WWE Elimination Chamber Kickoff Show live review: Buddy Murphy vs. Akira Tozawa for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Elimination Chamber 2019 Kickoff Show
Aired live February 17, 2019 on WWE Network and social media
Houston, Texas at Toyota Center

-Jonathan Coachman hosted the show and was joined by the panel of Beth Phoenix, Booker T, and Sam Roberts. Coachman noted that Phoenix will be part of the broadcast team for the women’s Elimination Chamber match.

-A pre-taped Mustafa Ali video aired. He spoke about not being medically cleared to compete in the Elimination Chamber. He said the most painful thing about it is watching someone competing in his place. Ali said he has nothing but love for Kofi Kingston and will be rooting for him, but he will be back. Ali said there’s nothing easy about what they do in the ring. “But life ain’t easy for those who dream,” Ali concluded.

-A Braun Strowman video aired. Strowman told a story about a coward named Baron Corbin. They showed clips from their feud throughout the video. Corbin spoke about the coward recruiting others because he could never get the job done on his own. Strowman said the monster came back and will make them all pay.

-Sheamus and Cesaro joined the panel at their desk on on the arena floor and spoke about the Shane McMahon and The Miz vs. The Usos match for the Smackdown Tag Title match. Heavy Machinery crashed the set and interrupted Sheamus and Cesaro, who told them to pick a brand. Tucker said the WWE Universe wants them to take their talents everywhere. Coachman wrapped up the segment.

-Footage aired of Vince McMahon replacing Becky Lynch in the Raw Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania with Charlotte Flair. They also aired footage of Charlotte attacking Lynch’s bad knee at a live event on Saturday night. Coachman said they don’t know how serious Lynch’s injury is and claimed she left the venue the night before on crutches.

-The Riott Squad delivered a backstage promo and noted that they were in the venue where the debuted on the main roster. Riott said they debuted their debut dates together, then Liv Morgan showed off her 11-21-17 tattoo on the back of her neck. Ruby Riott said the Road to WrestleMania will take a diabolical detour when she wins the Raw Women’s Championship, then Morgan and Sarah Logan spoke about winning the WWE Women’s Tag Titles. Charlotte Flair showed up and said she remembers their debut because it came at her expense. Charlotte told Riott she could follow her lead by taking the title and changing the game. Flair reminded Lynch that she would be sitting at ringside for Riott’s match with Ronda Rousey.

-Coachman said it appears Flair wants Riott to shock the world and win the Raw Women’s Championship so she could face her at WrestleMania. Roberts said Riott would need a lot of help to win the championship and Charlotte is a lot of help. Roberts spoke about how Rousey is used to competing in a one-on-one environment in an Octagon. “If there’s one muscle that Ronda doesn’t have as well as some others it’s probably the one that’s in her head, the brain,” Roberts said. Booker joked about Roberts changing since he grew his beard.

-The focus shifted to the Intercontinental Championship handicap match. Roberts vented about how Finn Balor never seems to win the big one. He said he should bring out The Demon because The Demon is more unstoppable. Booker stressed that Balor was working the match, not The Demon.

-A Mojo Rawley video was shown. He did the mirror bit again and said the WWE Universe doesn’t know him or care about him. He asked who they are and why they matter. “They don’t like the face that they see,” Rawley asked while looking into the mirror. Rawley laughed and said, “Well, I don’t either. It’s time to show ‘they’ the real you.”

-An Alexa Bliss selfie style video. She said the division has been on fire and noted the firsts that have occurred since she debuted. Bliss said that Becky Lynch should have taken her advice and then maybe she wouldn’t be limping or suspended. Bliss predicted that Nia Jax and Tamina would win the Elimination Chamber to become the WWE Women’s Tag Champions.

-The panel spoke about the women’s Elimination Chamber match and Roberts played up that while Sasha Banks has been medically cleared, we don’t know just how healthy she is.

1. Buddy Murphy vs. Akira Tozawa for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. The broadcast team was Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Aiden English. Murphy caught Tozawa going for a suicide dive and then suplexed him onto the floor.

They cut to a split screen shot to show Kayla Braxton knocking on New Day’s locker room door. Xavier Woods and Big E came out. She said she was hoping to speak with Kofi Kingston. They said he was busy getting a massage from Mr. Bootyworth. She brought up Kingston wrestling an hour on Tuesday and now working what could be a long Chamber match. Big E told a joke about Kingston not having a problem with his endurance. Woods said Kingston will become the new WWE Champion.

In the ring, Tozawa caught Murphy with a kick and then went on the offensive. Tozawa performed a missile dropkick and then a running kick in the corner. Tozawa got a two count off a shining wizard.

Tozawa went for a cross body block, but Murphy caught him. They jockeyed for position and Murphy eventually caught him with a knee to the head and got a two count moments later. Murphy taunted Tozawa and they exchanged strikes. Tozawa turned Murphy inside out with a clothesline, the suplexed into a bridge for another two count.

A short time later, Tozawa caught Murphy with a suicide dive and then performed a second before rolling him back inside the ring. Tozawa went up top. Murphy went to the apron, but Tozawa kicked him and then performed a senton as Murphy was hanging over the middle rope. Tozawa ran the ropes and ate a big knee. Murphy went for his finisher, but Tozawa rolled him up for a two count. Tozawa applied an octopus. Murphy powered up and hit Murphy’s Law and scored the pin…

Buddy Murphy defeated Akira Tozawa in 13:25 to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.

Powell’s POV: A very well worked match that drew some “this is awesome” chants at one point. These guys deserved better than having a pointless split screen promo air during their match. WWE officials makes the cruiserweights look like a joke by moving their title matches to the Kickoff Shows every month, and now they’re interrupting their matches for backstage promos? If the company doesn’t care about the cruiserweight title matches, then why should viewers?

-A Kevin Owens video aired from a camera in his car. He said he just finished rehab and would be watching the Elimination Chamber event with his family. He said rehab is going well and doctors say he’s about a week away. Owens said he’s looking forward to seeing Finn Balor win the Intercontinental Championship, and to seeing the Riott Squad win titles. Owens said it was hard to explain to his kids why Becky Lynch isn’t wrestling on the show or WrestleMania. He also said it’s hard to explain why his kids like pineapple on pizza. He took a bite of the pizza and acted grossed out by it…

Powell’s POV: Pizza isn’t healthy. Is Kevin Owens the new Face of Waste to counter the New Daniel Bryan? I’m only half joking.

-A video package focused on the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship.

-Charly Caruso stood on the stage and introduced Mark Henry as a Texas native. Henry received a nice pop from the crowd as he walked out in non-wrestling attire. She asked him what makes the Chamber match so unique. Henry said he was happy to be back in his home state of Texas, then asked the crowd to give it up one more time for the cruiserweight title match. He said every man that enters the Chamber comes out different. She asked him which team would become the first WWE Women’s Tag Champions. Henry went with The Iiconics. When it came to the men’s match, Henry said it would be hard for him to pick against Kofi Kingston, who made him a believer on Tuesday. A “Kofi” chant broke out. Henry said that if he was in the Elimination Chamber match there would be a lot of men introduced to the Hall of Pain. Henry’s music played and he showed off his WWE Hall of Fame ring, then hugged Caruso on the stage.

-The panel delivered some final thoughts on the the event to close the Kickoff Show.

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