WWE is in Seattle, WA this evening for Smackdown, and it’s the go-home show for Elimination Chamber, which airs this Sunday. Heading into the show, WWE has decided to present to us a possible Wrestlemania main event – and a match we have seen many, many times – Randy Orton vs. John Cena. Although it’s been years since we’ve the two tangle, it hasn’t been long enough. So, be sure to tune in to see it one more time!
Also announced, a 12-man tag team match heading into the Tag Team Turmoil match at Elimination Chamber, plus Apollo Crews will take on Dolph Ziggler, and much more!
We will have live coverage of the show as it happens, right here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter as well, @RingRap!
A video package opens the show, highlighting John Cena’s title win at the Royal Rumble, and Randy Orton’s Royal Rumble win. The video acknowledges their storied past and previous feuds, and shows clips of them younger, as children, as new members of the roster, championship wins throughout the years. It’s a solid video package for what feels kind of like a throwaway match.
Daniel Bryan’s music hits in the arena, and he’s showered with Yes! chants. He stands in the ring as the fans chant his name. It’s a hometown crowd for Bryan, and he talks about the last time he was there, he made the most difficult decision of his life. He says the last year hasn’t been easy, but he’s grateful he’s had the opportunity to be the General Manager of Smackdown Live. He also says he’s grateful that soon, he will be a dad.
And then The Miz interrupts him.
Miz and Maryse head down to the ring. Miz mocks Bryan immediately, saying Bryan had to retire one year ago. He suggests he does something his talents are suited for – become a stay-at-home dad. He asks why he’s even in the ring, and Bryan fires back, saying that not being able to wrestle never stopped The Miz. Miz gets pissed, says Bryan doesn’t respect him. Miz tries to shout over the fans “Daniel Bryan” cheers, and really works them up.
Before the two can continue, Baron Corbin interrupts. Corbin paces back and forth in the ring, and says Miz should learn when to shut up. “You talked too much last week on commentary, and you’re talking too much now.” Miz says Corbin should listen to him – they can work together and dominate everyone else – Miz’s mind and Corbin’s might. Corbin says he could take Miz out right now instead. Miz gets Maryse in between the two of them, and asks Bryan if he’s going to allow him to talk that way. Bryan sarcastically says it would be terrible if Corbin punched Miz in the face.
Dean Ambrose joins in on the fun, and says both of them are cute together, but he can’t take Miz seriously when he’s wearing his robe. “You look like a shoe.” Ambrose says Corbin stole the motorcycle sound from his entrance music, and says he’s right at home in Elimination Chamber. Ambrose says he’s walking out of Elimination Chamber as both Intercontinental and WWE Champion. “And if you’re all not careful, you might not walk out at all.”
AJ Styles makes his entrance to join the party. He asks if everyone is done. He says they live in a fantasy world where the facts don’t matter. Styles says he’s beaten all of them. The fans start to chant for him and he tries to shut them down. He says the only thing he cares about is getting his title back at Elimination Chamber.
Miz says people come to SD Live because of him, not any one else. Bryan interrupts him and says he wants to give the fans a preview of Elimination Chamber by having a Fatal Four-Way match… which starts now!
AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin vs. The Miz (w/ Maryse) in a Fatal Four-Way Match
The Winner: Baron Corbin
The Action: This is going to be challenging to cover. The Miz is immediately trying to talk Corbin in to being on his side. Corbin just shakes his head. Styles and Miz get tossed out of the ring early, and it’s Corbin and Ambrose going at it. Corbin catches Ambrose, but Ambrose lands on his feet and sends Corbin to the floor. Miz in, he attacks Ambrose, and Ambrose sends him packing too.
Styles in, he goes for a Styles Clash, but Ambrose counters, knocking Miz off of the apron and sending Styles off the ropes as well. Outside the ring, Corbin tosses Ambrose into the steps, and floors Miz with a right. Styles goes for a springboard, and gets punches in the face. Corbin misses a shoulder in the corner. Miz takes out Styles’ leg and hits a snap DDT for two. Miz sets Ambrose and Styles up for Daniel Bryan kicks. The three trade roll-up attempts. Everyone is laid out as we go to break.
We’re back. Miz is looking to superplex Ambrose. Styles heads up to help out, and Corbin powerbombs the entire tower of doom. Miz lays into Corbin with kicks in the corner. He goes for a dropkick and it’s countered by Corbin’s Deep Six for a near fall. Corbin slides under the turnbuckles and runs back into the ring, but Styles nails him with a Pele kick and a flying forearm for two. Styles teases a Clash, and Miz counters, hitting a running knee for two.
