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Bell2Bell – WWE Elimination Chamber 2017 – Recap and Review

WWE ELIMINATION CHAMBER 2/12/17

I guess I should learn not to judge a book by it’s cover…or a PPV by it’s card because this event was surprisingly very, very good. My predictions were way off. Probably my worst set of predictions yet, but hey, the show was really entertaining and there was really only one stinker of a match on the card. So let’s get to Elimination Chamber 2017 or as I like to call it: “How many times can we point at that stupid Wrestlemania sign in one freakin’ night”.

Becky Lynch VS Mickie James

This was a pretty competitive match right out of the gate. Some good back and forth between the two with Mickie trying her best to work over Becky’s arm. This was old school wrestling with a slower methodical pace to start, but things did pick up towards the end with some great counters. Surprisingly Becky Lynch was able to get the pin here with a reversal roll up.

I thought for sure Mickie would win this one just so she didn’t look like such a loser upon her return, but it’s good for Becky to get a good solid win under her belt and ultimately it is a the veteran’s job to put over younger talent. Because of the finish to the match I’m sure this feud is far from over and will probably stretch into Wrestlemania.

Winner: Becky Lynch

Dolph Ziggler VS Apollo Crews and Kalisto

And here we have our stinker match of the night. This was just… ugh. I hated this match on paper and it was pretty much as bad as I expected. Ziggler attacked Kalisto during his entrance and threw him into the set, effectively removing him from the match (temporarily as it would turn out). This essentially turned the match into a one on one affair for it’s about 10-minute match-time.

Ziggler and Crews had a slow…. SLOOOOOWWWWWW match with a lot of rest holds and not much else. Ziggler dominated the majority of the match with Crews getting in minimal offense. Just when it looked like Crews was going to lose, Kalisto miraculously returned to get the tag into the match. Kalisto got in minimal offense before getting a blind tag from Crews. Crews hit his power bomb finisher to pin Ziggler for the win.

After the match, Ziggler beat the men down with a chair then he placed Crews’ ankle into the chair and stomped on it twice. But even this can’t save face for Ziggler considering he still lost when it counted which is his MO apparently. And the other two babyfaces look weak because they couldn’t beat him without help and, in fact, were getting their butts kicked most of the time.  No one benefits and it’s never a good sign when the crowd is chanting “Thank you, Ziggler” as he beats the two faces with a chair.

Winners: Apollo Crews and Kalisto

Tag Team Turmoil Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships

Even though this match was thrown together fairly quickly, this was a pretty entertaining match with some excellent spots and some drama built in for good measure.

The match started with Rhyno and Heath Slater against Breezango. These two teams went at it for a bit with some solid wrestling before Rhyno was able to hit Fandango with a “Gore”. This brought out The Vaudevillians who got in a little more offense than I thought, but still couldn’t win to save their lives. Slater was able to get the pin after hitting his “Impaler DDT”.

The Usos were out next and had a great showing here with some high flying moves and their patented super kicks. By this point Slater and Rhyno had already wrestled two matches and the Usos proved to be too much for them at this point.  The Usos were able to pin Slater to eliminated Slater and Rhyno.

American Alpha hit the ring like a tornado after Slater and Rhyno were eliminated bringing that hyped up energy they’re known for. These two teams went back and forth for a bit with some fast action and the match really picked up here. Suplex, suplex, suplex, from the two men to the Usos and they were able to get the quick upset pin for the victory elimination.

After they were eliminated, the Usos beat the ever living hell out of American Alpha. Pretty much destroyed them and served them up to The Ascension who were coming out next. The Ascension, coming off their victory on Smackdown, continued the beat down on American Alpha and I thought for sure we might see a title change here.

Just when it seemed as if Ascension was going to come in and pick up the scraps for an easy win, Gable made the dramatic save and the match continued. The remainder of the match was great and made Alpha look like fighting champions as they courageously refused to stay down. Sadly, though, this does make the Ascension (a team with the potential to be a dominant force) look weak as they couldn’t put away a team that had been completely destroyed just a few minutes earlier.

But, American Alpha was able to fight through the pain and overcome the odds to retain their belts. They came out of this looking like a million bucks. The crowd was behind them and this match was fast, furious and action packed. It exceeded my (admittedly) low expectations and was damn entertaining.

Winners and STILL Smackdown Tag Team Champions: American Alpha

Nikki Bella VS Natalya

This match could have been better, but it also could have been a lot worse. These two women deserve some credit for going out there and having a decent match. Sadly, the crowd was pretty dead for this one and all the blame for that falls on the pathetically boring and high schoolish storyline that has plagued this feud.

Nikki showed off some solid wrestling moves at the start of the match which was slower paced than I would have liked. But it did pick up towards the end with some outside ringwork and some good spots. Both women were beyond competent with solid holds and some nice counters. Nikki’s STF (I don’t care if she calls it the “Fearless Lock”, it’s an STF) is 150 times better than John Cena’s forearm face hug. Nikki actually looked like she was choking the hell out of Natalya.

The finish to this match was sad on two accounts. One, it was a countout finish to a decently competitive match which is disappointing in and of itself. Two, the countout finish means this feud is going to continue and that’s pretty much the last thing I want to see with every fiber of my smarky body.

