Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Elimination Chamber 2019
Date: February 17, 2019
Location: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young, Tom Phillips, Percy Watson
It’s the first of two stops on the Road to Wrestlemania and that means we’ll be seeing a big steel structure. In this case it’s for the WWE Championship and the inaugural WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles. The structure alone makes this a little more interesting and hopefully it’s good on top of that. Let’s get to it.
Kickoff Show: Cruiserweight Title: Buddy Murphy vs. Akira Tozawa
Murphy is defending and they start fast with a battle over the wristlock. The fight heads outside with Tozawa ducking a chop to send Murphy’s hand into the post. Murphy is fine enough to drop him on the floor for an eight count and let’s go to the back for an interview with Kofi Kingston. Well actually with Xavier Woods and Big E. as Kofi is undergoing a maple syrup massage.
Tozawa gets caught in a backbreaker and a chinlock as Xavier talks about Kofi being a legend before the three of them ever got together. Dancing ensues and we go back to a full screen with Tozawa hiptossing his way out of an abdominal stretch. A running boot in the corner hits the champ, followed by a Shining Wizard for two. Murphy gets caught on top and what looks like a super gorilla press is countered into a super hurricanrana for the second near fall.
Tozawa gets pulled into a fireman’s carry facebuster, followed by a hard knee to the face to give Murphy two of his own. They chop it out until Tozawa’s bridging German suplex gets two more. A kick to the face sets up a middle rope inverted hurricanrana to send Murphy outside. That means a pair of suicide headbutts, followed by Murphy getting caught in the rope for the top rope backsplash to the back. Tozawa’s Iron Octopus has Murphy in trouble so he muscles it up into Murphy’s Law to retain at 13:21.
Rating: B-. The extra time helped this one a lot and that’s a good sign for the division. Tozawa was little more than the challenger of the month but he made the most of it and that’s the best thing possible. Murphy is almost destined for a major title match at Wrestlemania, though I’m not sure who could serve in that role.
The opening video mainly focuses on the Elimination Chamber, which is a major stop on the Road to Wrestlemania. The other matches get some attention too, which is fine.
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Naomi/Carmella vs. Samoan Slaughterhouse vs. Boss N Hug Connection vs. IIconics vs. Fire and Desire vs. Riott Squad
For the inaugural titles in the Elimination Chamber, meaning two teams start and it’s another team coming in every five minutes. The last team standing wins the titles. Fire and Desire (Mandy Rose/Sonya Deville) and the Boss N Hug Connection (Bayley/Sasha Banks) start things off after losing triple threat matches earlier in the week. Banks is ready to go to start and hits a crossbody on both of them to start. A hard spinebuster out of the corner plants Banks and Mandy’s backbreaker gets two.
Bayley and Banks get slammed onto the steel outside of the ring but Mandy’s running big boot gets caught in the Chamber wall. That lets Bayley hit a somewhat dangerous neckbreaker as the Riott Squad is in third. Bayley and Banks are ready for them but get taken down, allowing Logan to slam Banks into the pod with a huge thud. Mandy and Sonya get back up for the former lackey showdown and Liv drops Sonya with one shot. Sonya does the same to her for two though and everyone is staggered.
Bayley gets back up and heads to the top, setting up a Tower of Doom to put all six down. The IIconics are in fourth to cover everyone for some one counts. A double gordbuster hits Sonya and Liv gets dropped as well. Double knees to the face have Bayley in trouble with Sasha making the save, earning the two of them a face crushing against the Chamber. Bayley gets kicked in the face for two and it’s Naomi/Carmella (possibly Fabulous Glow, because putting nicknames together is how you make a name anymore).
Graves makes a comments about Carmella so Renee cuts him down with “I don’t think so World Champion Of Love.” Naomi’s split legged moonsault gets two on Morgan but the Squad gets back up and everyone is knocked down all at once. Carmella grabs the Code of Silence on Mandy but Sonya makes the save, leaving us with the Naomi vs. Mandy showdown. Before that can go very far, the IIconics hit a sunset flip/jackknife rollup combination to get rid of Naomi at 17:08.
