It’s Like the Grammys (but with more talent and better music) – Elimination Chamber 2017

Sorry, T-Swift, we’ve got Cena.

Elimination Chamber 2017, a Smackdown exclusive PPV, comes to us live from the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.  Yes, Talking Stick Resort is an Indian Casino, located on the Salt-River Pima Maricopa Indian Reservation near Scottsdale, and reservation information can be found here:  Talking Stick Resort.

We’ve got a pretty full card tonight, and I’ll be here all night updating as we go along.  So if you can’t watch live, give us a follow and refresh regularly.

The WWE Elimination Chamber 2017 Kick-Off Show

  • Renee and Booker T are joined by SXM Radio’s Sam Roberts and Carmella (strangely enough, as she’s the only female I can think of that is active on the Smackdown roster but not on this card).  Carmella leaves at the half way point, leaving for Skybox seats that James Ellsworth bought them for Valentine’s Day.
  • The renovated Elimination Chamber looms above the ring.  I’m a fan of the changes, as it is actually squared now.  It should fit the entire ringside area minus the few feet for the camera men to move around it.  Well done.
  • Becky Lynch joins Dasha in the Social Media Lounge (why is this a thing?) to answer the typical softball questions that are selected from Twitter.  #AskBecky
  • Mojo Rawley vs Curt Hawkins:  This match exists because Curt Hawkins taunted Gronk on Twitter, and Mojo is friends with Gronk, so naturally Mojo has to defend his honor, though Gronk isn’t in attendance or anything.  This match didn’t go as I expected.  I sort of assumed that Mojo was going to steamroll Hawkins in no time.  Wasn’t the case.  The match went pretty back and forth, oddly enough, but in the end Mojo with the running punch in the corner, then a tilt-a-whirl slam for the pinfall.
  • JBL tripped trying to Texas Two Step his way down the ramp.

WWE Elimination Chamber 2017

  • Becky Lynch vs Mickie James:  If their aim here was to make Mickie James look strong, they accomplished it.  She was the only one on offense for pretty much 95% of this match.  James spent the entire match assaulting the left arm of the Lass Kicker.  Becky didn’t really do a lot at all, but in the end she managed to pull off a roll-up for the win.  Becky Lynch wins.
  • Dolph Ziggler vs Apollo Crews:  This was supposed to be a handicapped match, but Dolph jumped Kalisto on his way out of the backstage area.  I can’t decide if it’s bad that the crowd was chanting “Thank you Ziggler” for his beat down of the little Luchador.  I’m digging what I can only assume are “Shout at the Devil” tribute pants for Ziggler this evening.  Kalisto hobbled his way towards the ring, causing enough of a distraction for Apollo to hit a a big enziguri, tagging in Kalisto who is suddenly moving just fine.  Apollo tags back in a lands the spinning Sit-Out Powerbomb.  Kalisto and Apollo Crews via pinfall.  Ziggler would be the winner ultimately, as he beats the hell out of both of them, using a chair to take out the ankle of Apollo after taking out Kalisto on the outside with the ring post.  The crowd was loving it, so I felt less guilty about it.  “One More Time” came into play.  I won’t lie, I very much enjoy the gratuitous violence when they use it to build characters.  He got another “Thank You Ziggler” for taking out Crews.

  • Congratulations to The Rock for earning the NAACP Image Award for Entertainer of the Year.  That’s a pretty big deal.
  • Tag Team Turmoil Match:
    • Rhyno and Slater kick off the match against Breezango.  Fandango eats the Gore and Breezango are eliminated.  I really wish they would find a way to utilize the talent that is Tyler Breeze.
    • The Vaudevillians are next.  Quickly, Slater lands the big DDT on Aiden English to eliminate the Vaudevillians.
    • The Usos will be next up for Beauty and the Man Beast.  Jay Uso with the Super Kick on Slater to eliminate Rhyno and Slater.
    • The Tag Team Champions, American Alpha, are on their way to the ring next.  The Usos aren’t waiting, they charge up the ramp to attack Jordan and Gable.  The action moves back to the ring and the Usos are in charge for a while.  Hot Tag to Jordan turned it all around, as it usually does.  Alpha would attempt what looked like it might be a Hyped Ryder, but Jay Uso would roll out of it to pin Jordan, only he wasn’t legal, so Gable rolled him up.  The Usos then beat the hell out of the champions and left them for dead for The Ascension.
    • Ascension take their sweet time walking out, but still lay waste to Jordan in the ring.  Gable musters the energy to break up the pin.  After taking significantly more beating from Ascension, Jordan hits a belly-to-belly  and then the hot tag to Gable.  Grand Amplitude and American Alpha retains much to the dismay of that long haired guy that’s in the front row for every PPV.
  •  Nikki Bella vs Natalya:  Nikki is at home here just outside of Scottsdale, and her trademark ring gear is orange and purple for the local Phoenix Suns (I’m assuming).  Jeremy didn’t think this match would ever actually occur, but the ring bell just got the contest underway.  If Bella’s neck is still bothering her, she isn’t showing it.  Diving clotheslines off the ring apron, taking a bump against the post, etc.  Natalya spent the majority of the match doing the You Can’t See Me taunt, it was obnoxious.  We get it.  I won’t dive back into how much I dislike this attempt to use her relationship to belittle her accomplishments as a performer on her own in the face of the oft touted “Women’s Revolution”, but I really don’t like it.  This match was 100% 50-50, but if you’ve ever questioned whether or not Nikki Bella is a good wrestler or just a leftover Diva, go back and watch this one, and watch her match with Charlotte at Hell in a Cell in 2015.  She gets better and better, so I hope that her neck is ok, because even if she had some help getting to the top, she’s working her ass off to make sure she can stay there.  Bella countered out of the Sharpshooter into the Fearless Lock (STF), which was a damn cool reversal.  They’d spill to the outside and get a double count out.  That’s a really damn disappointing finish to a very quality match.

