By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Elimination Chamber Kickoff Show
Aired live February 21, 2021 on WWE Network and social media
Tampa, Florida at Tropicana Field
-The show was hosted by Charly Caruso, who was joined by the panel of Booker T, JBL, and Peter Rosenberg. They ran through the lineup, including the four-way match to determine the replacement for Keith Lee in the Triple Threat for the U.S. Championship.
-Caruso noted that the winner of the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match will immediately face Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship. A video package spotlighted Reigns.
-Cesaro was interviewed by Kayla Braxton on the backstage ring set. She asked if he thought the Elimination Chamber match could be a turning point for him. He compared the match to a shot of espresso and spoke about how he would win the Chamber and extract the Universal Championship from Reigns.
-Caruso set up footage of Bobby Lashley attacking Riddle and Keith Lee following their match on Raw. Lashley’s attack was labeled the cause of Lee missing the Triple Threat for the U.S. Championship.
-MVP was interviewed by the panel while he stood backstage. MVP borrowed the “It doesn’t matter” line when he was asked about the four-way to determine who would join Riddle in challenging Lashley for the U.S. Title. Billie Kay showed up with her head shots and made a pitch to join The Hurt Business. MVP said he would give it a look over “and I won’t be in touch.”
-The panel spoke about Lacey Evans announcing her pregnancy. Caruso questioned who the father is. Booker T said he wasn’t counting out Ric Flair. Booker also said someone will step up to challenge Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship. Caruso emphasized that Asuka would still defend the championship.
-Caruso spoke about Bad Bunny’s appearance on Saturday Night Live and noted that he was in the building.
-Sonya Deville joined the panel and discussed the WWE Women’s Tag Title match. She said Sasha Banks doesn’t play well with others, so the advantage is with the champions. “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins showed up at the desk. They congratulated Deville on her position as the assistant of Adam Pearce, but Ford questioned why they haven’t received their tag title rematch. Deville said it wasn’t the place for the conversation. She said she was thinking about giving them a title shot, but she questioned why she would reward their behavior. The Profits apologized and said they would visit her during office hours.
1. John Morrison vs. Mustafa Ali (w/T-Bar, Mace, Slapjack) vs. Ricochet vs. Elias for a spot in the U.S. Championship Triple Threat match. Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe were on commentary. Ali picked up a couple of near falls. Elias put Ali down with a knee strike and went for the cover, but Slapjack pulled him off from the floor. Ricochet rolled up Elias for a two count.
Later, Ricochet performed a 450 splash on Ali and had him pinned, but T-Bar and Mace pulled him off. Ricochet went for a flip dive. T-Bar and Mace caught Ricochet and powerbombed him into the ring post. Meanwhile, Morrison rolled up and pinned Ali to win the match…
John Morrison defeated Mustafa Ali, Ricochet, and Elias in 7:10 in a four-way match to earn a spot in the U.S. Championship match.
Powell’s POV: The match was fine, though it did feel random in terms of the wrestlers who were selected to be in it. I am curious if there’s a storyline reason that creative felt the need to stick with a Triple Threat for the U.S. Championship when they could have simply had Bobby Lashley defend the title in a singles match against Riddle. Are they looking to move the title off of Lashley without having him factor into the finish to free him up for a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania?
-The panel discussed the Lashley vs. Morrison vs. Riddle match for the U.S. Championship.
-A video package spotlighted the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship.
-The panel spoke about the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship. JBL acknowledged an earlier flub when he mistakenly said Randy Orton was in the Smackdown Chamber match. Caruso played up the possibility of The Miz cashing in the Money in the Bank contract. Booker predicted that McIntyre would retain, JBL predicted an Orton win, Rosenberg went with McIntyre, and Caruso picked Sheamus. The Chamber structure was lowered around the ring to close the Kickoff Show.
Join me for my live review of the WWE Elimination Chamber main card in a separate story available via the main page.