Everyone else surrounds the IIconics but the countdown goes on, meaning everyone switches over to the Samoan pod. The Samoans clean house so the IIconics hide in a pod like an idiot. The doors are pried open and it’s a double ram into the Chamber as the dominance begins. A double Samoan drop gets rid of the IIconics at 20:10. Everyone gets together again with an assisted Diamond Dust getting two on Tamina. Mandy and Sonya kick the heck out of her for two more but Banks and Bayley knock them down for some reason.
A hot shot into the buckle has Mandy in trouble and Sonya gets sent into the same corner, only to miss Mandy which seemed to be the intended target. Sonya crashes and then turns her head to glare at Mandy in a funny spot. Fire and Desire hits the BIG dives off the top of the pod but the Squad is right there to take them down. The Samoans get back up and it’s the super Samoan drop into the double Superfly Splash to get rid of the Squad at 24:19.
Nia misses the running charge through the pod to knock herself cold, leaving everyone to get together on Tamina, with the Meteora setting up the Bayley top rope elbow. A big pile on gets rid of Tamina at 27:04. We’re down to Bayley/Sasha vs. Mandy/Sonya for the titles and Banks knees Mandy down. The Backstabber into the Bayley to Belly gets two on Sonya as Mandy dives in for the save.
With nothing else working, everyone but Sonya wind up on top of a pod. Mandy’s head goes into the steel and Bayley kicks Sonya down. Bayley gets knocked down as well and it’s Banks getting sent down, setting up the lifting sitout Pedigree for a great near fall. Sonya spears Mandy by mistake and Sasha grabs the Bank Statement. Her bad shoulder won’t let her get the full thing though so she uses her foot (cool) to get the hold on for the tap and the titles at 32:47.
Rating: A-. This was WAY better than I had any hope for and it was an actually dramatic and downright great match with Sasha making up for not being able to help Banks over the last few weeks. Bayley and Banks winning is fine, though you can probably pencil in the Samoans to take the titles pretty soon down the line. Anyway, this was a heck of a match and they beat the heck out of each other with some of the best near falls I can remember seeing in women’s wrestling. Mandy and Sonya took it to a level I didn’t know they had in them and this was outstanding.
Post match Bayley and Banks get a YOU DESERVE IT chant. Banks says they’ve worked hard to get here and more changes are still to come.
We recap the Smackdown Tag Team Title match. Miz and Shane McMahon won the Tag Team Titles as a “dream” team and the Usos won a match to earn the shot.
Smackdown Tag Team Titles: Usos vs. Miz/Shane McMahon
Miz and Shane are defending but before we get going, Miz congratulates Bayley and Banks for winning the titles. He brings out Maryse for a big announcement: she’s pregnant again. After the sweet announcement, Shane comes out and Maryse joins him in his dance. Jimmy knocks Miz down to start but Shane tags himself in and tries a very early Coast to Coast.
That’s broken up so Shane elbows Jimmy in the face and brings Miz back in for the YES Kicks. Miz gets taken into the corner though and it’s time for the double teaming to begin. Jimmy takes the baseball jersey off of Miz and throws it at Shane, allowing Miz to make the comeback. Shane comes in off the hot tag and hits a very fast Coast to Coast, only to eat the superkick for two.
Miz comes back in as the pace picks up with a dropkick through the ropes to Jey. It’s time for the announcers’ table (Corey: “It’s too early in the night! I need work space!”) with Shane hitting the big elbow to drive Jey through. Back in and Jimmy superkicks Miz but the Superfly splash hits knees. The Skull Crushing Finale gets two but Jimmy rolls over into a crucifix for the pin and the titles at 13:49.
Rating: C. Well that’s….surprising. I’m certainly not complaining but you don’t quite expect a guy to get arrested for disorderly conduct and then pin Miz to win some titles. The Usos are a far better choice for champions and it does help a lot that Miz and Shane lost the belts in their first defense. Still not a good idea in the first place, but at least it didn’t last long.
Miz and Shane leave together without fighting.
Lio Rush says he’s not the weak link and isn’t letting Bobby Lashley lose the Intercontinental Title.
Intercontinental Title: Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley/Lio Rush
Balor is challenging and can win the title by pinning or submitting either Lashley or Rush. Lashley runs Balor over to start and goes after the bad ribs. A few shots send Lashley outside though and it’s an early breather. That just means Lashley stomps on the ribs again back inside to take over again and it’s Rush coming in to work on the ribs as well.
