By Jason Powell
WWE Elimination Chamber 2017
Aired live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Phoenix, Arizona at Talking Stick Resort Arena
An Elimination Chamber match video package opened the show… Pyro shot off on the stage… The broadcast team was Mauro Ranallo, JBL, David Otunga, and Tom Phillips. Ranallo welcomed viewers to the show and a shot aired of the new Elimination Chamber hanging above the ring…
Powell’s POV: Welcome to live coverage of the show. If you missed the Kickoff Show, the only match was Mojo Rawley pinning Curt Hawkins.
1. Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James. Footage aired of the La Luchadora unmasking of James. The women did a collar and elbow tie up and took it to ringside. A short time later, Lynch caught James with a kick that knocked her to the floor. Lynch followed up with a flying forearm off the apron. Lynch rolled Mickie back inside the ring, then James kicked and DDT’d Lynch. James worked the arm of Lynch.
At 9:40, Lynch caught James with a missile dropkick for a two count. James avoided a pump-handle slam and connected with a Mick Kick. James pulled Lynch from under the ropes and covered her for two. James called for an apparent DDT, but Lynch backdropped her. Lynch went for her finishing hold, but James rolled her up. Lynch rolled her over and got the win. JBL called it the biggest win of Lynch’s career…
Becky Lynch beat Mickie James in 11:40.
Powell’s POV: A decent match that never won over the crowd. They cheered for Lynch, but James just didn’t seem to get much of a response as the heel. Perhaps that’s because this match played third banana to the other two women’s matches during the buildup.
In the luxury box, Dasha Fuentes asked Carmella and Ellsworth about the match. Carmella said the wrong woman won. “What she said,” Ellsworth responded…
Apollo Crews made his entrance. Kalisto was out next, but Dolph Ziggler attacked Kalisto from behidn and ran him into the video screen on the stage…
2. Apollo Crews and Kalisto vs. Dolph Ziggler in a handicap match. Kalisto was being tended to on the stage as the match got underway. Ziggler performed an early neckbreaker. Mauro called it by the “Rude Awakening” name that Rick Rude used back in the day. Ziggler controlled the majority of the first five minutes of the match.
At 5:10, Crews caught Ziggler with a kick to the knee. Ziggler came right back with another neckbreaker. Ranallo called it a swinging neckbreaker this time rather than a Rude Awakening. At 5:40, Kalisto headed to ringside while selling his back. A referee was trying to stop him. Crews caught Ziggler with an enziguiri, then tagged in Kalisto.
Kalisto performed a handstand into the ropes and caught Ziggler with a kick to the head. Crews made a blind tag. Kalisto caught Ziggler with a kick, then Crews performed his sit-out powerbomb finisher and got the win…
Apollo Crews and Kalisto defeated Dolph Ziggler in a handicap match in 7:20.
After the match, Ziggler tripped up Kalisto, who took a hard bump on the apron. Ziggler caught Crews with a kick and put the boots to him. Fans chanted yes. Ziggler put Crews’s leg inside a chair and ended up stomping on it. Fans cheered. Ziggler performed a second stomp before leaving the ring to a mix of boos and cheers. A loud “thank you, Ziggler” chant broke out before they quickly cut to a video package for WWE Fastlane…
Powell’s POV: Could Kalisto and Crews look any worse? You can’t blame the fans a bit for siding with the heel who was working against two babyfaces in a handicap match and then beat up both men afterward. This looked really odd on paper and I’m still not sure what they were hoping for from a creative standpoint.
A shot aired of Dean Ambrose getting himself pumped up backstage… The broadcast team congratulated The Rock for winning the NAACP Image Award for Entertainer of the Year… Ring introductions for the tag team turmoil match took place…
3. American Alpha vs. The Usos vs. Tyler Breeze and Fandango vs. The Vaudevillains vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. The Ascension in a turmoil match for the Smackdown Tag Titles. The first two teams were Slater & Rhyno and Breeze & Fandango. Fandango actually wrestled with citations in his belt. He waited for a spot and then smiled and made it rain with citations. Ugh. At 4:20, Slater tagged in Rhyno. Fandango didn’t see and rolled up Slater. Rhyno waited until Fandango stood up and then Gored him and pinned him. Breeze and Fandango were eliminated at 4:30.
