Monday, February 22, 2021

WWE Elimination Chamber 2021

By Steve Ward

Despite the remainder of Florida essentially being completely open, WWE continues to utilize their virtual Thunderdome at Tropicana Field in what I’ve again rebranded the WWE Dystopian Era. Perhaps a blessing in disguise will be that the WWE will need to locate a new home following MLB Spring Training as the Rays will be taking over the facility - perhaps they have secured an outdoor venue where they will allow limited attendance since they are already believed to be allowing fans to attend Wrestlemania. On another significant note, this evening would also mark the final WWE pay per view on the WWE Network for those residing in North America as all of the WWE library and future pay per views will be exclusively streamed on Peacock beginning in March following a multi-billion dollar deal that was agreed upon recently. Nonetheless, we continue on the Road to Wrestlemania with the first to last pay per view stop in the form of Elimination Chamber. This event should solidify the world title picture for The Showcase of the Immortals, Wrestlemania, as both world championships were on the line among the five scheduled bouts on the card - including two elimination chamber contests.

Smackdown Elimination Chamber Match
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. King Corbin vs. Jey Uso vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro
Winner: Daniel Bryan

The opening contest of the main card delivered the first chamber match of the evening and would determine Roman Reigns opponent for his Universal Championship later in the show. The bout commenced with arguably the two most talented combatants, Daniel Bryan and Cesaro. After trading some vicious blows for several minutes, the men were finally joined by King Corbin who was the first to be released from his pod. Corbin managed to gain the upper hand on the two competitors using his size advantage to manhandle Bryan and Cesaro until the fourth Superstar entered the fray in the form of Sami Zayn. The first elimination of the match was delivered by Cesaro as he cinched in the Sharpshooter on King Corbin to secure the submission. Just after Corbin’s departure from the match Kevin Owens entered the fray and introduced Sami Zayn’s skull to the chamber door before delivering his patented cannonball to each of the three men in the chamber.

With Owens in control of the contest, the final competitor, Roman Reigns’ cousin Jey Uso, entered the match. Owens continued to dominate the bout as he delivered a moonsault from the top of one of the pods that left the other four competitors in a pile of visceral carnage. Owens then delivered a slew of Stunners including one to Zayn who he subsequently pinned. As Zayn left the chamber, Uso achieved the upper hand on Owens from behind and immediately capitalized with a Frog Splash for another quick elimination. As Cesaro seemed poised to attain his second submission elimination of the evening as he cinched Bryan in the Sharpshooter, he was unceremoniously greeted with a super kick to the jaw from Jey Uso who immediately scaled the turnbuckles to deliver another Frog Splash to solidify the pinfall. Uso quickly attempted another Frog Splash, this time from the top of one of the pods, to Daniel Bryan, however, he was met with a pair of knees to the stomach. Daniel Bryan promptly delivered the running knee to punch his ticket into the Universal Championship Match with Roman Reigns.

Universal Championship Match
Daniel Bryan vs. Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman
Winner: Roman Reigns via submission

A bruised and battered Daniel Bryan had no opportunity to recover as the chamber immediately ascended to the rafters and Roman Reigns music echoed through the Thunderdome marking the beginning of the Universal Championship Match. Roman attempted to spear Bryan at the opening bell, however, Bryan sidestepped him and cinched in the Yes Lock. Bryan just didn’t have enough left in the tank to maintain the hold as Reigns broke out and pummeled him unmercifully before he finally choked him out for the submission victory. As Reigns celebrated in the ring, Edge emerged to deliver a spear to the champion and proclaimed that he would be challenging him for his title at Wrestlemania.

United States Championship Triple Threat Match
Bobby Lashley (c) w/ MVP vs. Matt Riddle vs. John Morrison
Winner: Matt Riddle via pinfall

Keith Lee was originally supposed to be a participant in this match, however, he suffered an injury on Monday Night RAW and needed to be replaced. John Morrison fought his way in as he emerged victorious over Ricochet, Mustafa Ali, and Elias in a Fatal Four Way bout on the Kickoff Show. Bobby Lashley absolutely dominated this entire contest and was seemingly poised to earn a submission victory as he had John Morrison trapped in the Hurt Lock until Riddle procured MVP’s crutch and shattered it over Lashley’s back before tossing him from the ring. This opened the door for Riddle to take advantage of Morrison as he executed the Bro Derek allowing him to earn the pinfall crowning a new champion.

