Last night fans witnessed the final PPV stop on the road to Wrestlemania, the Elimination Chamber.
As one of the most exciting and important events of the year, all eyes were on the stars of RAW and Smackdown as talent looked to gain key momentum ahead of the biggest wrestling event of the year. WWE booked an interesting card for the 2020 Elimination Chamber PPV involving some dream matches that had potential to go down as highlights, but did these bouts live up to expectations?
Who walked out with Mania matches secured? And did any results leave a bitter taste in the mouths of fans (Super Showdown and Goldberg I’m looking at you)? Let’s take a look back at last nights show-stopping PPV.
Daniel Bryan vs Drew Gulak
I don’t know about you, but I personally believe matches like Daniel Bryan vs Drew Gulak are a must for every PPV. We don’t need to see every match attached to a huge over the top storyline or intense character work, sometimes we just need two fantastic wrestlers given the time to compete in a simple classic wrestling match and that’s exactly what we got here. Gulak and Bryan are two incredible, technically smart wrestlers and while Drew has gone underrated for quite some time there are many who believe this was a dream match sure to be something special.
Now, Bryan did score the win which came as no surprise here, but this was the biggest match of Gulak’s career so far and what we saw was a breakout performance and a star being born. Gulak truly did deserve to have this spotlight and it has given hope to many of the stars of 205 Live moving forward. This was an intense and physical match in a different way to many of the others on the card and gave fans something different on the night overall. A great opening contest and it was brilliant to see more of Gulak on a big stage.
Andrade vs Humberto Carrillo
Grade – B
There may be doorknobs with more personality than Humberto Carrillo, but there can be no denying the talent he possesses in the ring. Last night, Humberto received another shot at the United States Championship when he took on his long time rival in Andrade. Considering the history and the story that been told between these two superstars, there was a lot to look forward to in terms of in-ring action and the backstory really helped.
Like we have seen during his bouts with Angel Garza, Humberto worked a match where there was a clear and simple story being told throughout what was a physical match up. The champion looked to teach his challenger a lesson, but the knowledge of each other’s move sets meant Carrillo had more of an edge here and worked as a legitimate threat to the title. It was interesting to see whether Humberto had truly learned something in recent weeks and If he could capitalise on his momentum, but after a tough effort the challenger failed to get the big win yet again. Keeping the title on Andrade was the best booking decision heading into Wrestlemania but it was great to see what was arguably one of Humberto’s best singles performances to date. A nice fast-paced bout that highlighted the best of both stars’ talents.
Smackdown Tag Team Title Elimination Chamber Match: The Miz & John Morrison, The New Day, Lucha House Party, Heavy Machinery, The Usos & Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode
Is it fair for the newly crowned tag team champs to have their first title defence inside the Elimination Chamber? Well, that is exactly what The Miz and John Morrison had to face last night. A tag team Elimination Chamber match was sure to be chaotic and entertaining as we have seen in the past and with so many varying teams this was most certainly one to watch. We saw things done in this match we haven’t seen before and once you look past the crazy botches that left us wondering if certain superstars would make it out alive, what we had here was one of the best and most exciting Chamber matches we have ever seen.
The Usos and the New Day starting the match was an excellent booking decision. The history between the two teams meant fans were hooked from the get-go and there was an immediate interest. We did have a few messy moments during the first five to 10 minutes, but nothing can take away just how good this bout was.
Every team had their place in the Chamber including Lucha House Party, who while being the obvious picks to be eliminated first proved to be an important and needed team, providing something completely different to everyone else and keeping the action so incredibly fast-paced, intense and entertaining. The storytelling between Heavy Machinery and Ziggler and Roode was a key focus point which again added a great element to the contest and Otis’ big spot falling out of the cage was just epic! The final teams of The Usos, New Day and Miz & Morrison made great sense and worked amazingly well.
It was genuinely difficult to predict who would walk out the victor when it came down to the last three as the action continued to be so thrilling and entertaining. Eventually coming down to The Usos and Miz and Morrison we saw some great wrestling go down between two very different teams in every aspect. There were so many close moments but, in the end, the sneaky tactics of the champs meant Miz and Morrison defeated the odds and keep their titles.
No Disqualification Match: AJ Styles vs Aleister Black
Grade – A-
Aleister Black vs AJ Styles screams match of the year potential and after the disappointing booking on RAW, last week fans anticipated to see what would go down between these two stars at Elimination Chamber and whether or not the WWE would get things right this time around. Now, this match didn’t need the No DQ stipulation but following what we saw previously it made sense, to say the least.
