By Jason Powell
WWE Elimination Chamber 2017 Kickoff Show
Aired live on WWE Network and social media
Phoenix, Arizona at Talking Stick Resort Arena
-After some inside and outside arena shots, the panel of Renee Young, Booker T, Sam Roberts, and Carmella checked in from the usual spot on the arena floor. Roberts noted that he left his pregnant wife at home to be there even though she is four days overdue. Ouch.
-Dasha Fuentes checked in from the social media lounge. She will be asking Becky Lynch the worst of the questions the fans submit via social media.
Powell’s POV: If you’re not watching the show, check our previous story for a fan shot of the new Elimination Chamber structure.
-The panel discussed the Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Roberts said the WWE Universe is feeling the glow. Carmella teased the possibility of Mickie James interfering in the match. Carmella intentionally looked disinterested by yawning and checking her phone while the others spoke.
Powell’s POV: If you’ve ever wondered what I look like during the needlessly long Kickoff Shows, Carmella is doing a pretty good impersonation thus far.
-Young hyped the Kickoff Show match and then said they would be discussing the Luke Harper vs. Randy Orton match after a break. A video package focussed on the Wyatt Family drama. Roberts said the fans have been pointing to Harper since he arrived in WWE and said pay attention to him. Carmella continued to act disinterested. Carmella picked Orton to win because Harper has never used dry cleaning before (yes, really). Roberts picked Harper as an upset winner. Booker picked Orton. Renee picked Orton.
-The panel discussed the tag team turmoil match for the Smackdown Tag Titles. Renee said she would love to see the Usos win. Booker said the Usos are his guy. Sam picked the Ascension.
-A video recapped the Nikki Bell and Natalya feud. Carmella said Nikki should have learned a lesson from their feud together, but Nikki was too busy filming reality shows and shopping. She said Natalya is picking up where she left off. Booker started talking about how the champ calls the shots or something. James Ellsworth showed up. Carmella asked if he brought her coffee. Ellsworth said he bought sky box tickets. Carmella ended up going with him. Roberts and Booker both picked Natalya to win.
-Young set up a discussion on the handicap match. Booker picked Apollo Crews and Kalisto, Roberts picked Ziggler, and Renee picked the babyface duo.
-Backstage in the area formerly known as Tom Phillips’ mobile kill room, Dasha Fuentes asked Becky Lynch some bad questions submitted by fans. She was asked if she is excited to disarm Mickie. Yes, she is! She was asked about teaming with any WWE wrestler in history. She picked Shawn Michaels. She was asked if she watched past Mickie James matches heading into tonight’s match. Yes, she did!!!
-Renee welcomed viewers back after the break. Booker started laughing. He said it’s because he saw JBL take a bump while doing the Texas two step. They showed JBL smiling at ringside. Booker had it replay. JBL actually tripped on his way to the ring. Booker finally laughed uproariously for good reason. They got back to discussing the title match. Booker picked Lynch to win.
-The broadcast team of Mauro Ranallo, JBL, David Otunga, and Tom Phillips checked in from ringside.
1. Mojo Rawley vs. Curt Hawkins. Hawkins had a voice over for his introduction, while ring announcer Greg Hamilton introduced Mojo. The bell rang and Hawkins immediately dove through the ropes to the apron to avoid a charging Rawley. Hawkins had Rawley down at ringside a couple minutes into the match. Rawley returned to the ring to beat the ref’s count before a break. [C]
Hawkins was still on the offensive coming out of the break and performed a suplex for a two count. Mojo started to show some life, but Hawkins put him down with a clothesline for another two count. Otunga said Rawley is a conditioning king who does the stair master “for like an hour.” Rawley came back with a clothesline and a splash in the corner.
Mojo followed up by hoisting Hawkins onto his back, then threw him up in the air and dropped him before covering him for two. Hawkins performed a DDT for a two count. Hawkins caught Rawley with an enziguiri for a two count. Hawkins went to the corner and charged Rawley, who shoved him aside, ran the ropes, and punched Hawkins. Mojo followed up with a tilt a whirl slam and got the pin…
Mojo Rawley defeated Curt Hawkins in 8:05.
Powell’s POV: The live crowd was flatter than usual for a show opening match. It’s hard to blame them since neither guy gets a lot of television time.
The panel pushed WWE Network and the 30-day free offer for new subscribers. The hosts finally discussed the Elimination Chamber match. Booker and Roberts predicted an AJ Styles win… A video package focussed on the Elimination Chamber match…
Join me for live coverage of WWE Elimination Chamber in a separate post on the main page.