As another ppv comes and goes, Smackdown Live continues to assert their dominance over RAW with an Elimination Chamber event that surprised and delighted fans alike, as we saw an overdue Bray Wyatt finally hoist the gold high in a long awaited moment he is more than deserving of. Smackdown proved you could do a lot with a little and used every superstar to build a show all the way around, not relying heavily on one lone match to carry the event, using the big things (such as Naomi winning the Women’s championship), in conjunction with the little things (like Carmella and James Ellsworth’s tidbits) to make a complete, well rounded show. It also worth noting that there were three women’s contests on the card, a big moment to celebrate in terms of how hard the Smackdown’s women’s division has worked to create fantastic feuds and programming in a title picture that originally concerned me with all the prime women’s superstars being drafted to RAW. These women have really come through and made this show their own and their hard work has greatly paid off. Here is a breakdown of the 10 best moments of “Elimination Chamber”.
10) Heel Ziggler!
Attacking Kalisto from the jump was a nice touch, yet not enough to get Ziggler a win he is sorely in need of. Following his pinfall loss, Ziggler continued to assault Apollo Crews with a steel chair to the chants and encouragement of the crowd. I like this version of Ziggler a whole lot more than his good guy persona, but time will tell if WWE can stay the course and do it justice.
9) Nikki vs. Natalya
In a match that was actually pretty good, we saw Nikki and Natalya fight to a double count out. In a “friendship turned stale” angle full of verbal low blows and personal issues, I for one, am happy to see this feud continue on a little bit longer as it gives the two veterans something useful to do outside of the Smackdown Live women’s title picture. Personally of the three women’s matches on the card, I thought this one was the best of the night in terms of storytelling and physicality. The lingering question is where do they go from here? I guess we will find out on Tuesday night.
8) “The Viper” prevails, But Luke Harper steals the show
In a fantastic contest, Luke Harper and Randy Orton earned the praises of the Arizona audience in a contest most thought would be a squash. I tip my hat to the WWE brass, as they gave Luke Harper a chance to fire on all cylinders and have a great match with a 12 time WWE world champion. While Orton picked up the win, it was an even greater moment for Harper who has put his name into the fold, earning the countless “this is awesome” chants offered by the crowd. What does this mean for Harper going into Mania? Let’s hope they continue this momentum going forward.
7) Naomi wins the gold
In the shock moment of the night, Naomi claimed the Smackdown Live Women’s championship, defeating a “red hot” Alexa Bliss after a 70 day reign as champion. With this win, Naomi will go into her hometown of Orlando, FL as champion for the biggest event of the year, Wrestlemania, a well deserved accolade after five years of toil and trouble. While I don’t hate the title change, it does surprise me that WWE was willing to change over from Bliss, one of the most popular stars in the company for an unproven champion, but what better way to test the water than to have someone jump directly into the deep end? Either way, Naomi was long overdue for an opportunity and most of us hope she makes the most of it, though I smell another title change brewing on the horizon, of course, that is merely my prediction.
6) Alpha Dogs
While WWE fooled most of us into thinking the storyline was to make The Ascenion relevant again, American Alpha had other plans, securing a huge come from behind victory after suffering a beat down at the hands of “The Usos”. With this victory, Alpha has effectively cleaned out the Smackdown Live tag team division, but will more than likely feud with the Uso’s going into mania or until WWE finds a strong enough angle to change it up. Personally, I think it’s time to bring up a couple of “Top guys” from NXT.
5) Cena vs. Styles to begin the Elimination Chamber
After their instant classic at the Royal Rumble, Cena and Styles picked up where they left off, starting the chamber match off with a bang, much to the delight of the audience. Any time these two meet it is absolute poetry in motion. It’s hard to argue with Cena when he says the two are “on another level” and even five more minutes of action between the two makes tuning in worthwhile.
4) Corbin vs. Ambrose
After Ambrose eliminated Corbin with a small package pinfall, Corbin took out his frustrations on the Intercontinental Champion, allowing Miz to secure the pinfall elimination of Ambrose. This more than likely means the two will lock horns at the “showcase of the immortals” with the Intercontinental title on the line in a match primed to steal the show. Ambrose is in need of a good showing after last years overhyped “street fight” with Brock Lesnar, which went from being a highly anticipated affair marred by disappointment.
3) Cena is eliminated
In the most important moment of the night, the champion fell to Bray Wyatt via pinfall, sending the crowd into absolute frenzy. WWE couldn’t have booked it anymore correct than allowing the ultra popular Styles to clash with the “eater of worlds” for the championship to end the night, with that last ten minutes building towards a brand new WWE champion.
2) Wyatt vs. Styles
What we got was a short back and forth that made us want more. Should Wyatt retain at Wrestlemania, I think it’s more than clear that Styles will be right there in the thick of things, in a feud the WWE Universe is now hungry for.
1) Bray Wyatt wins the WWE Championship
After years of being the companies “dark horse” and his countless jobs at Wrestlemania, the “eater of worlds” took his rightful place among the elite in a well deserved title win for the ages. Bray Wyatt has the potential to be the biggest heel the company has ever seen if WWE will allow it, as he is absolute godsend on the microphone and is off the charts eerie in promos. Let’s hope WWE doesn’t fumble the ball on this one. You made the right choice, Vince.