SmackDown’s last pit-stop on the Road to WrestleMania 33 was the 2017 Elimination Chamber event which just passed by a few hours ago, which means it’s time for another post-show podcast and 3-Count review of some of my biggest takeaways of the evening.
If you listen to the podcast, you’ll hear my thoughts on some of the most disappointing aspects of the night ranging from the James Ellsworth and Carmella segments to the lack of progress made in numerous feuds which left off in exactly the same position as what things were before tonight, but for the 3-Count, let’s look at the half of the glass which is full instead of empty. There are three people in particular I think made some nice steps forward in their careers at this event.
1. Baron Corbin
Sure, he was the first man taken out of the running for the Elimination Chamber match, but Corbin was the most dominant person for a short while during it. His elimination wasn’t even done in a way to devalue him, either, and they followed it up with an emphasis on his brutal nature to offset anybody thinking he looked weak.
The strategy of having him lose to Ambrose but wreck him afterward will do wonders to build toward an Intercontinental Championship match between the two at WrestleMania. Whether that ends up including several other people as the past few years have had a tendency to do, or if it stays a singles match remains to be seen, but in either scenario, Corbin now appears to be the biggest threat in the way of Ambrose’s title.
Just a few months ago, Corbin was floundering and they didn’t appear to know what they wanted to do with him. The showing he had tonight is a clear indication of a change and that hesitation is no longer the case. Sooner than later, Corbin will be wearing gold and this will be one of the shows we’ll look back on as a defining moment that lead to that point.
As a big fan of Alexa Bliss, the idea of her dropping the title is something I’m not too fond of, but if it means Naomi finally gets to win a women’s championship, then I’m okay with it. She’s been with the company over six and a half years and has consistently been one of their best in-ring performers as far as the women’s division goes, yet time after time, she was passed over. Frequently, the people who carried those titles in times where she could have easily stepped in as champion were pretty awful or at least just not as good as Naomi had proven herself to be.
Back in season 3 of NXT, Naomi came off to me as the most skilled performer of the bunch and I figured a title reign wasn’t too far away in the future, but the longer things went without her actually winning a belt, the less credible she seemed. At a certain point, she reached a status where I just assumed she’d lose every title match she was in, because that was always the case. The same even applied here, as I figured Alexa Bliss would merely retain and we’d move on to something else in a few weeks.
Whether this was a courtesy title reign similar to Mark Henry’s World Heavyweight Championship run from a few years ago or it is a legitimate move to a different direction, I’m still okay with it. Now, Naomi won’t have that stigma on her record books anymore of being someone who was always good enough but never given the opportunity. All future feuds she has will be made better by being able to refer to her as a former women’s champion—a right she is long overdue for.
3. Bray Wyatt
As much as I’m not on board with it, the inevitable came true as Bray Wyatt is now holding the WWE Championship. From the moment Randy Orton won the Royal Rumble, this was a given and something I’m not looking forward to, so on a personal level, this was one of my least favorite parts of the show.
But if I put aside my disinterest in this year’s WrestleMania card with the way it’s shaping up, I can’t ignore the upgrade Wyatt received and brush it aside. Similar to the Naomi situation, Wyatt has lingered around without a championship to justify him and it became a problem several years ago. He seemed like he had missed his opportunity, as since then, he hasn’t been as popular, nor has his character evolved and improved. I still feel like this is unwarranted, but now that he has the championship for at least this transitional reign when he drops it to Orton at WrestleMania, he’ll be a former world champion and it will give him more notoriety when he loses to everyone else he feuds with.
A win over Bray Wyatt meant a big deal when he was given his push against folks like John Cena and Daniel Bryan. Over the next few years, it didn’t mean anywhere near as much. Now with the brand split being the best thing for him, he’s transcended to not only winning the Tag Team Championship, but also the WWE Championship. If Raw and SmackDown ever combine their rosters again, he’ll likely go back down to the upper midcard, but now he’ll at least do so having reached the top of the mountain for a short amount of time.
For more opinions on the show as a whole, check out the latest edition of the Smark Out Moment wrestling podcast SMACK TALK as the panel reviews Elimination Chamber with our immediate reactions following the event before the dust has fully settled.
Hosted by Anthony Mango along with Shaun Walker
Make sure to subscribe and leave your comments and ratings!