Despite being the awkward show in between last month's Super ShowDown and next month's WrestleMania, Elimination Chamber was a solid show. The main event was the highlight, with a star-making performance by Shayna Baszler. But there were other strong moments too, including the opening match and an appearance by The Undertaker.
It wasn't a perfect show. It lacked star power: No Brock Lesnar, no Goldberg, no Roman Reigns, no John Cena, no Bray Wyatt, no Drew McIntyre and no Becky Lynch. But there were enough positives to call Elimination Chamber 2020 an overachieving show considering that lack of star power.
The quick results you need to know: Baszler won the Elimination Chamber main event, so she's facing Becky Lynch for the Raw Women's Championship at WrestleMania. Daniel Bryan beat Drew Gulak in a match you should absolutely go out of your way to watch. And AJ Styles lost to Aleister Black after a chokeslam from The Undertaker.
Shayna Baszler is the Queen of the Chamber
Absolutely awesome. Shayna Baszler massacred the field in the Elimination Chamber to win, becoming Becky Lynch's WrestleMania opponent.
The match started slow. Natalya started the Chamber off against Ruby Riott. Then Sarah Lorgan came in. Pretty underwhelming for a main event. But then Baszler entered fourth and everything changed. She dominated. Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan and Natalya all tapped out to the Kirifuda Clutch sleeper hold within about a minute. It was fantastic.
Asuka was in last. Asuka and Baszler had a nice exchange, with Asuka blistering Baszler with vicious kicks and countering out of a Kirifuda Clutch attempt. Within a few minutes, though, Baszler stood tall, with Asuka becoming the final victim to the Clutch.
Rating: 4 stars. As a match, it would have been improved by having a longer Asuka vs. Baszler segment at the end; the whole thing built to their square off, and it ended quicker than expected. That was somewhat anticlimactic. But as a way of building up Baszler for a WrestleMania match against Becky Lynch, this was a huge success. Watching Baszler obliterate people is a thrill.
Sami Zayn wins the Intercontinental Championship
What could have been a disaster, a three-on-one tag match pitting Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro and Sami Zayn against Braun Strowman, was actually fun.
Before the match, Zayn cut a backstage promo about how Strowman has never been able to get his hands on Zayn. So the bout was essentially Strowman getting the upperhand on either Cesaro or Nakamura before being distracted by Zayn and cut down. Eventually, Nakamura hit a brutal Kinsasha to Strowman, knocking Strowman's head against the turnbuckle. The trio then did a suplex-Helluva Kick combo, leading Zayn to get the pin.
Rating 3.75 stars. A welcome change of pace, a match that felt different to everything else on the card so far. A three-on-one match where the "one" is Braun Strowman sounded like a recipe for making the "three" look bad. But here Cesaro and Nakamura didn't feel like they were undeserving of being in a ring with Strowman, Zayn got to be a chicken heel and Strowman got to look like a monster. Good fun.
Street Profits retain Raw Tag Team Championships
Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford became the second tag team to retain their championships tonight. They beat Murphy and Seth Rollins after a distraction from Kevin Owens.
Seth Rollins and Murphy were escorted to the ring by the Authors of Pain. But after AOP got involved early in the match, the Viking Raiders came out and battled AOP to the backstage area. Later, Kevin Owens would walk down from a concession stand, popcorn in hand, down to ringside. He distracted Rollins, allowing The Profits to get the win.
Rating: 2.75 stars. Not a particularly memorable match, but it was fine. The Viking Raiders expelled AOP from the ring too early; the rest of the match was hurt, feeling like an interlude until the inevitable Kevin Owens appearance. Owens and his popcorn were cute, though.
Aleister Black pins AJ Styles
Aleister Black gets the biggest win of his career after pinning AJ Styles with the help of The Undertaker.
The story of this match was that it was no disqualification but, I guess as a taunt, Styles' cronies Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson would only get involved when Black started to get the upper hand. So it wasn't a three-on-one situation, at least not from the beginning. You always knew it would end that way, though.
It was a slow start, with the two following the previous Chamber match. Styles worked over Black's leg for the bout, leading to a gruesome calf crusher. Black didn't tap, instead getting the escape by grinding a kendo stick into Styles' face. Other highlights include a stiff kick from Black, causing Styles to crash into a chair crammed between the turnbuckle ropes. Later, Black hit a Meteora on Styles through a table.