That includes an abdominal stretch until Balor hiptosses him into the corner. Since control is slipping away, it’s off to Lashley for a heck of a spinebuster but Rush tags himself in, saying he’ll retain the title. The Final Hour (Low Down) misses and Balor starts the comeback, including a big flip dive to take both of them out. Back in and the Coup de Grace finishes Rush to make Balor champion at 9:28.
Rating: D+. This could have been on Raw, but I’ll take what I can get. Lashley felt like little more than a dragon to slay and you could have him get his rematch down the line. The wrestling wasn’t great here, but it was more about the story than anything else with Rush costing Lashley the title because he’s not as good as his hype.
Post match Lashley allows Rush to live before destroying him for costing the title.
We look at the end of Raw with Vince McMahon suspending Becky Lynch and replacing her with Charlotte.
Last night, Becky invaded a Smackdown house show and attacked Charlotte but her knee got hurt again. You have to do something to fill in these seven weeks so this works as well as anything else.
Here’s Charlotte for a chat. She is sick of Becky coming in here and taking these spots that don’t belong to her. Charlotte can look in the mirror and get all the affirmation she needs because she knows she’s good enough. Now she’s taking her spot in the main event of Wrestlemania.
Raw Women’s Title: Ronda Rousey vs. Ruby Riott
Rousey (dressed as Sonya Blade, who she is voicing in the new Mortal Kombat game) is defending and Charlotte is at ringside. Riott gets sent outside in a hurry as the fans want Becky. Back in and a quick Piper’s Pit, with a Wrestlemania sign point, sets up the armbar to make Riott tap at 1:41. Well ok then.
Post match the fans want Becky and here she is, coming through the crowd on crutches. Becky can barely stand as we get a SHE’S THE MAN chant. She’s fine enough to swing the crutch at Charlotte and beat her down, leaving Rousey to watch the whole thing. Rousey grabs the other crutch but makes the mistake of turning her back, allowing Becky to destroy Ronda with the crutch as well. Security FINALLY comes out to break it up as Rousey is bleeding a bit. Commentary of course treats Becky like a heel because WWE still doesn’t get it.
Baron Corbin vs. Braun Strowman
No DQ. Corbin throws a vest at him to start and swings away with an early kendo stick Strowman takes it away though and breaks the stick over his knee, meaning the real beating can begin. The running shoulder on the floor sends Corbin into the barricade but he avoids a second attempt to send Strowman into the steps. The steps to the head have Strowman in trouble, allowing Corbin to mock the Strowman pose.
That’s it for Corbin, as Strowman runs him over inside, much to Renee’s delight. It’s table time with Corbin getting powerslammed through, but here are Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley to chair Strowman down. Corbin gets in another chair shot to keep Strowman in trouble and we’ve got two more tables. They stack the tables up and climb onto the steps for a TripleBomb through the tables, giving Corbin the pin 10:51.
Rating: D-. You know, when I was predicting these things I went with Corbin because I thought it was the least logical thing they could do, which made it the likely result. It’s likely a way to set something up for Fastlane, because Strowman needs to be further destroyed for the problem of getting over when he was pushed.
Video on the Special Olympics.
Shane is getting treatment but Miz comes in and freaks out over the loss. Shane gets up, calls him Mike, and tells him to cool off.
Here’s Lacey Evans and, after we see a Wrestlemania package, an ad for WWEshop.com and a Fastlane vignette…..she’s gone. Literally she did her entrance and then wasn’t shown again.
WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Kofi Kingston vs. AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe
Bryan is defending inside the Chamber. On his way to the ring, Bryan says that it’s not fair that he’s starting the match, just like he started the gauntlet match on Tuesday. It’s because people are FICKLE! Rowan isn’t allowed at ringside either, which likely means we’ll be seeing his new follower. Bryan and Joe start things off, which is more interesting than you would think. Some early kicks to the leg earn Bryan a nearly creepy smile from Joe, followed by a kneebar for good measure.
For some reason Bryan decides to slap him in the face, meaning it’s the STF into the Crossface into something like a Rings of Saturn. Bryan fights up and kicks the knee, earning himself some even harder kicks. With Bryan down, Kofi is in third to a strong reaction from the crowd. The top rope splash to Joe’s standing back (Graves: “Kofi feeling delirious right out of the gates here!”) has Joe down so Bryan climbs up to the top of the pod. Kofi follows him up so Bryan climbs around to another but gets taken down without much effort.
