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WWE Elimination Chamber 2020: The Good, the Bad and the Weird

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Well, everyone forgot this show existed. After the Super Show Down I’m doing my best to forget, WWE had to cobble together their final PPV before Wrestlemania. It may have been a predictable looking card but there were certainly some compelling matches on the card and plenty of talent ready to carry the show. Let’s see if this PPV could take its lukewarm marketing and hype and spin some wrestling gold. Who would stand tall and who’d be left in the dust? Let’s get into it shall we?

The Good

Technical Masterpiece

You can’t go wrong with Daniel Bryan vs Drew Gulak. That match could print money any day of the week. It was exactly what you could want it to be, an intense technical stand off mixed with brutal shoot style strikes and moves. It was all about Gulak trying to exploit the weaknesses he perceives in Bryan’s wrestling and almost coming out on top. These two fought hard and Bryan probably terrified ringside doctors by landing on his neck a sickening number of times but this just added to the drama of the match. It wasn’t just Gulak trying to beat Bryan, he was trying to end him. Not to mention this match was the opening for the PPV and it was a technical bout.

That would almost never happen if it weren’t for the chemistry and charisma of both guys in ring. It’s nice to see Gulak get properly utilised away from 205 Live. He was a monster to Bryan and brought out a much more vicious side of Bryan that maybe hasn’t been seen in years. Yes, he may have gotten physical with the Fiend but Gulak brought him to new levels. This was an amazing opening match and a must continue feud for the pair. Bryan won this round with the Yes Lock.

US Title Fun

Whilst it may not have been the most hyped match of the night, the US Title bout delivered an excellent bout between two charged rivals. Carrillo is still not clicking with the audience (and King) but he can certainly put on a good match. The two had a brutal back and forth bout with a nice mix of personal touches and throwbacks to their previous encounters. Andrade felt like the more dominant star, but Carrillo often came back with some very devastating encounters and moves. It’s not quite the match to write an essay on but it’s definitely worth a watch.

Tag Team Chaos

The first chamber match was the six team fustercluck. The champions Miz and John Morrison would have their work cut out for them as they had to defend against five potential teams. The odds were stacked but maybe their luck would carry them through. Some of WWE’s best tag teams (and Roode and Ziggler) would clash in what can only be described as a chaotic mess of bodies and brawling. Even Lucha House Party looked good in this match. Otis overcame confusion and looked like a star whilst the New Day, Usos and the champs kept things rolling along. Lince Dorado stole the match with a Shooting Star Press off of the top of the chamber.

Otis managed to break the chamber by crashing through a pod to the outside and Tucker hit a swanton off the top of a pod. It was a must-see night for Heavy Machinery even if they weren’t victorious. The list of highlights could go on. In the end it came down to the champs vs the Usos. The two teams gave it their all but it would be the champs that stole it with a rope assisted double team roll up. It was a fun, if slightly long chamber match with plenty of moments for lesser considered teams. Just a shame Roode and Ziggler were involved.

Styles Clash

After being screwed over by the OC on RAW, Aleister Black was granted a chance to fight the leader of the OC 1 on 1. Wait nope, it was a no DQ match so technically it was 3 on 1 since Styles had Gallows and Anderson with him. It was another brutal fight as Black hit hard and Styles worked to disable Black’s striking ability. We also got some plunder in this match as Styles brought out the toys to soften Black up with. It wasn’t long before tables were introduced as Black tried to set up an equaliser to the damage he’d taken to his leg. These two gave us a very intense, very well-paced match that was honestly one of the only hard to predict matches on the card.

It was great to see weaponry used rather than having no DQ mean it’s just an excuse for Gallows and Anderson. The action spilled everywhere and only got more violent as time went on. It looked to be over for Black but Taker teleported to the ring and killed Styles with a Chokeslam. A Black Mass later and it was all over. Black was able to avenge his first main roster loss and Styles has found his Mania opponent in the Undertaker. A man that has ruined his PPV matches twice now.

Special Night for Sami

A three on one handicap match for the IC title shouldn’t sound like compelling viewing and at first thought, to me it honestly wasn’t. It’s only when you remember it’s Cesaro, Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn teaming up to take on the monster that is Braun Strowman that you realise how good it could be. And you know what, it bloody was as well. Braun figured he’d have an easy night against Zayn Enterprises but well he was mistaken. He wanted to kill Zayn but kept forgetting about or spending his time killing his tag partners.

Zayn would only ever come in if his partners had Strowman incapacitated. The trio continuously worked together to take advantage of any opening Strowman gave them. It took every finisher to murder him but, in the end, Zayn got to stand tall with the IC Title. This is his first main roster title win and he got it by working with two of WWE’s best. To quote Corey Graves, “tonight brains beat Braun Strowman.” Congrats Sami, it took too long to get to you but enjoy that title.

Shayna’s Gonna Kill You

Probably the most divisive match of the night as Shayna Baszler killed everyone and cemented herself as Becky’s Mania challenger. It was nice to see Ruby Riott get some damage in on Natalya before Baszler was let loose on them all and there were some nice none Baszler moments but let’s face it, if you’ve seen this match then you know it was the Baszler show.

She took out Riott and Sarah Logan in seconds and took her time dissecting Natalya with the help of a pod door. All that was left to do was have her mill about until the next woman came out. She then killed Morgan by throwing her into the chain and the pod all before choking her out in front of Asuka. When the Empress of Tomorrow finally came out, she gave Baszler a fight but it was not enough and she too succumbed to the Kirifuda Clutch. She was the only one to even remotely put up a fight. Baszler dominated the chamber and won the most predictable Elimination Chamber match to date. From a storyline perspective this match was great. From a brutality standpoint, Baszler’s treatment of Natalya and Liv Morgan was great. The rest of it, not so much.

The Bad

Pointless Pre-Show

The Viking Raiders vs Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder was the pre-show match for Elimination Chamber. Does than sound anyway related to anything going on in WWE right now? Both teams need a boost and sure this might be a good way to do it but for me this just felt like a rush job match added to give the pre-show some life. This isn’t a knock on the talent involved, I love both teams and will never turn down Hawkins and Ryder getting screen time but could it not have been built up a bit or actually taken place on RAW, where it probably belonged. This just felt like a waste of a few minutes. I could say the same of the RAW Tag Titles match but that actually had it’s moments to shine and Kevin Owens.

Predictability

Moaning about predictability in a WWE PPV is a moot point but it still needs to be mentioned. This was one of the most predictable PPV’s of the year so far and despite being exceptional for what it was, I imagine a lot of people tuned out because they could guess what was going to happen. Considering how cobbled together on the fly this show was, you’d think there’d be some shock results or less predictable matches. I’m not one to be put off by predictability but I can see how a show like this would have been hurt by its card.

The Weird

The Lack of Care

Did anyone find it weird that WWE just didn’t seem to care about marketing this PPV until the very last minute? I think out of everything BT Sport gave Elimination Chamber the most promotion out of any WWE affiliated entity. Again, it’s most likely caused by Super Show Down being the top priority which sucks. This was a good show that deserved the attention. Not a lot was weird about this show, but its build up and advertising certainly were. I feel there should be more care put into planning these shows, especially one so close to Mania.

John is a UK based wrestling obsessive who still wants to believe the Bullet Club is fine. He is always tearing the business apart and first realised wrestling was for him when he saw Mankind fall from the top of the cell at King of the Ring 1998.

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