Anderson and Gallows being at ringside massively worked in the favour of Styles early on in this match allowing the Phenomenal One to gain momentum during those early stages. It was also Styles to first introduce an object to this match, the weapon of choice being a Kendo stick. Now, it did take some time for Black to really get going in this bout and the action was slower-paced than some may have expected but this was a very physical collision that made for a dream match. The big question, however, was whether now was the right time for this to take place.
This match was most certainly shaping up to be something incredible, but those final moments didn’t surprise me at all. From Anderson and Gallows attacking Aleister to the Undertaker’s awesome appearance to Black’s biggest win to date; this was a no-brainer booking wise and any other direction would have been pretty damaging for Black. Everything done here was smart and very well thought out.
RAW Tag Team Titles: Buddy Murphy & Seth Rollins vs The Street Profits
Grade – C+
After their huge victory this past week on RAW claiming the Tag Team championships, the Street Profits had their first title defence at the Elimination Chamber against the two men they dethroned only days prior. This was a great tag team match! We got to see what was arguably the best performance/match from the Street Profits to date and seeing them retain the championships was a great moment.
We can expect to see their reign truly kick start from this point onwards. After what should go down as a breakout performance for the former NXT stars the two sure have some great months ahead of themselves. Dawkins and Ford brought a great deal of character to the match up and Montez in particular really did have his athleticism on full display. Kevin Owens and The Viking Raiders involvement here was a nice touch and I loved that they didn’t play a huge role that overshadowed or assisted The Street Profits in a win too heavily.
Intercontinental Title: Braun Strowman vs Sami Zayn, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura
Grade – D
So, this was an interesting one. With the odds stacked firmly against Braun Strowman, walking out of the Elimination Chamber PPV still the Intercontinental Champion was not going to be easy! Taking on Cesaro, Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura this match would either showcase the power of Strowman or see him defeated by numbers. The match itself again did provide something different to the evening but on a night where the competition was so high, this did fade into the background in terms of the actual action.
Braun struggled to get any offense in – especially in the early stages – and it was Zayn who brought so much character and entertainment to this match up. Speaking of Zayn, there was a title change here and it was the former NXT Champion who walked out with the IC title on his shoulders – a decision I personally really liked! While it would have been amazing to see more of Braun as champion and it’s disappointing to see him in a difficult position during Mania season, Zayn as champion is a smart move. He is a deserving champ and his win sets a possible huge must see Wrestlemania bout.
Women’s Elimination Chamber Match: Ruby Riott vs Liv Morgan vs Sarah Logan vs Asuka vs Natalya vs Shayna Baszler
Grade – B-
Off the bat, I do believe a big opportunity was missed from the get-go in this match not starting with two members of the Riott Squad but lets focus on the positives! This was an aggressive start to the contest. Riott and Nattie were just nasty here and the aggression from Natalya while giving off heel character energy fitted well with the Elimination Chamber theme and the two women really did use their surroundings to their advantage.
It was a nice touch to see Ruby work a lot of the opening of this bout opposite the pods of Logan and Liv. It was great to see even more of Sarah Logan who continues to go massively underrated but of course, her time in the Chamber was pretty short when Shayna Baszler joined the action. In less than 60 seconds the former NXT Women’s champion took out both Logan and Ruby, a decision that made Shayna look incredible both as a performer and a heel but was massively disappointing and frustrating to not see more of the Riott Squad in action. We saw a huge opportunity missed but I’m sure we will see more from these three women in the near future.
There can be no denying this match was made for Shayna Baszler. The moment her pod opened, Baszler took control and worked the most dominant Elimination Chamber match performances of all time. Her ruthlessness, the cold-hearted nature of her actions, the intensity and the sheer brutality was unlike anything else we have seen inside the Chamber. The former NXT star made the it her home and the character work we saw here was just fantastic.
Not only did we see an incredibly dominant and historic performance from the Queen of Spades but the way she worked the crowd, took Liv out in front of Asuka, the brutal attack on Natalya and the general character work was simply incredible. Waiting for Asuka and Baszler to come to blows was exactly what the WWE Universe anticipated. As two of NXT’s finest and two of the best champions in recent memory, it was a dream encounter everyone was excited for and the crowd were hooked from the moment the pair shared the ring. Of course it was Baszler who walked out the victor.
This may have been one of the most predictable (and possibly pointless) Chamber Matches of all time but the performance from Shayna was on a completely different level and her win was most certainly well deserved.
I think its safe to say that the 2020 Elimination Chamber match was far better than many were expecting! Each match added something different to the evening and while we saw a couple of missed opportunities, this was an incredibly entertaining PPV that has set up some must see encounters for Wrestlemania in four weeks’ time.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @TezangiVictoria. Thanks for reading!