Ambrose with a clothesline to Miz, neckbreaker on Styles. He hits a bulldog/clothesline at the same time, and manages to keep Corbin out of the ring after diving after him. Styles leaps and Misses, and Ambrose sends him and Miz both into the barricade. He slams Corbin into the ring post, and leaps into the ring with an elbow for two, broken by Styles.
Styles hits a flip DDT for a near fall, Miz breaking it up. Styles connects with a Phenomenal Forearm, but Maryse pulls The Miz out before the pin. Styles turns around into Corbin’s End of Days, and Corbin gets the win.
Fast paced and frantic. Everyone got in some awesome spots here, and the match felt like it had importance, even though nothing was on the line. Corbin picking up the win is a sign that management is high on him, and though I don’t expect him to win at Elimination Chamber, it’s no joke he just beat The Miz, Dean Ambrose, and AJ Styles in a match.
The announcers hype up a Dual Contract Signing for later tonight, with Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi and Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James being signed. We go to break.
We come back to Luke Harper cutting a promo amongst lights and fog. He says man is most dangerous when he has nothing to lose, but what about a man that had nothing to begin with. He says Randy Orton stole his family. He calls him a liar, says he’s seen the snake in the grass for too long. He says cutting the head off the viper is too easy. He wants to hurt him, wants him to feel pain, and says at Elimination Chamber, Orton will be eliminated.
Tom Phillips kicks it to a “live via satellite” interview with Nikki Bella. Natalya is also on video as well, and Phillips says they’re interviewing them separately because they’ve been so violent with each other. Bella says the Nattie she knew and loved is dead to her. Natalya says her and Bella were never friends, and Bella has no friends, just followers. Bella interrupts, calling her words lies. Natalya says she’s never lied. The two bicker. Bella calls her a “crazy cat lady.” Natalya gets personal and talks about how Nikki will never have her own baby. Bella says the only thing Natalya’s ever been good at is wrestling, so when she loses at Elimination Chamber, she’ll be the one ruining her legacy. Natalya says John Cena will move on from Nikki Bella, and says if she wasn’t married, Cena would probably end up with her. Bella walks away.
Apollo Crews vs. Dolph Ziggler
The Winner: Apollo Crews
The Action: Crews is already in the ring out of the break. Ziggler still has the same entrance. The bell rings and Crews hits a drop kick immediately. He sends Ziggler into the ring post. Crews misses a shoulder in the corner and hits the ringpost himself, and ZIggler follows it up with a big DDT. He sets up for Sweet Chin Music, but Crews catches it and rolls him up for a sudden win.
Ziggler immediately attacks him from behind as the ref is raising his hand. Ziggler grabs a chair and nails Crews across the back. He connects with a second one, before Kalisto heads out and evens things up. Kalisto hits a flurry of kicks. He goes for Salida Del Sol, but Ziggler catches him up on the ropes instead, and hits him with a steel chair. David Otunga plays the voice of reason as Ziggler hits Crews once more (while the fans chant “One more time.”)
David Otunga cues up a video package on Rosa Parks for Black History Month. The package features a number of African American roster members, including Mark Henry, Darren Young, Alicia Fox, Naomi, Jason Jordan, Titus O’Neil, and others.
Backstage, Dolph Ziggler is approached by Daniel Bryan. Ziggler says he’s going to leave, and Bryan questions him for throwing a tantrum every time he loses. Ziggler says he doesn’t care and can beat them both but hitting them with chairs is more fun. So, Bryan makes it a handicap match – Kalisto and Crews vs. Ziggler at Elimination Chamber.
In the ring, Renee Young introduces the Dual Contract signing, and one by one introduces each person – Mickie James, Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, and Naomi. Renee Young starts to introduce all four as elite atheletes, but Mickie James cuts her off and says there’s only two elites – Mickie and Alexa. She mocks Renee Young and tells her she can take it from there. Renee leaves the ring.
Mickie addresses Lynch – says the entire women’s division was built on her obsession to be the absolute best. She accuses Lynch of trying to erase her past. She says she’s waited seven years – seven years of rage that built up so she can come back into a WWE ring to get the credit she deserves. She says on Sunday she’ll prove she created the women’s revolution, and she created Lynch. She says without Mickie James, there would be no Becky Lynch. On Sunday, the reinvention of Mickie James starts with the destruction of Becky Lynch. She signs the paper.
Lynch says noone is trying to erase her accomplishments and even respected her until she teamed up with Alexa Bliss and screwed her out of her championship. She says when things got too tough in WWE, she walked away, and then when she came back she expected everyone to make way for her. Lynch says when it gets tough, she keeps walking through it and she will walk right through James on Sunday. She tells James she will slap her back into the past, and she signs the contract.