The Vaudevillains were the next entrants. They attacked Rhyno on the floor. Slater dove off the top rope onto them and landed hard. Later, Rhyno took out Simon Gotch with a Gore, then Slater DDT’d and pinned Aiden English. The Vaudevillains were eliminated in 6:45.
The Usos were the next entrants. Jey caught Slater with a nice popup Samoan drop at 9:20 and had him pinned, but Rhyno broke it up. One of the Usos dumped Rhyno to the floor. Slater tried to roll up that Uso, but the other tagged in and caught him with a superkick and pinned him. Slater and Rhyno were eliminated at 9:45.
American Alpha were the next entrants. JBL hyped that this was the match that people have been waiting to see. Yeah, no kidding. The Usos isolated Chad Gable and made quick tags while taking turns working him over. Gable ended up reaching for his corner while Jordan fanned repeatedly while trying to tag his partner. It looked fine until the camera pulled back and showed that Jordan could have reached out further than he did. Jordan took the hot tag. He performed a dropkick on one Uso and ended up suplexing both. Gable made a blind tag and ended up rolling up one of the Usos for the win. The Usos were eliminated in 15:20.
The Usos worked over Alpha after being eliminated. They dumped Gable to the floor and ran him into the ring steps. They rolled Jordan inside the ring and finished off the beatdown with a top rope splash.
The Ascension came out and hit the Fall of Man on Jordan, but Gable recovered and broke up the pin. JBL said this is what Alpha get for challenging the locker room. Otunga said that’s not true and pointed the blame on the Usos attacking Alpha illegally. Viktor caught Jordan with a high knee. Jordan finally made the tag to Gable. Konner pulled Gable off the apron, but Gable quickly ditched him and returned to the ring to join Jordan in hitting their finisher on Viktor for the win…
American Alpha won the Tag Team Turmoil match in 21:10 to retain the Smackdown Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: The match was fine and ate up plenty of time. The match was laid out nicely in terms of the Usos doing the damage to make the Ascension feel like threats to win the tag titles. However, one win on Smackdown wasn’t enough to make anyone view the Ascension differently. This would have been much more effective if the roles were reversed and the Usos had been the final team, but that also would have made the Usos look weak in that they would have failed to put away an injured Alpha. In other words, they can make the Ascension look weak in this case because they probably don’t have any plans for them, whereas the Usos are the team that leaves with a small level of heat.
A WrestleMania video aired. We’re 49 days away… Miz was backstage in a makeup chair making a mean face. Maryse showed up and shooed away the makeup woman, then gave Miz a kiss… A Nikki Bella vs. Natalya video package aired…
4. Nikki Bella vs. Natalya. Nikki received the big pop when she was introduced as being from Scottsdale, Arizona. Natalya mocked Nikki by giving her the “You can’t see me” hand gesture and then slapped her. Nikki came back and applied a cross arm breaker. The broadcast team played up the idea that Nikki wanted to outwrestle Natalya in this match.
Natalya caught Nikki with a kick, took her down, and threw punches. Otunga said that if Natalya is such a great wrestler then she should wrestle instead of punching and kicking. At 2:45, Nikki caught Natalya with a clothesline off the apron while Otunga gushed over Nikki by saying how underrated she is. Natalya called for a timeout on the floor as Nikki approached her. Natalya shoved Nikki back first into the ring post, then mocked the crowd with the “you can’t see me” hand gesture.
Natalya worked over Nikki and taunted both her and the crowd. Nikki rolled her up for a two count. Natalya grabbed her by the hair and slammed her face first toward the mat. Natalya applied a leg lock on Nikki. They showed Nikki’s mom and her brother JJ sitting in the crowd. JJ’s smirk didn’t exactly sell concern for his sister. Nikki came back with a dropkick and a nice move where she slammed Natalya’s head into her leg. Natalya cut her off and performed a Michinoku Driver.