  • Randy Orton vs Luke Harper:  Randy Orton enters to his own theme song when Bray does not accompany him, and as he made clear in the boiler room promo prior to this match, they’ll have to part ways to be successful, but they would reunite when it was all said and done.  Randy Orton appeared to just be playing with Luke Harper, several times climbing the ropes for his trademark pose.  This match was surprisingly slow paced for these two.  Harper being a bigger man he still tends to work at a faster pace than this match, but against my expectations, this match did not work to build Randy Orton up going into Wrestlemania.  It actually made Luke Harper look that much stronger than I already knew he was.  As I predicted, Discuss Clothesline into the RKO.  Randy Orton gets the win on the Road to Wrestlemania, but he did not really win this match.  Luke Harper best get the push from hell after that.
  • Natalya jumped Nikki Bella during a backstage interview.  They will fight forever.
  • Naomi vs Alexa Bliss for the Women’s Championship:  This match happened.  Nothing particularly special about it.  Bella-Natalya definitely set the bar for the women’s division this evening.  Naomi is the new Women’s Champion.  I thought I’d care more, maybe I’ll be feeling the glow more come Tuesday night.
  • Now it’s time for the main event:

  • Elimination Chamber Match
    • Corbin, Ambrose, Miz and Wyatt will start the match inside the pods, meaning Cena and Styles will kick the match off and be involved throughout.  I can’t say that I blame them for starting this one off with those two.  That match at Royal Rumble, holy crap.  That set the bar for the entire year.
    • For those of you keeping track, Jeremy and I are currently tied on our predictions at 4-4.
    • Ambrose is the first pod open, and he joins Styles and Cena in the match.
    • John Cena just hit a German suplex on both Ambrose and Styles at the same time.
    • This crowd has been great tonight, and as Bray Wyatt joins this match, the crowd singing “The Whole World In His Hands” just added to their already stellar night.
    • Now they’re really making use of the environment, climbing pods, using the plexiglass walls as weapons.
    • Baron Corbin is the fifth man to join this match.
    • Miz’s pod opens and Corbin lays in wait.  Dean Ambrose rolls up Corbin for the first elimination.
    • Corbin isn’t leaving.  He is mauling Ambrose.  Look for Ambrose to defend the Intercontinental Title against Corbin, you know, if the Intercontinental Title ever comes in to play at an event again.
    • The Miz pins Dean Ambrose for the second elimination.
    • John Cena eliminates The Miz with an AA and pinfall.
    • Cena, Styles and Wyatt remain.
    • Cena hits a 10 Knuckle Shuffle on both men, then an AA on Wyatt, but his attempt on Styles is reversed into a Styles Clash but only a 2 count.  Styles for a Phenomenal Forearm, dodged into an AA and a 2 count.  For once I think I could watch these two guys wrestle forever if they bring this every time.
    • Bray Wyatt reverses an AA into a Sister Abigail for the pinfall and elimination of Cena
    • Bray Wyatt vs AJ Styles
    • I think AJ Styles is legitimately hurt.  Cena went for a double cross body off the top of a pod and I think AJ caught him wrong, right in the ribs.
    • Phenomenal Forearm caught out of midair, reversed into Sister Abigail and Bray Wyatt is the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion

I’m going to give it a B on the entire night.  Big props to Nikki Bella and Natalya, that Elimination Chamber matchup was pretty great although the Corbin elimination was a little lackluster, but at least we will get an IC matchup out of it.  Mojo got some TV time, was something missing in the Tag Team match.  It was a good show, on the whole, and ran the whole 3 hours (plus preshow).

Thank you for joining me for Elimination Chamber 2017 and for indulging my slightly excessive Taylor Swift addiction.  Jeremy will be with you tomorrow evening for Raw and I will be back on the scene come Tuesday night for Smackdown Live.