Eventually, Gallows, Anderson and Styles all jumped on Black, knuckling him with a three-on-one beat down. Undertaker's bell gongs and The Deadman appears. He hits a chokeslam on Styles and then promptly disappears. Black scores a beautiful Black Mass on Styles for the win.
Rating: 3.75 stars. Very good, but not the great match these two could have. Traditionally you'd want this to build up the new star, Black. But because this was really more about setting up AJ Styles vs. Undertaker at WrestleMania, Styles took most of the match and Black's win ended up looking like a fluke.
Miz and Morrison win Tag Title Elimination Chamber
A disjointed Elimination Chamber match. I do feel for these guys. The way the match was laid out eventually had all six teams -- Miz and John Morrison, The Usos, Heavy Machinery, The New Day, Lucha House Party and Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode -- in the Chamber at the same time. Trying to coordinate a 12-man free-for-all sounds almost impossible. And it showed. There were plenty of small botches and people clearly meandering about, trying to figure out where they're meant to be or waiting for someone else to get where they're meant to be.
But it was spectacular. Lucha House Party's Lince Dorado did a moonsault from the top of the Chamber. Literally the top of the Chamber: He was hanging from the top like he was on a monkey bar. Later, Otis from Heavy Machinery would crash through the Chamber pod and hit the ground outside. The Usos hit stereo Chamber-pod splashes to eliminate Roode and Ziggler. There was no shortage of high spots. But you need to watch the gifs more than you need to watch the match.
It started with The Usos and The New Day. Eventually, all six teams would be in the ring. Lucha House Party, who enjoyed maybe the most spotlight they've gotten in WWE yet, were out first. Heavy Machinery, the most popular team in the match, was out second. Roode and Ziggler were out next, followed by The New Day.
The final stretch, of The Usos and Miz and Morrison, was arguably the best part of the match. Crisp action and solid near falls. Ultimately, The Miz and Morrison retained their titles.
Rating: 2.75 stars. Questionable creative decision to have Heavy Machinery out so early, especially since Roode and Ziggler vs. Heavy Machinery would probably be a bigger tag team match for WrestleMania than whatever WWE ends up doing. As noted, some fantastic spots here. But the match was also awkward and clunky at many points.
Andrade retains his US Championship
After a well-wrestled match, Andrade pinned Humberto Carrillo with a tight-holding roll-up. Carrillo has been a little in the weeds, with a patchy win/loss record, and probably needed to win this match. It's possible that WWE is keeping his US Championship win to WrestleMania, which may work. That's if WWE is interested in building him up as a big star. If the plan is for the shine to go Andrade, then this match was what it should have been.
It started explosive, with Andrade nailing Carrillo with a huge back elbow. The wrestling was tight throughout, though there wasn't much of a story. It was more of a move-for-move bout, but that's OK. It got a "this is awesome" chant, for what that's worth. The match peaked at the end when Zelina Vega rolled up the mats outside for Andrade to DDT Carrillo on the hard ground, as Carrillo did to him in January. But instead, Carrillo did a huge somersault over the top ropes (and the ref), leading to the final roll-up exchange sequence which Andrade ultimately won.
Rating: 3.5 stars.
Drew Gulak passes out to Daniel Bryan's Yes Lock
Daniel Bryan is an absolute saint. He's talked before about wanting to spotlight younger, as-yet acclaimed talent and it's clear that was his goal here. He almost killed himself -- literally, almost killed himself with a brutal german suplex -- to make Gulak look like a star. In the end, though, it was Bryan who would win via Yes Lock.
The story of the match was that Gulak was one step ahead of Bryan the whole time. The two begun with a long mat wrestling sequence, where Gulak got the better of Bryan at every turn. Throughout the match, Gulak often outmanoeuvred Bryan and worked over his neck. Daniel Bryan was selfless, giving all the shine to Gulak until the end.
That end came when Gulak hit a gnarly top rope reverse-DDT suplex and transitioned into a dragon sleeper. Bryan countered with an omoplata, leading to the Yes Lock win.
Rating: 3.75 stars. Great opener. Becky Lynch isn't on the card, so tonight Daniel Bryan is The Man.
Kickoff Show results
Viking Raiders defeat Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder. No surprise here. Ryder accidentally gives Hawkins the Rough Ryder, and then Ryder is pinned after the Viking Raiders hit him with a Viking Experience.