Bliss counters, and says Lynch has so much class, and it’s all low. She talks about James beating Hall of Famer Trish Stratus for the Women’s Championship, so she deserves respect. Bliss makes fun of her hair dye, and says as long as the title is on her shoulder, it’s her division. She signs the contract, and then looks at Naomi, apologizing, and says she completely forgot she was there. “It’s fine, I’ll beat you on Sunday.”
Naomi says she hasn’t forgotten about her, just like she hasn’t forgotten she’s pinned Bliss two times. She says she keeps underestimating her, and Naomi will keep snatching her ball. Naomi reminds Bliss that they’re also less than two months away from Wrestlemania, which is in her hometown of Orlando, and there’s no way she’ll let anyone take away her dream of sliding into Wrestlemania as the Smackdown Women’s Champion. She tells Bliss to get ready to feel the glow, and then Naomi kicks Bliss in the head, right over the table.
It’s a full-on cat fight, as all four brawl. Three of the ladies spill outside, allowing Naomi to leap over the top rope to the floor. She and Lynch toss James and Bliss back into the ring, and they immediately roll out the other side, retreating up the ramp.
A solid segment. All four cut quality promos and gave me a reason to care about both matches this Sunday. I feel there’s more hype for James vs. Lynch, but it’s not fair to underestimate Naomi vs. Bliss, which could wind up being a very good title match.
12-Man Tag Team Match: American Alpha & Breezango & Rhyno & Heath Slater vs. The Ascension & The Vaudevillains & The Usos
The Winners: Team Heels
The Action: Almost immediately, the heels fight. Anyhow, this match is pretty much what you expect. Jordan and Gable hit some stereo dropkicks, but Tyler Breeze tags himself in, and there’s all sorts of bickering as we go to break.
Back from break, The Usos are double-teaming Slater. Aiden English tags in and attacks Slater. The fans keep chanting for Rhyno. Slater finally makes a hot tag and Rhyno is in and on fire. He hits a shoulder block to Viktor, and follows it with a spinebuster. Konnor breaks up the counter and everyone runs in. Jordan and Gale hit Alphaplexes, and Jordan tosses Gable onto a bunch of people at ringside. Rhyno sets up a Gore and hits it, but Viktor nails him with a flying knee out of nowhere for the win.
Surprising to see The Ascension get a win here, but the tag team division needs some teams that have credibility. Might as well be them.
The announcers plug David Otunga’s upcoming role in Criminal Minds, and then begin hyping up Cena vs. Orton, up next!
John Cena vs. Randy Orton (w/ Bray Wyatt)
The Winner: John Cena
The Action: The announcers confirm Luke Harper vs. Randy Orton for Elimination Chamber during Orton’s entrance. We go to break.
We return and the bell rings. Cena ducks a collar and elbow tie up, and dances a bit to hype the crowd. They lock up, and Orton goes for a headlock immediately.
Cena drops Orton with a shoulder block and flexes, and the two feel each other out again. Cena goes for an early AA. Orton counters with a kick to the gut. He starts stomping on Cena’s limbs and drags his knee across Cena’s face. The action spills out of the ring, and Orton nails Cena with a right. He launches Cena into the steel steps, and Bray Wyatt laughs, posing as we go to break.
We return and Cena is going for a Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Orton kicks him in the face from the ground. Urinage leads to a two-count. Cena counters a draping DDT and sends Orton over the top rope. He carries Orton to the announcer’s table, but Orton counters it and hits a back body drop onto the announcer’s table. Orton rolls Cena into the ring. The two trade blows. Cena hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle, and sets Orton up for the AA. He hits it, and Orton kicks out at 2.
Orton manages to hit a draping DDT from the top turnbuckle. He sets Cena up for an RKO and hits it, and Cena kicks out. Cena goes for another AA, and accidentally knocks over the referee. Cena goes straight into an STF and Orton taps, and Cena releases, but it’s not a legal win. Bray Wyatt immediately attacks Cena, as the referee recovers outside the ring. They set Cena up for Sister Abigail into an RKO. Cena hits a clothesline to Orton, but Wyatt hits Sister Abigail anyhow.
And then Luke Harper runs out, rolls into the ring, and stares down Wyatt. Wyatt tells Harper to leave, and Harper responds with a vicious clothesline. He turns around right into Orton, but Harper pushes Orton into Cena’s AA instead. The referee counts it and it’s over.
A good match that should’ve been saved for a pay-per-view. It was too short to feel truly epic, and kicking out of finishers, no matter how many times they’ve faced each other in the past, is unnecessary. If anything, this match furthered the Luke Harper storyline, and I’m fine with that, as it’s pretty interesting to see Harper go against Wyatt and Orton.
Overall, thumbs up as a setup for Elimination Chamber. The show set up a few final matches and drove home the important ones. I’m looking forward to Sunday’s show and the final setup for Wrestlemania to come.
Time for 205 Live! Join me for full coverage of the show starting… now!