At 10:00, Nikki performed an enziguiri from the middle rope for a two count. Natalya cut off Nikki on the ropes and superplexed her from the middle rope. Natalya applied the Sharpshooter at 11:40. Nikki nearly reached the ropes, but Natalya dragged her back to the middle of the ring. Nikki powered out and countered into the Yes Lock, which Ranallo called the Fearless Lock. Natalya reached the ropes to break it.
They went to ringside and fought. Nikki got the better of the exchange and raced back toward the ring at the nine count, but Natalya stopped her and both women were counted out. Fans booed. Afterward, Natalya punched Nikki and tried to leave, but Nikki recovered and tackled her on the ramp and punched her…
Nikki Bella fought Natalya to a double count-out in 13:40.
Powell’s POV: A strong effort from both women. You could tell they were out to make it memorable. And while I don’t think they necessarily succeeded in doing so, you have to appreciate the hard work. I’m fine with the cheap finish. Smackdown has a lot of television time to fill before WrestleMania. So while it’s possible this feud goes to Mania, it’s also possible they plan to continue it on television over the next few weeks before going to whatever the WrestleMania plan is for Nikki.
In the luxury box, Carmella said both women have major issues and it was out of control. Ellsworth agreed…
A Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton video aired. Bray welcomed fans to the era of Wyatts. Orton delivered the “run” line… A video package set up the Orton vs. Luke Harper match…
5. Randy Orton vs. Luke Harper. Orton received a big pop during his entrance. Harper didn’t get much of a reaction, but he did have a wood themed wall so there’s that. They fought to ringside early. Harper worked over Orton and rolled him back inside the ring. Orton caught a charging Orton with an elbow, but then Harper dropkicked him.
Harper went up top, but Orton caught him with a punch and Harper sold it by falling to ringside. Orton struck his pose on the ropes and the fans cheered. The broadcast team noted that Bray Wyatt was not at ringside because he was preparing for the Elimination Chamber match. Orton sent Harper to ringside and followed. Orton dropped Harper on the broadcast table. Orton rolled Harper back inside the ring and covered him for two.
Orton applied the chinlock of doom. Harper got to his feet. Orton picked him up in suplex position and dropped him on the top rope. Orton went back to the ropes and posed again. Orton reapplied the chinlock of doom. Harper came back with a forearm and then performed what Ranallo called a senton atomico before connecting with a big boot to the face.
Orton dumped Harper to the floor. Orton tried to perform the hanging DDT, but Harper blocked it. Harper caught Orton between the ropes and catapulted him into the second rope. Harper looked to the crowd and didn’t get much of a response. A group of fans chanted for him and he looked toward them and nodded.
Harper sent Orton to ringside and set up for a suicide dive, but Orton caught him with a punch to stop it. Harper hit the suicide dive moments later and then picked up Orton and slammed him onto the broadcast table to return the favor from earlier. Orton came back with an awkward slam. Orton came up holding his elbow, as it appeared Harper landed on his arm.
Back inside the ring, they fought for position on the ropes. Orton performed a superplex from the top rope. A short time later, Orton performed a Full Nelson slam for a two count. Orton’s arm seemed fine. Orton caught Harper on the ropes and then mocked his “yeah, yeah, yeah” before performing the hanging DDT.
Orton looked to the crowd and received more cheers than boos. Orton struck the Viper’s Pose, but when he stood up for the RKO, Harper blasted him with a super kick. Harper followed up with a superkick for a near fall.
At 15:30, Harper performed a sit-out powerbomb for a really good near fall. Some fans chanted “this is awesome.” JBL said Harper was proving something with the world by standing toe to toe with one of the all-time greats. Both men got to their knees and traded punches. The fans cheered Harper’s punches and booed Orton’s punches. They got to their feet and continued to trade blows. Harper went for a discus clothesline, but Orton blocked it and hit the RKO for the win…
Randy Orton defeated Luke Harper in 17:15.
Powell’s POV: The best match of the night thus far. The crowd went from being apathetic about Harper to start and by the end there were plenty of fans cheering for him. JBL played it up as a breakout moment for Harper. I want to believe him, but JBL always sings the praises of Harper and nothing seems to happen. This time appears to be different because this was such a competitive match. The key now is how they follow up with Harper.
