Marking a year since as WWE pay-per-view had a physical crowd in attendance, Elimination Chamber 2021 took its usual place on the Road to WrestleMania. Courtesy of WWE Home Video Matthew Roberts takes a look at it on DVD.
As ever, a gimmick PPV lives or dies to a large extent on its gimmick matches. This year there were two Elimination Chamber matches (with none involving the women). The Smackdown Chamber was for a shot at Roman Reign’s Universal Championship on the very same night; The Raw Chamber was for Drew McIntyre’s WWE Championship.
Elimination Chamber 2021
The Smackdown match opened the show proper as Cesaro, Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, Jay Uso, King Corbin and Sami Zayn battled for the right to get a shot at Reigns.
Cesaro and Bryan opened things up and treated the fans to some good old fashioned wrestling in the early going before King Corbin became the next man to enter. Corbin used his advantage as the freshman to dominate this period before Sami Zayn became the fourth entrant.
Well, he actually tried to stay in his pod by holding the door shut but that wasn’t a tactic that lasted for long as Cesaro dragged him out of there. Corbin had gone (courtesy of tapping out to the Sharpshooter from Cesaro) by the time Kevin Owens was the penultimate entrant. This time Zayn tried to convince KO to work with him but Owens was having none of it.
Uso became the last man in and the closing stretch of the match was very good indeed. It came down to Bryan and Uso and after Bryan brought up his knees to block a Jay diving splash all it took was a running knee shot for Bryan to get the win.
Of course, Reigns being Reigns he decided that Bryan would get his title shot straight away. They teased that Bryan had a chance of a win but Reigns powered out of the Yes Lock, smashed Bryan into unconsciousness and then locked in the Guillotine for the win by referee stoppage. After the match, Edge ran in, speared Reigns and then pointed to the Mania sign to make the choice of title shot he had earned by winning the Royal Rumble.
A very good Chamber match followed by a good angle to set up Reigns’ match at Mania. Well at least at that time!
The Raw Chamber match ended the show as Sheamus, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston and Jeff Hardy joined in the action as Drew McIntyre defended his WWE Championship.
Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton started off the match with a few nice throwbacks to their previous feud before the Champion himself was in at no. 3. It was all very evenly matched up to Kofi Kingston becoming the fourth entrant and in a shocker, he took the fight straight to Orton and eliminated him after a quick roll-up. Orton was livid so dished out some RKO’s and then AJ Styles entered the match early as Omos ripped open his pod from the outside. If his aim was to capitalise on Orton’s anger it failed as no one else was eliminated before Sheamus was the last man to enter.
The match came down to McIntyre and Styles and in the end, it was the incoming champion Drew who retained. But his night was not over. Lashley ran out and attacked McIntyre, which was the set up for The Miz to run to the ring, cash in his MitB contract and, after a DDT and Skull Crushing Finale Miz was holding the Gold.
Both Chamber matches did what they had to do and were the expected good efforts from all concerned. I just about preferred the Smackdown one, but both delivered.
The undercard only consisted of two other matches on the main show. Bobby Lashley defended his US Title in a Triple Threat match against Matt Riddle and John Morrison (who had won a match on the pre-show to replace the injured Keith Lee) in what was a good, entertaining sprint. It was a three-way so that Lashley could lose the US title without being pinned. It wouldn’t be long before we worked out why.
The other match saw Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler defended their Women’s Tag Team Titles against Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair, doing the traditional “can two babyfaces with a title match upcoming at Mania co-exist” storyline (see, for example, John Cena and Shawn Michaels).
They also added Reginald in what may be a throwback to Debra almost running the Austin/Rock WrestleMania 17 angle. Or maybe not.
The match was fine, nothing more.
When the two main matches on the card delivered to the extent they did you cannot really complain about this show. The two Elimination Chamber matches were action-packed and also moved storylines along the Road to WrestleMania (including the post-match angles). The two proper undercard matches were fine and filled useful gaps.
The DVD adds the kickoff match that pitted Mustafa Ali, Elias, Ricochet and John Morrison against each other for the right to be added to the US Title match on the main card.
8 out of 10.
Photographs courtesy of Fetch and WWE. Thank you to WWE Home Video for our review copy of Elimination Chamber which is out Monday 12 April on DVD. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk by clicking here.