Seth Rollins & Murphy was a little better but hurt by the fact that it existed, ultimately, more to advance the Rollins / Kevin Owens feud than it did to push the Profits as serious champions.
The Intercontinental Title match pitted Braun Strowman against Cesaro, Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn in a three-on-one match. The only real talking point was that for once in a WWE match, the team with a numerical advantage won a Handicap match.
Whatever the external circumstances, it’s strange to think that Strowman went from this to defeating Goldberg at Mania.
Although no-one will ever claim that Elimination Chamber 2020 was an all-time classic, it was still a very entertaining show and when it was good it was very good.
And, to be fair, it never sunk to the depths of being unwatchable. It did a good job of offering up some good in-ring action and furthering a few storylines on the way to WrestleMania.
Extras include the Kickoff match between The Viking Raiders and Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder, two contract signings from WWE TV and the Moment of Bliss segment that involved the nWo.
Nothing is vital, but most add fun context to the release.
Format Reviewed: DVD
Photographs courtesy of Fetch and WWE
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