On the plus side the commentators only mentioned “Total Divas” three times during the match…

No Winner: Double Countout

After the match, Nikki attempted to give a backstage interview but was attacked by Natalya. They brawled backstage eventually bumping into Maryse who was standing nearby, snedin her flying and covering her in powder and makeup from a nearby table. This appears to be setting up that rumored Cena/Nikki VS Miz/Maryse match…

Randy Orton VS Luke Harper

If not for the stellar main event, this would have been match of the night. This was one hell of a great match and an excellent showing for Luke Harper who has “future main eventer” written all over his bearded face. The guy is a phenomenal athlete for a big man that shows tremendous agility and strength. I believe I’ve said this before but he reminds me very much of a young Kane.

This match was hard hitting and exciting. Really solid in ring work from both men. Some excellent story building within the match made this one to watch. We saw some solid counters, some convincing near falls and a massive top rope super-plex. Harper looked excellent here showing off his skills in a fantastic display. Launching himself over the top rope in a suicida dive was a highlight and his superkicks are HBK level accurate.

Sadly, despite his excellent work here, this was not Luke Harper’s night. I thought there might be a decent chance that Harper might steal a win, but Orton needs to be booked strong heading into his title match at Wrestlemania and I understand that. I just don’t want Harper to be forgotten and left behind as Orton and Bray move into their own program… but more on that later.

Winner: Randy Orton

Naomi VS Alexa Bliss (c) for the Smackdown Women’s Championship

This was a pretty good match with a surprise finish that I don’t think many people saw coming. Slow to start and steadily building throughout it’s match time, this match was good, but not as good as I think it could have been. These women are great athletes and it showed during the match, but something was irking me throughout and I just thought it had the opportunity to be more of a standout match for both women.

I have no specific complaints about the match except to say the pacing seemed to ebb and flow throughout the match as opposed to building to any type crescendo. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me. There were a few interesting spots in the match including some top rope dives and a brutal spot where Bliss attempted “Twisted Bliss” only to land on Naomi’s knees. Ouch.

Shockingly, Naomi was able to hit her split-legged moonsault for the pinfall and won the Smackdown Women’s Championship. This was bittersweet for me. I was enjoying Bliss’ championship run and I didn’t think it would end tonight. On the other hand, Naomi is a great in-ring worker who has come a long way from her Funkadactyls roots. She deserves it (and the crowd chanted as much after her win) and I’m interested to see where she goes from here.

Winner and NEW Smackdown Women’s Champion: Naomi

James Ellsworth has officially overstayed his welcome. He’s gone from comical curiosity to obnoxious distraction. Throughout the night they would keep cutting to Ellsworth and Carmella watching the event from a skybox where Smackdown correspondant Dasha would interview Carmella about the matches. Whatever Carmella said, Ellsworth would just repeat it. This “joke” happened multiple times throughout the night and it was unfunny and distracting each time. I’m over Ellsworth and this storyline with Carmella.

Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship

This match blew me away with how good it was. I mean I think most of us expected a huge gimmick match like this to be match of the night, but it was really very good. Action packed from start to finish with great spots from brutal landings and a great rollercoaster ride of eliminations.

AJ Styles was the MVP here taking some insane bumps throughout the match. He and John Cena began the match with Miz, Wyatt, Corbin and Ambrose in their respective pods. Ambrose joined the fray as the first man out of the pods and came out like a bat out of hell. He had a great spot leaping from the top of one of the pods down onto Cena. Cena himself, along with Styles, climbed the chain wall and then was knocked off to the platform below.

Bray and Corbin entered next and Corbin was a monster here. He destroyed everyone taking a page from Brock Lesnar’s book, hitting people with multiple finishers. When it came time for Miz to enter the match, Corbin became distracted, waiting for him to enter. This allowed Ambrose to roll him up for the 3 count giving us our first elimination. Corbin then went ballistic on Ambrose, throwing him through one of the pods and hitting him with an end of days before leaving the pod.

I need to point out that this is the third time in one PPV that a heel has gotten pinned and then beat down his opponent after losing. First Ziggler, then the Usos, and now Corbin. Come on, WWE. A little variety would be nice. But this does set up the an Ambrose/Corbin feud for the IC title. After the beatdown, Miz snuck into the match and pinned the beat down Ambrose for an easy pin, eliminating him.

Miz had a couple of big moves and channeled Daniel Bryan with some kicks to the chests of both Cena and Wyatt. Miz was eventually eliminated with an AA from Cena (further setting up that rumored ‘Mania tag match). This left Cena, AJ and Bray in the match. Styles and Wyatt double teamed Cena for a bit before turning on one another. Cena then fought back and eventually hit a massive body splash from the top of one of the chamber pods.

Bray Wyatt was eventually able to hit Cena with a “Sister Abigail” (after he had already received a “Styles Clash” and several other big moves) and pin him for the 3 count, eliminating Cena and guaranteeing a new champion!

Styles and Bray went back and forth a bit at this point. The crowd was electric, excited to see a new champion and these guys had a great little mini match at the tail end of this massive bout. But Bray Wyatt, was able to catch Styles, mid- “Phenomenal Elbow” and hit him with “Sister Abigail” to win the WWE Championship.

After drifting in an obscure role in WWE for the better part of two years, despite an amazing character, solid ring work, and great mic skills, it’s fantastic to see him finally get the accolade he deserves. Congrats to him for finally seeing his hard work pay off. While I don’t really want Randy Orton anywhere near the title picture, I’m still going to enjoy seeing Bray’s run and I hope he holds on to the title well past Wrestlemania.

Winner and NEW WWE Champion: Bray Wyatt

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