Joe takes over with the running backsplash to Bryan and here’s AJ in fourth. He goes right after Bryan with the moonsault into a reverse DDT, though he adds a regular one to Kofi for good measure. Bryan goes up again so AJ springboards into a forearm to the back of the head for a unique spot. Joe is right there with a ram into the Chamber and a backdrop to the ring though, followed by the Koquina Clutch to Kofi. The rope walk doesn’t work so it’s a jawbreaker into the Phenomenal Forearm to get rid of Joe at 16:24.
Jeff Hardy is in fifth and starts the jumping until AJ nails him with a Pele. Hardy and AJ go to the corner and….I think slips with a big crash to drop AJ onto the top turnbuckle. With AJ still laying there, Jeff hits a Swanton to his back, only to walk into the running knee to get rid of Hardy at 19:51. Bryan isn’t done and puts AJ in the Tree of Woe while loading up Kofi for a superplex. AJ sits up though and German superplexes Bryan, sending Kofi flying even further.
Randy Orton is in sixth (due to winning the gauntlet match on Smackdown) to complete the field. Orton gets in a few shots here and there until Kofi kicks him in the head, drawing the fans right back to his side. AJ STO’s him into a backbreaker though (that looked painful) but the Phenomenal Forearm is countered into an RKO to get us down to three at 24:15. Kofi rolls Orton up for two but gets caught in the hanging DDT off the top to knock him silly. The RKO is countered and Trouble in Paradise out of gets rid of Orton at 26:00.
We’re down to Bryan vs. Kofi and the place is actually going NUTS for Kofi to win the title. They slug it out and kick away with Kofi saying bring it. Trouble in Paradise misses and Bryan kicks the knee out. The YES Kicks (earning NO from the crowd) have Kofi in more trouble but the big one misses. The SOS gets one of the best near falls in years and Bryan sends him into the corner.
Bryan says that Kofi doesn’t deserve to be here and the running dropkicks in the corner have Kofi in even more trouble. He gets back up after four and hits the running double stomp (ok it’s more like a kick to the chest instead) for two more. Trouble in Paradise is loaded up again but Bryan rolls outside for a smart move. Kofi follows him and loads up a bulldog but Bryan shoves him HARD into the pod for a nasty crash. The running knee turns Kofi inside out….for two and the fans are right back into this.
Bryan has had it though and grabs the arms for a series of stomps to the head. That’s only good for two again but another running knee is countered with Trouble in Paradise for two….as the camera cuts to FANS as Bryan reverses into a small package for two more. The kickout actually happened while the camera was on the fans. My goodness man. Bryan grabs something like the LeBell Lock with a pull of Kofi’s face but Kofi makes a rope anyway.
Kofi catches him with another kick on top so Bryan climbs another pod. Kofi climbs up with him and they fight over a superplex on top but since that would kill them, Kofi fights back and Bryan gets knocked down onto the top rope. More kicks put him in the ring but Kofi misses the huge splash. The running knee retains the title at 38:28.
Rating: A. That last twelve minutes are some of the best drama I’ve seen from WWE in the better part of ever. I was dying to see Kofi win here but Bryan retaining is hardly the worst result in the world. Kofi is going to get another chance after a performance like that and a one on one title match with Bryan at Fastlane wouldn’t shock me. The rest of the match was just an afterthought but that last third is incredible stuff that sucked me in like nothing has since…..dang Rock vs. Cena maybe? Just a great emotional moment here and Kofi better get the Fastlane title shot.
Bryan and Rowan leave and Kofi gets the big moment of respect with Big E. and Xavier Woods coming out to console him. Kofi gets to pose on the stage to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. This really is a show where you only need to see the two major matches because nothing else matters in the slightest. The good thing though is those two matches (and the Becky segment) were awesome, with the big emotional feel to both of them. I got sucked into the main event like few other matches I can remember in years and I was wanting to see Kofi pull off the miracle. The two Chamber matches are more than worth seeing, but skip the rest of the show as it felt like stuff you could have seen on regular TV.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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