A WWE Network commercial aired and focussed heavily on WrestleMania… A shot aired of AJ Styles putting his gloves on backstage. There was a loud cheer from the adult males…
Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Nikki Bella, who said things are far from over with Natalya. She started to say that Natalya claims to be an amazing wrestler. Natalya attacked Nikki from behind. During the brawl, Nikki was shoved into Maryse, who was standing by, and it caused a bunch of powder she was holding to go flying. Referees pulled Nikki and Natalya apart, and Nikki’s face was covered by the powder…
Powell’s POV: That’s the first thing we’ve seen on television thus far that points to the rumored Nikki Bella and John Cena vs. Miz and Maryse match at WrestleMania.
6. Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Greg Hamilton delivered the in-ring introductions for the championship match. Bliss jawed at Naomi and then spun away to flip her hair in Naomi’s face. Naomi responded by rolling her up for a two count. Otunga said it was another sign that Bliss wasn’t taking Naomi seriously. Naomi went for a springboard move, but Bliss caught her on the rope and tossed her into the ring.
Bliss dominated the next couple minutes of action and stood on Naomi’s hair at one point. Naomi came back and connected with a standing kick to the side of Bliss’s head. Naomi performed a summersault clothesline and played to the crowd. At 4:30, she performed a Blockbuster for a two count.
Bliss caught Naomi with a kick from the corner. Bliss stood up, yelled, and charged Naomi, who caught her with the Rearview for a two count. Naomi positioned Bliss in the corner and wanted to go to the ropes, but Bliss grabbed her foot. Bliss begged off by the ropes. The referee got between them and Bliss threw a cheap shot. Bliss performed her double knees into a backflip double knees spot unimpressively and it didn’t get much of a reaction.
At 6:30, Bliss went up top, but Naomi caught her with a kick to the head. Bliss went to ringside. Naomi ran the ropes, but Bliss was back on the apron and caught her with a forearm. Bliss performed a DDT for a two count, then threw a fit when she didn’t get the win. Bliss looked at the ref and barked that it was three.
Naomi performed a version of Eat Defeat with both feet. Bliss rolled up Naomi and tried to use the ropes for leverage, but the referee caught her. Bliss went up top and attempted her finisher, but Naomi put her knees up. Naomi performed a split-legged moonsault onto Bliss, who was awkwardly on her side, and Naomi got the win. Bliss held her shoulder afterward…
Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss in 8:20.
After the match, Renee Young interviewed Naomi in the ring. Fans chanted “you deserve it.” Naomi got emotional in response to the chant. Naomi spoke about going into her hometown of Orlando as champion at WrestleMania…
Powell’s POV: I’m not a big fan of all these title changes happening so close to WrestleMania. If all the rumored scenarios are true, then the winner of tonight’s Elimination Chamber match will be our longest running World Champion, and there’s a good chance that guy hasn’t even won the title yet. I am less bothered by the women’s championship changing hands. I like Bliss, but they clearly want to tell the story of Naomi going into WrestleMania in her hometown as champion. She’s been with the company a long time and it’s nice to see her get a moment.
In the luxury box, Carmella tried to blow off Fuentes’s question about the new champion. Ellsworth said she was trying to watch the show, then told Fuentes to scram. Fans booed… A chicken shack commercial with Enzo Amore and Big Cass aired… An ad aired for WWE Fastlane on March 5… The Talking Smack guests were listed as American Alpha, Naomi, Alexa Bliss, and Mickie James…
Powell’s POV: Check back on Monday morning for John Moore’s full recap of Talking Smack if you can’t watch the show tonight. John does a terrific job of recapping the show on a weekly basis, and he’s going to be reviewing the pay-per-view edition as well.
A shot aired of the Elimination Chamber lowering and then a video package aired to set up the main event…
Ring announcer Greg Hamilton explained the rules of the match and said there would be five minutes between pod doors opening…
Powell’s POV: There’s actually a giant hole at the top of the new Chamber structure. It’s quite a ways up there, but we saw some of the TNA X Division wrestlers climb to the top of a similar structure once. The other change seems to be that outer floor appears to be covered with a thin layer of padding, which should be a welcome change for the wrestlers.