Women’s Tag Team Championship
Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (c) vs. Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks
Winners: Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax via pinfall

Following the events of Friday Night Smackdown, Belair found herself teaming up with one of her potential Wrestlemania opponents with the women’s tag team gold on the line. In another “exhilarating” Sasha Banks match, the conclusion came shortly after Reginald made his way to ringside with a bottle of celebratory champagne. Reginald passed the bottle to Sasha with the intention of her using it on Nia Jax. As Sasha lashed out at Reginald for such a suggestion, Jax seized the opportunity to hoist Banks up in the Samoan Drop to retain the tag team titles.

RAW Elimination Chamber WWE Championship Match
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. A.J. Styles w/ Omos vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton
Winner: Drew McIntyre

Unlike the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match, the stakes were even greater for this one as Drew McIntyre was one of the participants with his WWE Championship on the line. One last minute change occurred for the lineup in this match as The Miz removed himself on Monday night and was subsequently replaced by Kofi Kingston. 

The first two men pitted against each other were ring veterans Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy. Jeff Hardy surprisingly brought the fight to the Viper and controlled much of the opening of the match until the champion, Drew McIntyre, entered the fray and immediately asserted himself. Kingston entered the match next and quickly trapped Orton in a surprise pinfall. Before departing the chamber, Orton delivered a pair of RKOs to Kingston and Hardy. Seeing a window of opportunity, Styles directed the towering Omos to rip the outer wall of his pod off so that he could prematurely enter the match with hopes of stealing a pinfall on one of the incapacitated participants. Unfortunately for Styles, his plan did not go as he intended and WWE officials removed his muscle, Omos, from ringside. The defending champ then proceeded to reestablish his dominance as he laid waste to all of the other participants. With bodies scattered around McIntyre, Sheamus made his way into the match as the final entrant released from his pod. 

Shortly thereafter, Kingston seemed to be in prime position for at least one elimination as he took out the other four competitors with a dive from the top of one of the pods until his head was blasted with a Brogue Kick from Sheamus for the elimination. Jeff Hardy was the next victim of the match as he was met with a Claymore Kick from McIntyre who was able to easily pin him leaving us with three participants. The next elimination arrived after Sheamus leveled McIntyre with a Brogue Kick only to be surprised with a Phenomenal Forearm that lead to his swift exit from the match. Styles then attempted another Phenomenal Forearm on the champion but this time found himself on the receiving end of a Claymore Kick which allowed McIntyre to retain his title.

After the chamber was lifted from the ring, Drew McIntyre was ambushed by Bobby Lashley who cleaned the arena up with him in a vicious assault. With an apparent deal in place between The Miz and The Hurt Business, Miz promptly made his way to ringside with his Money In The Bank briefcase in tow.

WWE Championship Match
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. The Miz
Winner: The Miz via pinfall

As soon as the bell rang, The Miz pounced on the champion and immediately delivered a DDT followed by a failed pinfall attempt. With his hopes of winning the title appearing to be in dire straits, The Miz unrelentingly followed up with a Skullcrushing Finale to shock the WWE Universe and walk out of the pay per view as the newly crowned WWE Champion!

WWE Elimination Chamber Results 2/21/2021

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Monday, February 1, 2021

WWE Royal Rumble 2021

Despite relocating the Thunderdome from Orlando’s Amway Center to the significantly larger Tropicana Field, despite the state of Florida exhibiting some of the lowest COVID infection rates in the country, despite AEW continuing to host fans for the past several months, and despite several NHL and NFL teams welcoming back fans, the WWE continues to utilize the dystopian setting of virtual fans. All ranting aside, the 34th annual Royal Rumble and official beginning of the Road to Wrestlemania emanated from the aforementioned Thunderdome at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida. This evening’s card featured five matches including the men’s and women’s Royal Rumble matches with the respective winners securing championship opportunities at Wrestlemania.

WWE Championship
Goldberg vs. Drew McIntyre (c)
Winner: Drew McIntyre via pinfall
This match came to fruition several weeks ago when Monday Night RAW hosted Legends Night. After McIntyre defeated Keith Lee in the main event of the evening, Goldberg confronted the champion in the ring and told him the one thing he didn’t have was the respect of the other wrestlers as he proceeded to challenge him for his coveted belt. In my opinion, this was WWE’s answer to the recent AEW signing of the legendary Sting - but I digress. This contest started with a bang as McIntyre speared Goldberg propelling him from the ring. Goldberg quickly turned the tables first Irish-whipping him into the steel ring stairs and then delivering his own spear putting the champ through the ringside barrier. Goldberg withstood the first Claymore Kick from McIntyre and answered with a pair of spears followed by his patented Jackhammer. This was not enough as McIntyre kicked out of Goldberg’s pinfall attempt. McIntyre then dodged a subsequent spear attempt by Goldberg and answered with another Claymore kick to secure the pinfall and retain his title.