The first man introduced was Dean Ambrose, who took his spot in the pod. The last two men will apparently start the match, Baron Corbin was out next and took his spot in a pod. The Miz was the third man out. The fourth man out was Bray Wyatt, meaning John Cena and AJ Styles would start the match…
7. John Cena vs. AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Baron Corbin in an Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship. Cena and Styles did indeed start the match. The louder fans were pro Styles, though there were some chants for Cena in response. Styles put Cena in a Torture Rack and spun him into a powerbomb for a two count. Cena held his right knee.
Cena performed a sunset powerbomb for a two count and continued to hold his knee. Cena seemed to be just fine as he performed some of his signature moves on Styles a short time later. Cena motioned for the Five Knuckle Shuffle and received more boos than cheers. However, the crowd counted down as the next entrant was up.
Powell’s POV: Correction from earlier. They did an overhead shot that showed there’s a WWE logo at the top circle of the chamber structure. In other words, it’s not just an open space, as they also appear some lighting attached to the sides of the piece that features the logo.
Dean Ambrose entered the match and worked over Cena and Styles. Ambrose went to the top of a pod and dove onto Cena. Cena came back with a double German suplex on Styles and Ambrose.
The fourth entrant in the match was Bray Wyatt, who sent Styles into the steel chains. Styles came back and caught Wyatt with a kick, then leapt over the top rope and leg dropped Wyatt. Later, they did a tower of doom spot with Ambrose on bottom, Wyatt in the middle, and Styles at the top. Miz sold it by putting his hands over his mouth.
The fifth entrant in the match was Corbin, who worked over Ambrose before Wyatt hit him from behind. Corbin quickly came back with a big boot on Wyatt. Corbin told Wyatt he doesn’t fear him, then slammed him down while tripping his legs out from under him. In the ring, Corbin performed End of Days on Styles. Cena immediately applied the STF, but Corbin escaped it and hit End of Days on Cena at 16:15.
The final countdown occurred. Miz remained in the pod as Corbin waited for him. Corbin was the first man eliminated when Ambrose rolled him up and pinned him at 18:50. Corbin attacked Ambrose and ran him into one of the pods, which broke. Miz was once again shown looking fearful inside the pod. Corbin hit End of Days on Ambrose. Several referees ordered him out of the Chamber structure. Miz entered the match and pinned Ambrose at 20:35.
The final four were Cena, Styles, Miz, and Wyatt. The fresh Miz worked over the others. However, Cena rolled through a Miz cross body block, performed an Attitude Adjustment, and pinned Miz at 23:25.
Wyatt and Styles appeared to form an alliance while targeting Cena. Styles performed a Styles Clash on Wyatt for a good near fall. Styles went for a springboard move, but Cena dodged and hit the AA for a near fall of his own.
At 27:30, Cena climbed to the top of one of the pods and pointed at the WrestleMania sign before diving onto Styles and Wyatt. All three men were down. A short time later, Cena hoisted up Wyatt for an AA, but Wyatt escaped, performed Sister Abigail, and pinned Cena at 29:00.
The match came down to Styles and Wyatt. Ranallo hyped that there will be a new champion at the end of the match. Later, Wyattdid the crab walk and set up for his finisher, but Styles escaped it, but ran into a clothesline for a two count.
Styles escaped Wyatt’s attempt at a uranage and caught him with a Pele Kick. Styles performed a running knee to the head of Wyatt. Styles performed a springboard 450 Splash for a two count. Styles set up for another springboard move, but Wyatt caught him, performed Sister Abigail, and pinned Styles to win the match…
Bray Wyatt won the Elimination Chamber match in 34:20 to win the WWE Championship.
After the match, Wyatt held up the championship and pointed at the WrestleMania sign. Randy Orton walked out and looked at Wyatt from the entrance ramp. JBL questioned if this means Wyatt is going to face Orton at WrestleMania. Wyatt laughed to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A strong main event and the crowd was receptive to Wyatt winning the championship. Overall, the first half of the show was a little flat, but things picked up with Orton vs. Harper, and the main event delivered. I will have more to say with Jake Barnett in members’ audio later tonight, and Will Pruett and I will be by on Monday with Prowrestling.net Live at 3CT/4ET at Blogtalkradio.com/prowrestlingdotnet.