Smackdown Women’s Championship
Carmella w/ Reginald vs. Sasha Banks (c)
Winner: Sasha Banks via submission
The most entertaining part of this match occurred when Sasha Banks delivered a hurricanrana to Reginald that subsequently lead to his ejection from ringside by the referee. The merciful conclusion of this bout arrived when Banks withstood a kick to the jaw by Carmella and answered with the Bank Statement for the submission victory.

Women’s Royal Rumble Match
Winner: Bianca Belair
Bayley and Naomi found themselves as the unlucky recipients of numbers one and two. While the two women made solid 30+ minute showings for themselves, neither made it to the final four. This match was rather short on surpises with only three in the form of Jillian Hall, Victoria, and Torrie Wilson while the field was supplemented with NXT stars to compliment those from RAW and Smackdown. The final four contestants were Bianca Belair, Natalya, Rhea Ripley, and Charlotte Flair. As Natalya taunted Ripley instead of finishing off the elimination, Belair dumped Neidhart over the top rope. Flair was then muscled over the top rope by Ripley and subsequently knocked off the ring apron by Belair and Ripley. This left Belair and Ripley as the final two combatants. Belair then punched her ticket to Wrestlemania as she clotheslined Ripley over the top rope.

Here is the complete list of the entrants:

1 Bayley
2 Naomi
3 Bianca Belair
4 Billie Kay
5 Shotzi Blackheart
6 Shayna Baszler
7 Toni Storm
8 Jillian Hall
9 Ruby Riott
10 Victoria
11 Peyton Royce
12 Santana Garrett
13 Liv Morgan
14 Rhea Ripley
15 Charlotte Flair
16 Dana Brooke
17 Torrie Wilson
18 Lacey Evans
19 Mickie James
20 Nikki Cross
21 Alicia Fox
22 Mandy Rose
23 Dakota Kai
24 Carmella
25 Tamina
26 Lana
27 Alexa Bliss
28 Ember Moon
29 Nia Jax
30 Nataly

WWE Universal Championship Last Man Standing Match
Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Kevin Owens
Winner: Roman Reigns
The next chapter in the ongoing rivalry between Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens was written this evening as the two men stood toe to toe again with championship gold on the line under Last Man Standing rules. For those in need of a refresher, this means that the winner would be decided after beating his opponent to the point where he would be unable to answer the referee’s 10-count. Roman Reigns faced a close call late in the match when he was handcuffed to a portion of the entrance scaffolding that left him in a seated position unable to get his feet beneath him. As the referee reached the count of nine, Reigns grabbed him by the collar and launched him headfirst into another part of the scaffolding knocking him out in the process. Owens then sought to capitalize on the situation but was met with a shot between the pipes. Paul Heyman then came to the rescue with a handcuff key and as Roman was freed, he proceeded to put Owens in a guillotine choke leaving him lifeless as the referee completed his 10 count.

Men’s Royal Rumble Match
Winner: Edge 
After suffering a torn triceps in a match with Orton that put him out of action for seven months, Edge found himself face to face with the Viper as they drew numbers one and two to start the match. The two combatants broke out into a brutal confrontation that eventually saw Edge seemingly take Orton out of the match after he laid waste to his knee with a steel chair. Unlike the women’s match, the men’s featured some great surprises including Kane, Christian, Carlito, and The Hurricane, as well as, the return of Seth Rollins from paternity leave. The closing moments of the match was a vicious flurry of action. First, Braun Strowman and Christian were knocked off the ring apron and eliminated by Seth Rollins. Edge then quickly avenged Christian as he tossed Rollins over the top rope. At this moment Orton returned from the trainer’s table and stunned Edge with an RKO Outta Nowhere but Edge reversed his attempt to throw him out and launched the Viper from the ring to punch his ticket to the main event at Wrestlemania!!! 

Here is the complete list of entrants:

1 Edge
2 Randy Orton
3 Sami Zayn
4 Mustafa Ali
5 Jeff Hardy
6 Dolph Ziggler
7 Shinsuke Nakamura
8 Carlito
9 Xavier Woods
10 Big E
11 John Morrison
12 Ricochet
13 Elias
14 Damian Priest
15 The Miz
16 Matt Riddle
17 Daniel Bryan
18 Kane
19 King Corbin
20 Otis
21 Dominik Mysterio
22 Bobby Lashley
23 The Hurricane
24 Christian
25 AJ Styles
26 Rey Mysterio
27 Sheamus
28 Cesaro
29 Seth Rollins
30 Braun Strowman

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